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Volume 24 Issue 7 - April 2019

  • Text
  • Choir
  • Performing
  • Musical
  • Quartet
  • Jazz
  • Symphony
  • Theatre
  • Arts
  • Toronto
  • April
Arraymusic, the Music Gallery and Native Women in the Arts join for a mini-festival celebrating the work of composer, performer and installation artist Raven Chacon; Music and Health looks at the role of Healing Arts Ontario in supporting concerts in care facilities; Kingston-based composer Marjan Mozetich's life and work are celebrated in film; "Forest Bathing" recontextualizes Schumann, Shostakovich and Hindemith; in Judy Loman's hands, the harp can sing; Mahler's Resurrection bursts the bounds of symphonic form; Ed Bickert, guitar master remembered. All this and more in our April issue, now online in flip-through here, and on stands commencing Friday March 29.

quality. Like the food,

quality. Like the food, the presentation of music at Mezzetta is living proof that small is good, small works. Owner Safa Nemati is a very cultured and congenial man who always treats the musicians fairly, introducing the groups – generally duos featuring a guitarist, as there is no piano – with a polite but firm insistence that people listen, and they do. The ten-dollar cover charge all goes to the musicians; nobody gets rich playing there but that’s not the point. I’ve always left there feeling musically fulfilled because Mezzetta’s intimacy, natural acoustics and warm atmosphere encourage audiences to listen intently, which in turn brings out the best in musicians. And that’s all we want, really. It’s real, a small oasis of culture, high-minded yet modest, not unlike Ed Bickert. I played at Mezzetta on March 13 with Mike Murley and Reg Schwager. It was originally booked as a duo, but at the last minute Mike asked me to come along to fill out the trio, and that he’d take care of paying me himself. It would serve as a kind of live, paid rehearsal for an upcoming concert and recording we would be doing a few days later with pianist Renee Rosnes as a guest. It was a very special evening for a number of reasons, chief among them being that Ed Bickert seemed to be in the room with us. My piece on him had been out for about a week and the room was packed with his fans, many of whom came over to me to talk about him or share a memory. Mike spoke about him briefly before we started, mentioning that Mezzetta was Ed’s favourite place to play in Toronto, which says a lot. And we played I’ll Never Stop Loving You as a tribute to him, inspired by his beautiful 1985 recording of it. With the people sitting so near and listening so closely, there was an effortless and silent communion between the audience and the band which was as close to a religious experience as I can imagine coming to. Ellington Society Another longstanding jazz institution is The Duke Ellington Society, chapters of which have existed in major cities worldwide for decades, celebrating and promoting knowledge of the most imperishable genius jazz has produced. The Toronto DES will be presenting its annual concert on April 27 at Walter Hall in the Edward Johnson Building; further details in the Quick Picks section that follows. This year’s concert features a big band led by, and arranged for, by drummer Brian Barlow, featuring vocals by the estimable Sophia Perlman. I’ve played on quite a few of these concerts over the years in groups ranging from trios to quintets to big bands, including one led by Ron Collier and an another one by Barlow some years ago. They’re always rewarding; partly, of course, because they offer the chance to play music by Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, but mostly for reasons similar to the ones mentioned in connection to Mezzetta: the audience wants to be there, values the music and they listen. The concert I played with Brian Barlow’s big band revealed a side of him I didn’t realize until then: what a fine and imaginative arranger he is. He clearly loves and knows Ellington’s music and his charts managed to bring out new things in the maestro’s music; no small achievement. Renee Rosnes Finally, a few words about another great Canadian musician who, much like Ed Bickert, has raised the bar and inspired so many jazz players in this country: Renee Rosnes. Being a major star out of New York and internationally for many years now, Renee hardly needs the likes of me to pump up her tires, but nevertheless, I’m going to. The aforementioned project with Renee joining the Mike Murley trio as a Renee Rosnes guest consisted of a March 16 Jazz In The Kitchen concert, followed the next day by a marathon recording session in the same venue, namely the home of Patti and John Loach in the Beaches. Much thanks to both of them for generously hosting this event and to John for his superb and easygoing engineering. As for Renee, well, we’ve known each other for about 35 years now and this was the first time we’d played together, which came as a small mutual shock. All I can say is that finally playing with her was the fulfillment of a long-held wish and she was everything I expected and hoped for, and more. Simply put, she’s a joy to play with and to be around. She fits into the trio’s dynamic effortlessly, plus she doesn’t seem to have any ego whatsoever. With her, it’s all music all the time and she can play anything with anybody, anytime. And as we discovered on the recording, she’s a two-take gal: she plays great on the first take, and really great on the second. If I had to pick someone to offer as a model to a young aspiring jazz musician, male or female, it would be Renee Rosnes. They might as well aim high. Oddly enough, as if to underscore all this, the last tune we recorded was a trio version of I’ll Never Stop Loving You featuring Reg Schwager, as a tribute to Ed Bickert. Mike Murley’s cell rang right after we’d finished and it was Ed’s daughter Lindsey calling. They chatted for a moment and Mike told her we’d just finished the recording with Renee and that it had gone really well. Lindsey asked Mike to tell Renee that Ed once told her that Renee was one of his favourite people. Being Ed’s daughter, we knew Lindsey meant it, and nobody was about to argue. JAZZ NOTES QUICK PICKS !! APR 13, 8PM: Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Music Society presents the Dave Young Trio. Music of Duke Ellington. KWCMS Music Room, 57 Young St. W., Waterloo. 519-569-1809. ; (students). The dean of Canadian jazz bassists leads a trio performing Ellington music. My guess would be Robi Botos on piano and Terry Clarke on drums, but whoever is playing with Young, this is sure to be well worth hearing. !! APR 14, 4:30: Christ Church Deer Park. Jazz Vespers. Rob Pitch, guitar; Neil Swainson, bass. 1570 Yonge St. 416-920-5211. Freewill offering. Religious service. Two of Toronto’s best veteran players who have a special chemistry through a long history of playing together. !! APR 27, 7PM: Toronto Duke Ellington Society’s “Annual Concert.” Ellington: Suites (excerpts). Sophia Perlman, vocalist; The Brian Barlow Big Band. Walter Hall, Edward Johnson Building, University of Toronto, 80 Queen’s Park. 416-239-2683. . Limited availability. This was already discussed in the article. Enough said – be there or be square. !! APR 28, 2PM: Visual and Performing Arts Newmarket presents the Drew Jurecka Trio. Jazz trio with violin, piano and bass. Newmarket Theatre, 505 Pickering Cres., Newmarket. 905-953-5122. ; (seniors); (students). Drew Jurecka is listed here as a violinist and he’s a brilliant one. But he’s also one of Toronto’s most talented and rangy multi-instrumentalists, playing clarinet, alto saxophone and singing. He’s also stylistically encyclopedic, especially on violin, ranging from trad/swing to contemporary. Whatever mode he’s in this evening, the music will be rewarding. Brian Barlow Toronto bassist Steve Wallace writes a blog called “Steve Wallace jazz, baseball, life and other ephemera” which can be accessed at Wallace-bass.com. Aside from the topics mentioned, he sometimes writes about movies and food. DANIEL AZOULAY 40 | April 2019 thewholenote.com

