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Volume 19 Issue 9 - June/July/August 2014

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  • Jazz
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In the Sound(Always the

In the Sound(Always the Producer) BY RENITA FILLATREAs bodies begin to fill the sea of burgundy and beigechairs in legendary Massey Hall, the excitementfor tonight’s show is palpable. Daniel Lanois hasthe opening slot for Emmylou Harris at the end oftheir tour celebrating the reissue of 1995’s Wrecking Ball,for which Lanois also owns producing credit. As I watch thediverse crowd trickle in, the instrumental pre show musicseeping out from surrounding speakers catches me. I thinkit is Lanois’ music but I can’t say for sure. That guess is putto rest as Lanois appears on stage walking with purposeand perfect timing to be seated at his pedal steel. There is asmooth transition from the speakers into a live continuation.Everyone’s focus has redirected and for the first time sinceI can remember, there is not one illuminated cellphone in Daniel Lanoismy peripheral. This crowd is here to listen.For the duration of the first song, Lanois hasn’t lookedup once, he is in the sound, and we are all there with him.His fingers move with precision against the strings and I get lost in thestory that is created by them and the sounds, reminiscent of an openvintage jewelry box. The crowd’s expectations are undoubtedly safehere; he knows what he is doing. Lanois knows music like few othersand this opening set is a chance for us to be reminded that not only ishe a master of shaping the sound of others but he too owns his ownspace as an award-winning musician and songwriter.Lanois knows this space that is Massey Hall and she knows him.There is also a swirl of expectation that fills the air around them both.Personally, I expect the shows I see at Massey Hall to leave somethingpermanent in me because they always have; I know nothing differentof this venue. Like Massey, I share the same expectation of Lanois. Iknow I can rely on his ability to carve perfectly formed sound out ofthe next two hours. I expect this because once again, I know nothingdifferent from this man. To quote his dear friend and fellow musicproducer, Brian Eno, from the documentary Here Is What Is, “thetiniest seed in the right situation turns into the most beautiful forest,”and Lanois has been the soil for some of the most renowned songs togrow. Songs by artists such as U2, Peter Gabriel, Robbie Robertson,Neil Young and Bob Dylan, many of whom have also shared songs thatlinger in the air here.By the end of the second song, drummer Steven Nistor along withbass and harmony God, Jim Wilson, have joined him on stage. Yetagain, the audience is safe with their expectations of these musicians.If Lanois has had a say on the musicians sharing the stage, we can beassured of the calibre of musicians that will be next to him.Soon, Lanois is at centre mic plugging in his Gibson Les Paul andconnecting with the crowd, expressing his happiness to be back atMassey Hall. Adjusting his guitar strap which sports a small Canadianflag, he jokingly mentions being the only guitar player who doesn’tplay with pedals, saying it’s all “hand done.” This is no surprisefrom a king of fine tuning. Referring to Nistor and Wilson, he callstheir trio Triangle, a three-sided closed unit, which seems a fittingtheme for the night. There is also an obvious three-sided connectionbetween the music, the space and the crowd. They begin to play again,moving back into the sound where the audience is soon blanketed bythe agonizingly brilliant harmonies of Messenger. There is a constanttransference between Lanois’ voice, body and each instrument hetouches. There is an understanding and confidence that is apparentand I find myself being pleasantly tossed back and forth between thevisual and audio experience of his teasing out just the right sounds.Tweaking one sound here, another there, with each new twist of aknob and picking of a string, something new is brought into the room.This tweaking and making things “just right,” doesn’t subside whenour queen of the night hits the stage to perform. At one point, whenEmmylou Harris addresses the crowd, Lanois quickly adjusts her miccausing Harris to laugh and remark “Always the producer, alwaystaking care of me.”Their relationship is a comfortable one. It has brought them bothmuch success. Before working together, Harris became interested inLanois after hearing Acadie as well as being inspired by the work hedid on Bob Dylan’s on “Oh Mercy.” One quick contact led to themboth sitting in Harris’ living room in Nashville singing Hendrix tunes.The rest is history.“So much of this album[Wrecking Ball] is aboutCanada,” says Harris.Songs written by Lanois,Anna McGarrigle and thetitle track written by NeilYoung speak to this truth.At one point before beginningBlackhawk, Lanoisalso chimes in, sharing hissong’s tie to Hamilton andthe steel mills.The crowd is captivatedfrom start to finishas the incomparablealbum is played in full.Our applause is rewardedby two encores. The last song of the evening finds Lanois and Harrisalone onstage performing Songbird, written by and dedicated to thelate Jesse Winchester. Like the lyrics that bring the evening to an end Itoo “can’t find it in myself, to let my songbird go.”If you are looking for another chance to see Daniel Lanois andEmmylou Harris in action at the incredible Massey Hall, check outSleeping in the Devil’s Bed: The Music of Daniel Lanois, taking placeon June 10 at 7:30pm as a part of this year’s Luminato Festival. Thiscelebration of music by Lanois is produced by Hal Willner and willalso feature performances by Kevin Drew, Bill Frisell, the HandsomeFamily, Anna McGarrigle, Mary Margaret O’Hara, Martha Wainwrightand more. We can also expect a new release by Lanois slated for laterthis year.Renita Fillatre is a Newfoundland-born, Torontobasedartist and expressive arts therapist.Massey’s Tune Up/ Massey OverhaulYes, it’s true, even the best of the best need a tune-up from time to timeand our ol’ girl Massey Hall is next in line. Well, perhaps not quite next, asactual construction may not begin until 2018, at which time the worldfamousvenue doors are expected to close for two seasons. Now, if youhad the same response to that news as I had, and your adoration of thisvenue has you feeling fearful, you can breathe a sigh of relief knowing thatour dear Massey is in the more than capable hands of Toronto architectMarianne McKenna, the architect responsible for the luxurious KoernerHall. McKenna knows architecture like Massey Hall knows music.Expect much more on this project in future issues of The WholeNote.12 | June 4, 2014 – Sept 7, 2014 thewholenote.com

