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Volume 20 Issue 5 - February 2015

  • Text
  • February
  • Toronto
  • Jazz
  • Musical
  • Symphony
  • Theatre
  • Arts
  • Soprano
  • Composer
  • Orchestra
  • Hannigan
  • Ascending
Volume 20 Issue 5


REMEMBERING Jim Galloway Jim Galloway (born James Braidie Galloway July 28, 1936 in Kilwinning, Scotland) died peacefully at home on December 30, 2014 surrounded by loved ones. An internationally renowned jazz musician, one of the few specializing on the soprano sax (along with alto, tenor, baritone and occasional clarinet), Jim lived a full life doing what he loved most. Listening to post-war U.S. Armed Forces Radio Services, the young man discovered jazz music, and soon was playing clarinet and alto saxophone locally. As a student at the famous Glasgow School of the Arts (1954-1958) Jim added to his reputation as a leading Scottish jazzman. Jim came to Canada in 1964, first teaching high school art and working as a designer, soon becoming a full-time musician. He quickly became part of the Toronto jazz scene, one of the few players dedicating himself to jazz only, not part of the busy studio-musician scene. He joined the traditionally oriented Metro Stompers, soon taking over its leadership. Jim’s interest was wide (an early group played all Thelonious Monk music) and it’s true he was centred in the mainstream. Mark Miller, Toronto author of Boogie, Pete and the Senator, a book of Canadian jazz profiles, described Jim’s playing style: “His lines are all melody – melody, which in turn sings, purrs, smiles, lingers and arches into arabesques without obscuring the simplicity of Jim’s fundamental design. There is a pure, timeless quality to the playing, something that exists outside any specific point of reference stylistically; as a result, it is remarkably adaptable – as indeed it must be given the breadth of Galloway’s associations.” Those associations were valuable as the founding artistic director of the Toronto Jazz Festival, a post he held from 1986 through 2009. It allowed him to bring to Toronto City Hall’s Nathan Phillips Square and concert halls and clubs, the best artists and biggest names in jazz for a concentrated ten days of live music. But mostly, Galloway loved to play music, and he performed in all the Toronto jazz rooms. While definitely not much of a businessman – it was all about the music to Jim – he helped start up many venues, including Café des Copains and the Montreal Bistro, often working with his longtime friend and associate John Norris. Norris founded CODA, Canada’s Jazz Magazine and was an early contact when Jim came to Toronto. Norris was also the producer of Sackville Records for which Jim made many albums. In its first year Galloway booked (and named) Bourbon Street, Doug Cole’s Queen St. W. club, bringing in many international jazz stars. Galloway shared the stage with many of them, including Jay McShann, Wild Bill Davison, Buck Clayton, Vic Dickenson and Buddy Tate. Tate asked Jim to tour Europe with him, thus laying the foundation of his international career. Over the next decades his sunny melodic style was heard in concerts and clubs across Canada, the U.S. and Europe. Jim appeared at jazz events and festivals in Ascona, Bern, Baden, Geneva, Budapest, Edinburgh, London, Norwich, Montreux, Nice, Los Angeles, New Orleans and Sacramento. He always looked forward to his annual visit to Vienna’s venerable Jazzland club, operated by his friends Axel and Tilly Melhardt. (In fact, the city and the club were the location for Jim’s 2013 marriage to Anne Page.) By the mid-1990s his travel schedule included Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. In 1985 at Edinburgh with the Scottish National Orchestra he premiered Hot and Suite, a fantasy for symphony orchestra and jazz ensemble co-written with his then-wife, the bassist Rosemary Galloway. In my capacity as CJRT-FM jazz broadcaster I prodded Jim to finally put together something he had talked about for years, a repertory big band. With a 1978 concert date firmly set, Jim and arranger Martin Loomer formed the 17-piece Wee Big Band, which authentically played the great music of the big band era, with a special focus on Duke Ellington’s orchestra. The Wee Big Band made its debut with a live radio broadcast from the Ontario Science Centre. Radio was always important to Galloway, right from his youthful AFRS listening. He was the musical director and host of CKFM’s Toronto Alive!, Saturday afternoon broadcasts from the Sheraton Hotel. From 1981 to 1987, the show had as guests top artists like Ralph Sutton, Al Cohn, Doc Cheatham and Zoot Sims, who were appearing at the city’s clubs. One of Jim’s imaginative pairings on that show put the earthy blues-rooted pianist Sammy Price alongside the highly-individual altoist Lee Konitz. The subject of a half-hour CBC television profile about his life and music, Jim also wrote and hosted a CBC radio network series, Travelin’ Light, a journey through the story of jazz; and presented his wide tastes as the host of two 13-part series, Journeys in Jazz, on JAZZ-FM. Jim Galloway ventured into theatre as musical director for the 1980 stage adaptation of Michael Ondaatje’s novel Coming Through Slaughter, a poetic treatment of the life of the legendary jazz cornetist Buddy Bolden. In 2002 France honoured Jim, conferring on him the prestigious Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, an award presented to an elite list which also includes artists such as Ornette Coleman and Meryl Streep. Jim loved the classics and the time-tested, whether it was in music, films, books or cars. At one time his two cars totalled over 45 years of age and were running just fine. His favourite soprano sax was made in the 1920s. He could recall each frame of Buster Keaton’s films and quote Groucho Marx and Robbie Burns equally. A blithe spirit, Jim had a dry pun-filled wit, but for a gentle man (few could avoid confrontation better!) he could deliver deep cuts with a smile. He was a fine writer, as his long-running monthly columns for The WholeNote magazine show. His presence was often announced with a wisp of a clove cigarette, and he knew and enjoyed single malt whiskies as did few others. Jim leaves behind his beloved wife Anne, his brother Fred (Margaret), his many friends and the countless musicians he has performed and collaborated with over his 60-year musical career. Jim’s rich legacy will continue to live on through his many recordings. A private memorial has taken place, and a celebration of his life will be held at a later date. Donations can be made to the jazz-supporting Ken Page Memorial Trust, Toronto Western Hospital or the Canadian Liver Foundation. Ted O’Reilly is a retired Toronto jazz broadcaster and producer, and friend and neighbour of Jim Galloway for nearly five decades. 10 | February 1 - March 7, 2015

