8 years ago

Volume 21 Issue 2 - October 2015

Vol 21 No 2 is now available for your viewing pleasure, and it's a bumper crop, right at the harvest moon. First ever Canadian opera on the Four Seasons Centre main stage gets double coverage with Wende Bartley interviewing Pyramus and Thisbe composer Barbara Monk Feldman and Chris Hoile connecting with director Christopher Alden; Paul Ennis digs into the musical mind of pianist Benjamin Grosvenor, and pianist Eve Egoyan is "On the Record" in conversation with publisher David Perlman ahead of the Oct release concert for her tenth recording. And at the heart of it all the 16th edition of our annual BLUE PAGES directory of presenters profile the season now well and truly under way.


DON’T EVER STOP MUSIC IS FOR LIFE 16 TH Annual BLUE PAGES THE BLUE PAGES A rich resource for musicians and all lovers of live music, with detailed profiles of Southern Ontario’s live music makers and their 2015/16 seasons. PRINTED IN THIS ISSUE and updated year-round at Inquiries to THE CANARY PAGES The WholeNote’s annual guide to the extraordinary choral diversity of Southern Ontario. Printed every year in May but searchable online year-round. Find yourself the right choir anytime! Inquiries to THE GREEN PAGES GUIDE TO SUMMER MUSIC Our 2015 enhanced coverage remains online for year-round browsing and dreaming of next summer. Updated and printed in our Summer (June, July, and August, 2016) edition. Inquiries to Musical guides online, all the time

