8 years ago

Volume 20 Issue 9 - Summer 2015

  • Text
  • Festival
  • Jazz
  • August
  • Toronto
  • Quartet
  • Musical
  • Concerts
  • Trio
  • Violin
  • Flute
  • Summers


NEW CONTEST! Who is SEPTEMBER’s Child? Too young for scotch, JOHN DE FUSCA Mario Canonico dancing with his wife Delfina. Mario Canonico: The community band world has lost another of its most dedicated members. Mario Canonico, a longtime member of the Newmarket Citizens Band, passed away May 16. Born in the Aosta Valley in the northwestern part of Italy, Mario started his musical adventure on violin at the age of nine. He began playing saxophone in his early 20s and soon added the clarinet. From Italy the family moved to Ecuador for a few years before coming to Canada in 1967. Settling in Montreal, he worked as a barber during the week and spent his weekends as a jobbing musician playing a wide variety of events including weddings and bar mitzvahs. Moving to Newmarket in 2000, he soon had a regular spot in the clarinet section of the Newmarket band. Until about three months ago he was playing regularly in three other musical groups besides the Newmarket band, including a small ensemble called North of Dixie. In addition to music and family he had a passion for cycling, averaging 50km per day. His last bicycle ride was on a warm sunny day last October at age 82. Just a few weeks ago the members of North of Dixie went to his house to entertain him. Although gravely ill, Mario danced up a storm with his wife, Delfina, and with his daughter and granddaughter. This photograph was taken on that day by John De Fusco. Coming Concerts: June 4 at noon the Encore Symphonic Concert Band will present “In Concert: Classics and Jazz” at the Wilmar Heights Centre, 963 Pharmacy Ave., Scarborough. June 6 at 7:30 the Barrie Concert Band will present “Let’s Celebrate Barrie!” a multimedia concert celebrating Barrie’s history at Hi-Way Pentecostal Church, 50 Anne St. N., Barrie. June 12: A few months ago I had the pleasure of attending the premiere concert of the Toronto Concert Band. To wind up their inaugural season they will be returning to the excellent performance venue of the Glenn Gould Studio on Friday, June 12, at 7:30pm. Since their very first rehearsal less than nine months ago, founding conductors Ken Hazlett and Les Dobbin have set a high standard. This season-ending concert will feature an eclectic mix, from Camille Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals to Warren Barker’s Selections from Les Miserables with many challenging numbers filling out the program. The band’s tag line “We Love to Play!” should be spelled out musically at this concert. June 14 at 7pm the Strings Attached Orchestra will be presenting their year-end concert at the George Ignatieff Theatre, 15 Devonshire Place (just southwest of Koerner Hall). Among other things, they will be performing the orchestral premiere of Montreal a short work by former OECD head and Pierre Trudeau-era cabinet minister Donald Johnston. Also on the program will be Vivaldi’s Concerto Grosso Op. 3 No.11 with soloists from within the group. These are a few community ensemble events where we received some program details. There are too many more than can be mentioned here. Please see the listings section for the times and locations of these many other events. Definition Department This month’s lesser known musical term is: rubato: a cross between a rhubarb and a tomato. We invite submissions from readers. Let’s hear your daffynitions. Jack MacQuarrie plays several brass instruments and has performed in many community ensembles. He can be contacted at already hungry for words, and music not far behind. Cookies make the best things even better, four times a year. Saguenay, Quebec, mid-1950s Know our Mystery Child’s name? WIN PRIZES! Send your best guess by August 24, to CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR WINNERS! HERE’S WHAT THEY WON Robi Botos’ fourth recording Movin’ Forward, with Seamus Blake – saxophones, Robert Leslie Hurst III – acoustic bass and Jeff ‘Tain’ Watts – drums, features ten original compositions and two covers. “This album represents a lot of my musical sides – from Hungarian Romani (Gypsy) music to straight ahead jazz to funk … ” Movin’ Forward was released on the label A440 ENTERTANMENT in March at the Jazz Bistro. Copies of this CD will be going out to John Brooker, Barbara Thomson, S. Gisele Kulak, and Ross W. Reid. We Are ALL Music’s Children gratefully acknowledges Lajos and Piroska, Ori, Scott, Thom, Kay and Peter. ROBI BOTOS UPCOMING “…I’m very excited about my first Canadian tour as a leader (June 17 to July 19). I’m looking forward to bringing my own music to people. … Hoping to channel good to people through my music.” If you want to hear Robi Botos at the Jane Mallet Theatre performing in the June 18 Oscar Peterson 90th Birthday Celebration you’ll need to book your ticket quickly, because it’s sure to sell out. He’s also playing as part of the Late Night Trio at The Rex Jazz and Blues Bar on June 26. Both events are part of the TD Toronto Jazz Festival. Other southern Ontario appearances include: June 23 – Ottawa Jazz Festival; June 24 – The Jazz Room, Waterloo; July 21 – Beaches Jazz Festival workshop “Robi Botos – Piano, Up Close and Personal,” Toronto; August 3 – Festival of the Sound, Parry Sound; August 12 – Prince Edward County Jazz Festival; Sept 12 – All-Canadian Jazz, Port Hope. 74 | June | July | August, 2015