Beat by Beat | Bandstand As the Seasons Turn JACK MACQUARRIE As this past winter dragged on interminably I started finding myself singing to myself Spring Will Be a Little Late This Year, and began to ask fellow musicians to play the tune, only to learn that I could not find anyone who had ever even heard of such a song, which was very popular some years ago. Such is progress! Finally, one day after the vernal equinox, a cheery robin said hello to me from a tree in the back yard. Had spring arrived? Yes, but only for a day. The snow and ice were back. So: what will the bands be doing this spring when it really arrives? Anniversaries Wee Big Band: It turns out that there are some spring programs on the horizon, but there are also a number of anniversaries. In fact, I have already had the pleasure of attending the first of these a couple of weeks ago when Jim Galloway’s Wee Big Band celebrated their 40th anniversary with a special performance at The Garage at the Centre for Social Innovation, 720 Bathurst Street. This was presented by the Ken Page Memorial Trust and WholeNote Media Inc. Formed in 1979 as a repertory band specializing in the music of the great bands of the swing era, Jim Galloway’s Wee Big Band, with Rosemary Galloway on bass, continued until Jim passed away in December 2014. In the recent concert almost all of the selections were arranged by Martin Loomer, the current guitarist and leader. On a number of occasions Martin mentioned, with fond memories, the performances of saxophonist Gord Evans who had been a member of the band until he passed away a few years ago. The first thing that I did when I arrived home after the concert was to play a recording of Gord playing Sammy Nestico’s Lonely Street on alto sax. That is my favourite number on a CD recorded about 20 years ago by a group that I was in. On looking over the list of members, at least six others beside Gord are no longer with us. Wychwood: Another anniversary coming soon is that of the Wychwood Clarinet Choir. On Sunday, May 26 they will be celebrating their tenth year of concerts. Founded and led by clarinetist Michele Jacot, they now have over 200 pieces in their music library and over half of those are their own contributions through their “Composers’ Collective.” Over the years the choir had a wonderful relationship with Howard Cable who became their “Composer and Conductor Laureate.” Howard had never heard of the choir when they first contacted him to ask him to conduct his two previous compositions for clarinet choir. He was so impressed that he wrote a brand new three-movement work, the Wychwood Suite, for the choir with Michele Jacot as soloist. Howard continued to work with the choir and arrange other works for them until he passed. The choir now presents three main concerts per season with a solid and growing audience base. Special kudos should go out to Roy Greaves, one of the founding members and arranger extraordinaire. On checking their last program, of the 11 selections performed six were arranged by Roy. Waterloo: Another anniversary of a very different sort takes place when the Waterloo Concert Band performs on May 5 at Knox Presbyterian Church in uptown Waterloo. Rather than an anniversary of the band’s founding, this will celebrate the upcoming centenary of the arrival in Waterloo of Charles Frederick “Professor” Thiele. So far I have not been able to find much information about Thiele before his arrival in Waterloo. I do remember well the name though: from my days playing in a boys’ band eons ago. At that time boys’ bands and adult bands regularly went to tattoos and many other events where they were adjudicated by “Professor” Thiele. I hope to learn more about this man soon. A newly discovered manuscript of a previously unknown Trevor Wagler, Waterloo Concert Band director, with C.F. Thiele’s score composition by “The Professor” couldn’t have come along at a more opportune time for the Waterloo Concert Band. The discovery of an undated work called Festival Overture gave a natural impetus for programming this into the concert celebrating the anniversary of Thiele’s arrival in Waterloo. The band’s director, Trevor Wagler, now has the task of transforming the fragile paper artifact into individual parts, adapted to the keys and clefs that today’s musicians use. An accomplished digital transcriber, as well as a busy freelance French horn player and co-owner of Waterloo’s Renaissance School of the Arts, Wagler estimates that it will take about 20 hours to complete the task. The photograph shows Wagler at an oversized vertical computer screen in his office as he gently converts the yellowed sheets, each covered with dense but precise handwritten notes, into the individual parts. As Wagler explains: “We’ve been including a lot of Thiele’s music in our repertoire during the past few seasons because more and more is coming to light, and so much of it is of very good quality. We couldn’t let this year go by without doing something special to celebrate the huge presence he had.” Other Bands Richmond Hill: In the good news department, we have just heard from a band that we hadn’t heard from directly before. Connie Learn, president of the Newmarket Citizens Band, put us in touch with Joan Sax of the Richmond Hill Concert Band (RHCB). Joan told us about RHCB’s new York Region Band Concert Series taking place this summer. This series has been tentatively called “Sundays at the Amphitheatre,” until the band finds a naming sponsor for it. The series is aimed at an audience of families, and will be held at the amphitheatre in Richmond Green Park, at Elgin Mills Road and Leslie Street in Richmond Hill. The series will consist of five concerts, on Sundays from July 14 to August 11 inclusive, beginning at 1pm as follows: July 14, Aurora Concert Band; July 21, Richmond Hill Concert Band; July 28, Markham Concert Band; August 4, Thornhill Community Band; and August 11, Newmarket Citizens Band. The concert series is supported by the Town of Richmond Hill’s Cultural Grant, and a yet-to-be-named sponsor. They are also partnering with the Richmond Hill Food Bank to collect food for this worthy Richmond Hill organization. The Richmond Hill Concert Band, formed in 2010, is a charitable organization that provides musical service and cultural support to their community, and education for band members. They perform annually at Richmond Hill’s Canada Day celebration, and in the Richmond Hill Summer Park Series. In addition to their public concerts, the band also performs concerts at seniors residences and hospitals. Uxbridge: It’s much too early to talk much about that remarkable summer band, the Uxbridge Community Concert Band (UCCB), but this year is different. Founder and leader Steffan Brunette appears to be on the road to recovery from a serious medical situation, and is already talking about rehearsals. As one member of the band’s executive put it: “He is planning to be well enough to run the band this summer, but may have some stand-ins for conductors in the beginning as he might not be strong enough to listen to us play wrong continues to page 65 PAULINE FINCH thewholenote.com April 2019 | 41