EMMA LEEBeat by Beat | In the ClubsToronto Jazz Top TenORI DAGANIwas considering giving up on a career in jazz music, but on asummer night in 2005 at the Montreal Jazz Festival, when I sat inat the Hyatt Hotel and sang “Sweet Georgia Brown” in three variedtempos as a nod to Anita O’Day, I changed my mind. That night I realizedhow important jam sessions are as an opportunity for musiciansto create music in the true spirit of jazz: without rehearsal, to anappreciative audience of jazz enthusiasts. Just got word that Novotelhas sponsored the Ottawa Jazz Festival jam session and I am reallyhoping that in these parts and beyond, we get the official jam sessionsback too!Glionna MansellPresentsA Music Series unlike any other14April 2014 through to November 2014Don’t MissThese Summer Concerts!in the continuingOrganix 14 concert seriesJames David ChristieJune 6, 8:00 pmSt. Basil's (U of T)50 St. Joseph StreetTOP TEN TORONTO JAZZ FESTIVAL TIPS:1) Award-winning, world-renowned artist for her innovative brillianceon saxophone and flute, and jazz ambassador for her workaround the world, Jane Bunnett has changed the lives of many Cubanmusicians by exposing their talents to North American audiences. Onher latest project, “Maqueque,” Bunnett has assembled an excitingsextet featuring the finest young female musicians in Cuba. Joiningher are drummer Yissy Garcia, percussionist Dayme, Yusa on tresguitar and fretless bass, pianist Danae and Magdelys on batas andcongas. Like a trusted chef in a five-star restaurant, it is inevitablethat Bunnett and these young ladies will cook up a storm on openingnight, June 19 at 8pm at Lula Lounge.2) A coveted Toronto treasure, she plays all over the city and hasmany adoring fans, from her days in the JUNO-winning rock actLeslie Spit Treeo to her reincarnation as a singer of blues, jazz andwestern swing. Laura Hubert’s honesty, which delves deeply intoboth comedy and tragedy, is that of an actor who became a singer byaccident. With a unique voice that is a bit of a surprise coming outof such a petite lady, she is capable of growling, crooning, swinginghard and moaning low. Discover Laura Hubert at the festival eitheron opening night, June 19 at Grossman’s at 10pm, or on June 28,St. Philip’s Anglican ChurchJane Bunnett with Maqueque Sunday, June 8, 4pm | Jazz VespersMike Downes Quartet with Mike (bass), Robi Botos (piano),Ted Quinlan (guitar), & Ted Warren (drums) Sunday, June 22, 4pm | Jazz VespersMike Murley Quartet with Mike (saxophone), Pat Collins (bass),Mark Eisenman (piano) & Barry Elmes (drums)St. Philip’s Anglican Church | Etobicoke25 St. Phillips Road (near Royal York + Dixon)416-247-5181 stphilips.nefree will offeringShawn PotterJune 20, 7:30 pmAll Saints' Kingsway2850 Bloor St. WestAdditional Summer Organ ConcertSimon Nieminskiin performance atMississauga’s St. PatrickCatholic Church.Sunday July 13, 2014, 3:00 pmTickets:www.summerorganconcert.caFall ConcertsRhonda Sider Edgington - Sept. 19, 7:30 pmHoly Trinity Anglican - 10 Trinity SquareElisabeth Ullmann - Oct. 19, 4:00 pmOur Lady of Sorrows, 3055 Bloor St. WestNosetti Memorial Concert - Nov 12, 7:30 pmMaxine Thevenot, Eugenio Fagiani and Omar CaputiSt. Paul’s Anglican Church, 227 Bloor St. EastTickets and passesavailable onlinewww.organixconcerts.ca416-769-3893thewholenote.com June 4, 2014 – Sept 7, 2014 | 13

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