Beat by Beat | Jazz Stories continued from page 34 formulaic.” Jessel’s career highlights on Broadway would include being chosen by Richard Rodgers to write additional lyrics for I Remember Mama in 1979, and his songs being recorded by Louis Armstrong, John Pizzarelli and Michael Feinstein (who nicknamed Ray Jessel “the millennium Noel Coward”). At 72, Jessel made his cabaret performing debut at Hollywood’s Gardenia Room in April 2002, after which he played to a series of sellout performances there, at L.A.’s famed Jazz Bakery and in New York at Danny’s Skylight Room and at Don’t Tell Mama. He made his Lea DeLaria debut at Toronto’s Top o’ the Senator in May of 2003, and ten years later, October 2013, he played at the same address, 251 Victoria, now Jazz Bistro. Both shows were booked by Sybil Walker, who reflects on the first time she presented him alongside the great Jackie Richardson: “Meeting Ray and presenting him to Toronto audiences was a uniquely rewarding experience – I was prepared for him to be entertaining but he was jaw-dropping funny, singing impossibly clever lyrics that left every member of the audience in a state of hilarious disbelief. Top o’ the Senator audiences had been entertained by the wonderful lyricists Dave Frishberg and Mose Allison through the years but Ray’s was a talent that caught us all off guard.” JAZZ.FM91 on-air personality, producer and Jazz Safari bwana, Jaymz Bee, has long been a fan: “The first time I saw Ray Jessel was at Birdland in New York City. My dad and I laughed so hard we literally had tears in our eyes and he came over to our table to chat. When I told him I knew his sister Viv he made a big fuss over us. Since then I had the privilege of interviewing him several times for JAZZ.FM91 and he was always down to earth and hilarious. The fact that he was so funny never prevented him and his wife from writing serious love songs. He is up there with Bob Dorough and Dave Frishberg in my books – one of my favourite composers!” Ray Jessel’s legacy will be celebrated at Jazz Bistro on Monday, October 26 from 7 to 11pm with a very special lineup of singers that will pay tribute to his life and music. Reservations are highly recommended (416-363-5299). Finally, I do have another live music tip for you. If you’re not planning on going trick-or-treating, I recommend that you treat yourself October 31 to a night with Lea DeLaria at the Danforth Musical Hall. Since being cast as Big Boo on the hit Netflix show Orange is the New Black in 2013, the larger-than-life DeLaria has become an international star, but she has been hard at work for quite a while. In 1993 she made history as the first openly gay stand-up comic on the latenight talk-show circuit with an appearance on the Arsenio Hall Show. She has been based in New York for many years, appearing on countless stages and screens. In addition to her stand-up and acting career, DeLaria is a wellknown and highly entertaining jazz singer whose bebop chops are served with an in-your-face bravura. With a voice that is as big as her imagination, she has long been an audience favourite in New York clubs for her outrageously entertaining shows. DeLaria’s latest jazz recording, House of David, finds her reimagining a dozen David Bowie classics. On the Danforth Music Hall stage, DeLaria will be joined by longtime friend and frequent collaborator, stand-up comedian Maggie Cassella. Expect big laughs, good times and priceless timing. Ori Dagan is a Toronto-based jazz musician, writer and educator who can be reached at KPMT Jazz Bash Not the Same Without Jim STEVE WALLACE The Ken Page Memorial Trust will hold its 17th Annual Jazz Fundraiser on Thursday, October 22 at the Old Mill in Toronto. This autumn jazz bash has become a local institution and as ever, will be conducted along the lines of a jazz party, combining some of the best American mainstream jazz artists with a cadre of Toronto’s elite musicians in an informal, but musical, jam-session format. The lineup of prodigious talent promises a jazz banquet and plenty of interaction between players of like instruments. The trumpeters will be Warren Vaché, one of the most lyrically inventive cornetists in jazz, Guido Basso and his sophisticated and mellifluous flugelhorn artistry and John MacLeod, who favours the cornet and is equally well-versed in traditional and modern jazz styles. The trombone will be handled by the fine Chicago-based veteran Russ Phillips – whose father replaced Jack Teagarden with Louis Armstrong’s All-Stars in 1951 – and Toronto’s Alastair Kay, simply one of the best trombonists in the world, Canada’s answer to Urbie Green for 35 years now. The evening will boast some great reed players: the hard-swinging tenor saxophonist Harry Allen; Ken Peplowski, best-known for his virtuosic clarinet but also a fine tenor player; the stylistically versatile Scott Robinson, who plays all the reeds but specializes in the rarely heard bass and contrabass saxophones; and Toronto’s John MacMurchy on tenor and clarinet, a fine player who deserves to be more widely known. Brooklyn-born pianist Johnny Varro, now 85 and a much-revered veteran of swing and mainstream circles, will be the only American in an otherwise all-Toronto rhythm section. Multi-instrumentalist Don Thompson will play vibes (probably also some piano) and Reg Schwager – who can play anything – will be the guitarist. Providing the bedrock will be two of Canada’s very best – Neil Swainson on bass and Terry Clarke on drums. As great as this cornucopia of jazz talent is, there will be something missing from this year’s bash – for the first time Jim Galloway will be absent, owing to his death this past December after several months of illness. Jim was a founding member of the KPMT and its musical director for the past 16 years, so dying was probably the only thing that could keep him away from such a jazz jamboree. It won’t be quite the same without him; he’ll be missed both musically and personally. This year’s event is billed as a tribute to Jim. There will no doubt be some stories told about him and some fond memories rekindled. He played with all the musicians involved often over the years so they’ll no doubt summon his spirit – he won’t be there in person, but he will be present nonetheless. This is just the kind of jazz setting Jim relished – freewheeling, diverse and informal, with no written music. He loved the spontaneous give-and-take that can occur between musicians with nothing planned and no structure except a common heritage of standard tunes and knowledge of jazz tradition. He excelled at directing traffic in these groupings to avoid monotony – a trumpet-piano duet here, three saxophones a cappella there, perhaps just trombone and bass for a chorus. He understood that special music can be made when good musicians are playing their best but are relaxed and having fun, not being competitive but rather mutually inspiring. In his heart of hearts he was a jazz musician but that label is insufficient, as he was much more: an important booking agent; an Without Jim continues on page 51 Oct 1 - Nov 7, 2015 | 35

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