Volumes 21-24 (2015-2018)

Volume 24 Issue 8 - May 2019
Volume 24 Issue 7 - April 2019
Volume 24 Issue 6 - March 2019
Volume 24 Issue 5 - February 2019
Volume 24 Issue 4 - December 2018 / January 2019
Volume 24 Issue 3 - November 2018
Volume 24 Issue 2 - October 2018
Volume 24 Issue 1 - September 2018
Volume 23 Issue 9 - June / July / August 2018
Volume 23 Issue 8 - May 2018
Volume 23 Issue 7 - April 2018
Volume 23 Issue 6 - March 2018
Volume 23 Issue 4 - December 2017 / January 2018
Volume 23 Issue 3 - November 2017
Volume 23 Issue 2 - October 2017
Volume 23 Issue 1 - September 2017
Volume 22 Issue 9 - Summer 2017
Volume 22 Issue 8 - May 2017
Volume 22 Issue 7 - April 2017
Volume 22 Issue 6 - March 2017
Volume 22 Issue 5 - February 2017
Volume 22 Issue 4 - December 2016/January 2017
Volume 22 Issue 2 - October 2016
Volume 22 Issue 1 - September 2016
Volume 21 Issue 9 - Summer 2016
Volume 21 Issue 8 - May 2016
Volume 21 Issue 6 - March 2016
Volume 21 Issue 5 - February 2016
Volume 21 Issue 4 - December 2015/January 2016
Volume 21 Issue 3 - November 2015
Volume 21 Issue 2 - October 2015
Volume 21 Issue 1 - September 2015

Volumes 16-20 (2010-2015)

Volumes 11-15 (2004-2010)

Volumes 6 - 10 (2000 - 2006)

Volumes 1-5 (1994-2000)