3 years ago

Volume 25 Issue 4 - December 2019 / January 2020

  • Text
  • Faculty
  • Performing
  • Musical
  • Arts
  • Jazz
  • Theatre
  • Symphony
  • December
  • January
  • Toronto
Welcome to our December/January issue as we turn the annual calendar page, halfway through our season for the 25th time, juggling as always, secular stuff, the spirit of the season, new year resolve and winter journeys! Why is Mozart's Handel's Messiah's trumpet a trombone? Why when Laurie Anderson offers to fly you to the moon you should take her up on the invitation. Why messing with Winterreisse can (sometimes) be a very good thing! And a bumper crop of record reviews for your reading (and sometimes listening) pleasure. Available in flipthrough here right now, and on stands commencing Thursday Nov 28. See you on the other side!


CELEBRATE THE HOLIDAYS WITH US! TORONTO CHILDREN’S CHORUS A Chorus Christmas: Celestial Celebrations SUN DEC 15 ◆ 2 PM THE METROPOLITAN CHOIR Wassail! TUE DEC 17 ◆ 12 PM FREE A Part of 23 rd Annual Free Noon Hour Choir & Organ Concerts Made possible by the generous support of Edwards Charitable Foundation. GOOD LOVELIES Christmas Concert TUE DEC 17 ◆ 8 PM TICKETS MAKE GREAT GIFTS! CHILLY GONZALES MON JAN 20 ◆ 8 PM A Part of Share the Music Presented by YAMATO The Drummers of Japan Jhonetsu FRI JAN 24 ◆ 8 PM A Part of Share the Music Presented by CHRIS BOTTI FRI MAR 20 ◆ 8 PM EVGENY KISSIN Piano SAT MAY 23 ◆ 2 PM A Part of Share the Music Presented by FOR TICKETS VISIT ROYTHOMSONHALL.COM OR CALL 416-872-4255

Beat by Beat | Jazz Notes Circular Exchange Jazz and the Spirit of Christmas STEVE WALLACE On two recent performances I experienced epiphanies which reminded me of something that often gets overlooked amid the hubbub and organized chaos of gigs: that, at the core of live jazz there is a process of generosity and giving, an exchange of gifts, which is the essence of what we celebrate during Christmas and other religious holidays. The exchange is circular, as there is an unspoken pact between jazz players and their audience which goes something like this: give us your attention, your ears, and we musicians will give you our very best – or at least try to – and make some music, out of thin air, you’ve never heard before and will never hear again. This commitment to playing one’s very best holds for all good musicians, but because jazz involves so much improvising, and thus risk, the giving in a jazz performance is much more personal, coming from deep inside the musicians themselves in a sort of spontaneous, highwire communion. It has very little to do with money. Yes, musicians are paid for performances and must be – after all, it is their work and they have to survive like everyone else. But the level of effort and commitment put forth by jazz players has nothing to do with how much a gig pays; indeed I’ve been involved in many sessions and afterhours jams where there is no money involved and everyone plays out of their skin. Why? Simply because they love music and wouldn’t think of letting it, or each other, down. Jazz players give to each other, too. The first of these epiphanies came courtesy of singer Karin Plato in back-to-back concerts at Jazz in the Kitchen, October 20 and 21. Karin is one of my favourite singers today, to hear or play with. She has a beautiful, slightly smoky voice in the alto range and sings with flawless intonation and unerring musicality. And she has a special brand of sincerity and open soulfulness as a person and performer; there’s real feeling there. Beyond her vocal talents, she’s also a first-rate musician – plays some piano, is a good songwriter and arranger with big ears and a thorough knowledge of harmony which allow her to improvise freely. She also has a touch of the poet about her, a love of words which comes to the fore in her interpretation of other’s lyrics and the thoughtful ones she writes herself. While utterly contemporary, she also has a special gift of recasting old songs, finding something new and fresh in them in quite imaginative ways. Best of all is her open and generous attitude toward performance. She’s modest to a fault and there’s never a sense while playing with Karin that she’s “out front” and the band is simply there to back her. She sees herself as part of the band and takes great delight in the spontaneous contributions of the other players; she never wants to get in the way of the creative process. Indeed she’s a central part of that process; a poised risk-taker, which makes playing with her so rewarding. These concerts were to be a reunion of sorts between Karin, pianist Mark Eisenman and me. Quite a few years ago when the CBC was adequately funded and still a cultural institution we could all be proud of, Mark led a quintet accompanying a selection of jazz singers from across Canada in a series of concerts at the Glenn Gould Studio, which were recorded and broadcast. Karin, who hails from Saskatchewan but has lived in Vancouver since 1985, was among the singers and made a strong impression on Mark and me. On the strength of this initial bond, Karin asked me to be part of her Ontario tour with pianist Nancy Walker and drummer Joel Haynes, which culminated in her 2008 CD, Downward Dancing. We’ve been friends ever since and have stayed in touch, so I very much looked forward to this chance to play with her again, knowing she would love the special intimacy of JITK. I also looked forward to the instant musical rapport I knew Karin Plato would form between Karin and drummer Mark Micklethwaite, who had never even met before. This is a big part of the giving spirit in jazz I’m referring to, the willingness and capacity of musicians who don’t know each other to set aside preconceptions or personal agendas and put out the antennae to make music together. It’s called listening, and like the listening of an attentive audience, it is perhaps the greatest musical gift of all. Karin brought along a selection of charts for songs she loves and which she thought would be suitable for the JITK audience, a nicely GIVE THE GIFT OF MUSIC THIS HOLIDAY SEASON String Instruments Print Music & Books Acoustic & Electric Guitars Digital Pianos Stage Pianos shop online at VINCENT LIM December 2019January 2020 | 25

Volumes 21-25 (2015-2020)

Volumes 16-20 (2010-2015)

Volumes 11-15 (2004-2010)

Volumes 6 - 10 (2000 - 2006)

Volumes 1-5 (1994-2000)