WE ARE ALL MUSIC’S CHILDREN June’s Child Robi Botos MJ BUELL TRACEY NOLAN Jazz pianist Robi Botos was born in October 1978, in Nyiregyhaza, Hungary. He was about four years old when his family moved to Budapest where he grew up. By the time he left high school he was already jamming/rehearsing and gigging full-time. In 1988 Botos came to Canada as a refugee with his wife and young children, seeking a place to raise his family where Romani people are free from persecution and discrimination. He spoke no English but with music as his fluent first language he made a name for himself quickly and was readily welcomed by the jazz community, starting with his friend David Braid who first took Botos to sessions at The Rex and introduced him to the local scene. Two years later without warning Botos and his pregnant wife were informed that their refugee claim had been rejected. It was the jazz community, and its extended family, who circled their wagons around this valued young musician offering support and advocacy for an intense and eventually successful campaign to have the rejection overturned. In a 2014 TVO Doc Studio appearance, Botos comments that “jazz and persecution and discrimination have a very strong connection.” While his story is a modern-world example of this, the response of the jazz community is proof that they own their collective history. A first big break came when Botos won the Montreux Jazz Festival Piano Competition in 2004 – the winner is invited to return the following year to open for a celebrated performer. Botos opened for Oscar Peterson and the two became friends. Peterson mentored Botos, who in turn taught piano to Peterson’s daughter, Celine. Botos plays with local and international jazz luminaries too numerous to list here, has won several prestigious awards and has just released his fourth recording. He recently composed music for Aaron Yeger’s award-winning documentary A People Uncounted: The Untold Story of The Roma. This summer Botos has a busy schedule with a tour to promote his new CD and a number of festival engagements, both as a soloist and as part of several collaborations. Biographical information about Botos is widely available and he has given a number of engaging interviews. Of particular interest is Identities: The Documentary Series, a six-part series commissioned by the Maytree Foundation, written and produced by Alan Lysaght and Paul McGrath. Ross Porter of JAZZ.FM91 was the creator and executive producer of this series, which celebrates the stories and accomplishments of seven musicians who immigrated to, or sought refuge in, Canada. Narrated by acclaimed singer and actor Jackie Richardson, Episode 1 is about Robi Botos. ( Your absolute earliest musical memory? Live music played by my relatives: Hungarian Romani music, and the recordings we had at home – Oscar Peterson, Branford Marsalis, Keith Jarrett, Horace Silver, Miles Davis, Pat Metheny, Jaco Pastorius and more. “jazz and persecution and discrimination have a very strong connection.” Robi Botos lives in the Bathurst/St. Clair neighbourhood with his wife, two children and a dog. When he’s not making music? “I drive my family around! When I have free time I love fishing, and play Fifa on PS4, and soccer in real life too.” Other musicians in your childhood family? Both my father and brothers and most cousins are musicians. My dad and my middle brother can also sing. I sing too, but not like Stevie Wonder! My mom is not a musician but comes from a musical family. Where did hearing music, formal and informal, fit into your life as a child? Radio, records and live music – at home, school, concerts, festivals etc. First memory of yourself making music? Playing drums on a real kit, and on the school desk, and on pretty much every other object … Still play drums – I look at it as my first love. My dad and oldest brother played drums, so it was around. I started the piano when I was seven. My dad bought one. He wanted us kids to play as a band. I leaned towards drums but to form a band I had to play piano. And then I fell in love with it. Earliest music-making with other people? We had a constant jam session at home all the time with the family, relatives and friends. First important teachers or mentors? Since I had so many people playing at our home, I picked up a lot of things from older musicians. And then jamming with other kids/adults and watching jazz videos was life changing. I always knew I wanted to play music forever. When and how did teaching/mentoring enter the picture? I always recall how much it meant to me to learn from others, so I want to pass it on. These days I teach at Humber College (Lakeshore) which I enjoy a lot – a piano masterclass, some private piano lessons and improv. Did you ever think you would do something else? I always loved martial arts … boxing … But music helped me express myself the best, and helped me through many challenges. I was able to say things I couldn’t in words. (Although … nowadays maybe I wish I did real estate!) Music in your family life today? I don’t play much at home at all, but I sit down from time to time when I’m inspired, or when I have to practise some music. I always listen to music though. We all do. My kids play music but they do many other things and I’m not forcing it on them. I’d love them to play but if they don’t want to make it a priority, it’s good with me. No parents want to see their children struggle! If full-time music is what makes them happy and they’re absolutely crazy about playing all the time, I will support it 100 percent. June | July | August, 2015 | 75

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