Beat by Beat | Classical & Beyond Ax to Repin What a Month PAUL ENNIS Russian-born Vadim Repin may just be the best violinist you’ve never heard of. Unless you happened to catch his TSO appearance in 2007 playing Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No.2 with guest conductor Thomas Dausgaard, his only exposure here has been through recordings (most recently with Deutsche Grammophon) and YouTube clips. The clips span almost 30 years of an acclaimed career that took international flight after he won the prestigious Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels in 1989 when he was only 17. In a recent telephone conversation the warm and gracious violinist described how he felt at that time: “The competition itself was really tough, very difficult psychologically and [physically]. It goes forever [one month]. For the next four years it put me in the spotlight of the music world but then there was a new winner, so forget about it. You have to do other things to get noticed and get the spotlight.” This virtuoso, for whom technique is always a means to a musical end, never an end in itself, began violin lessons at five by “pure chance.” His mother, who had been encouraging her son to play with musical toys since he was three, took him to school intending to sign him up for accordion studies. Only violin places were available so he took up the violin. By age seven, chance took him under its wing again; his teacher advised studying with Zakhar Bron (who later taught Maxim Vengerov and Daniel Hope), a relationship which would continue for 13 years. Repin said of the then young pedagogue who had left his native Kazakhstan for the Siberian city of Novosibirsk: “Bron is a unique violin teacher; it was a blessing to be able to spend those years with him.” Of the “thousands of things” that made him unique, Repin cited “his ability as a performer and an intellectual” as well as his heuristic approach. “To know about the music and be able to describe it [while] – at the same time – [being able] to play it at the highest level is a winning combination,” he continued, adding that “you often attend masterclasses of a great player but he doesn’t know how to explain things.” Bron placed primary importance on stage performance in order to inculcate what he believed to be the foundation of a musician’s life: live playing in front of an audience. Repin described his upcoming March 6 Toronto recital with pianist Svetlana Smolina – which consists of works by Bartók, Debussy, Ravel, Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky – as “multi-sided.” He spoke of the different moods and different sounds represented in the program. “It’s quite interesting when you have different weight and expression,” he continued, adding that he’s pleased to include the Meditation and Scherzo from Tchaikovsky’s Souvenir d’un lieu cher since it’s not performed much. His passion was evident as he described the Stravinsky Divertimento. “Stravinsky is a genius,” he enthused. “This piece is a kind of a sarcastic bridge to Tchaikovsky because the Divertimento is a variation of Tchaikovsky’s music extremely nicely done, one of the [ most] brilliant humoresque and theatrical pieces that I know and that makes it really special.” I was curious about who his violin heroes might have been, if there Vadim Repin were any violinists who made an impression on him or inspired him in his youth. The scope of his answer surprised me. He and Bron would often watch videos and listen to records together. He also listened by himself at home. “There are so many – 50 or 60 – to look up to but the king was always Heifetz. “When he plays you lose your breath,” he continued. “It’s phenomenal. You get attentive, you get impressed, interested, you get a whole bunch of different feelings. I think that has to do with the way he uses time. It’s not only about talent, technical ability, not only psychological things ... the timing of everything is unbelievable. Sometimes I feel in his playing the influence of Hollywood, of opera, of different styles of music. It’s amazing how he can combine all that in classical violin playing.” This led to a brief discussion of his very close musical relationship with Yehudi Menuhin with whom he played many times during the last decade of Menuhin’s life. He called the experience “another very lucky happening in my life.” He found it difficult to quantify what he learned from him (“It would be worth a book”), but settled on “his attitude to life, to the public, to people in general” summed up by “the greatness of his personality.” The great Russian cellist and conductor Mstislav Rostropovich was another influence on Repin. He was “the man who made me crush my mind” meaning that he led him to rethink much of his music THE MOST TALKED-ABOUT NEW PIANO IN THE INDUSTRY IS ACTUALLY 152 YEARS OLD “I sampled a 6’ 3” BP190 grand, which had a truly marvelous dynamic range across the entire keyboard. The BP190 had a wonderfully orchestral sonority, and was much less percussive than the Japanese pianos I’m accustomed to playing in schools. As it could easily be mistaken for a 7’ grand, it would be a fine piano for a church or small concert hall, but would also be well suited for a high-class living room, studio, classroom, or choral room.” © DR. JAMES LENT ONE OF THE MANY FINE PIANO LINES AVAILABLE EXCLUSIVELY AT 210 BLOOR ST. WEST TORONTO WWW. REMENYI.COM HARALD HOFFMANN February 1 - March 7, 2015 | 11

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