8 years ago

Volume 9 Issue 10 - July/August 2004

  • Text
  • Festival
  • Toronto
  • Jazz
  • Theatre
  • August
  • Musical
  • Arts
  • Ensemble
  • Concerts
  • Trio


JAZZ NOTES by Jim Galloway Every month this magazine is full of information about musical events taking place in and around Toronto. We tend to take it for granted that we can go out week after week and enjoy a symphony concert, pop concert, go to a Jazz club, see a play. Turn on the tap a'1d entertainment flows out. There is also an interesting tie-in between the growth of culture in a town and the prosperity of that same community. This is very much the case in Toronto. ft is quite f~scinating to examine the social history of this city, and the close relationship between its prosperity and cultural life. The first recorded reference to a musical event in Toronto was a ball held in June of I 778 to celebrate the King's birthday. The cost of the music for the evening, by the way, was seven dollars. The first theatre opened in Toronto in 1834; it was actually a converted Methodist Church, but the remainder of the century saw the arrival of a number of.concert halls, including Massey Hall, which opened in 1894. One of the most successful industries in Toronto was piano building. The Montreal Bistro is located in a spot that was once the Heintzman piano factory and in an indirect way this brings us to the topic of jazz. It is a well-established fact that Toronto has the reputation of being a good jazz town and the love affair between this city and that music goes back a long way. Well, maybe not a full-blown romance to begin with. In Mark Miller's book, Such Melodious Racket, which has to be a defini~ive study of jazz in this country, and a wonderfully well researched and interesting read, he describes how a group called the Vernon Five was reviewed in the Globe in November 1917 ...... "succeeded at times in making a diabolical noise, thus justifying their claims to being a jazz company." It was around 1920 before Jazz became a more active part of the entertaimpent scene in Toronto. Unlike today, Montreal was, in the early 1900s' much more receptive to this new music; it was a wide open town with a vibrant nightlife, whereas Toronto was, at this time, still earning its reputation as I "Toronto The Good". There were no jazz clubs in those days and any jazz performers passing through town most likely played on vaudeville bills in theatres such as The Casino and Shea's. Radio, which was at this time unregulated, played an immensely important Po"rter at the helm. I am only scratching the surface of this topic and I knciw I have left out many relevant names and events which have gone into making this a jazz town, but to do it justice would take up the entire magazine. role in spreading the sounds of jazz If you're reading this article earwith live remotes from ballrooms. ly enough in July, there's still time to catch the tail end of TD Canada Like many newspapers in the 1920s, the Toronto Star even had Trust Downtown Jazz Festival. its own radio station, CFCA, which Don't imagine for one minute, however, that that's it for festivals. stood for "Canada's Finest Covers America". In the 30s and 40s There is the Celebrate Toronto just abqut every name big band you Street Festival with a wide range can think of played the Palais Roy- of music and some jazz. For exale on Lakeshore Boulevard. . ample, on July 10th at three o'clock The ffrst jazz club, The Onyx in the afternoon you can enjoy Club, named after its famous coun- Swing Rosie followed at 6pm by terpart in New York, opened in Kollage. These free perfonnances 1938 'and started an all too com- are at the corner of Yonge Street mon trend by closing the follow- and St. Clair A venue and the foling year. Next up was the Cafe lowing afternoon ' starting at Marimba, but it suffered the same 1 :30pm you can hear the Canada fate. Two clubs that did achieve Pops Orchestra big-band jazz. The Toronto festival season consome longevity were the Colonial t" mues w1 .th t h e 8 eac h es 1 nterna­ Tavern which opened its doors in 1947 and lasted 31 years, although tional Jazz Festival in late July, in its later life the jazz content was where William Carn, Heillig Maa sometime thing, and the Towne noevre, and Bill King's Saturday Tavern which ran from 1949 to Night Fish Fry are among the fea- 1971. These two venues did much cured groups, while in August we to establish Toronto as a destina- have festivals in Markham and tion for many of the great names Oakville. You might want to note that headliners at Markham include in jazz.There were other spots such as the Park Plaza Hotel, Friars, pianist Monty Alexander, Alex The Savarin, Bourbon Street and Pangman and her Alleycats, the Cafe des Copains which enhanced Jean Beaudet Trio, Don Thompson with Renee Rosnes and Rusthe town's reputation. For local sell Malone with Bennie-Green. boppers the haven was George's Spaghetti House which featured If your taste runs to the blues Toronto musicians almost exclu- there is Bluesfest Toronto at Exsively from 1956 until 1994. Then hibition Place in Toronto. Jimmie there were the after-hours places Vaughan and Lyle Lovett are the big names on Juiy 16 while on the such as the Mercury Club, The Banana Factory and Clem Ham- 17th one of the performers to look b out for is Bettye LaVette who ourg's "House of Hambourg"" wowed'audiences at the IAJE Con­ For fans of tradjazz, Grossman's ference in New York earlier this on Spadina has been a Saturday afternoon hang for as long as any- year. Other attractions coming into one can remember and before that town for the event include Keb Mo, there was the Maison Dore. C'Est Sonny Landreth and Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown. What and the Chick 'n' Deli are also Saturday aftemon hangs for the traditional set. Over the months of July and August there is also lots of good music available out of town. In Port Media support, and sometimes Carling the Muskoka Lakes Mu­ Iack of it, has played its role \n the sic Festival, which is spread out acceptance of jazz. As far back as over part of July and August, fea- 1945 the Globe and Mail had a tures jazz cruises on July 13th, jazz column and in 1949 the now 20th, 27th and August 3 and 10th. defunct Telegram hired jazz enthu- Other events will feature singer siast Helen McNamara to write a Adi Braun, "Seeds of Sun", an regular column. Today, the names Israeli jazz ensemble, The Whitof Mark Miller and Geoff Chap- ney Smith Big Steam Ba:nd, Toinman are better known than some my Ambrose with the Toronto Allof the musicians they write about. Star Big Band and Jeff Healey's Toronto boasts JAZZ.FM the Jazz Wizards . only 24 hour jazz radio station in the country, which now has Ross WWW .THCWHOLENOTE. COM Adie Braun The Elora Festival features Michael Kaeshammer on July 15 and the following evening in Hamilton, he plays in the Brott Music Festival at the Royal Botanical Gardens. That same evening , at the Huntsville Festival of the Arts, Emily-Claire Barlow will be accompanied by an all-star group including Phil Dwy~r and Rob Piltch. In Collingwood on July 30, as part of their Music Festival, John Arpin, who is, by the way, one of the greatest ragtime players in the world, will give a solo piano concert. And the list goes on into the month· of August with the Festival of the Sound at Parry Sound where on the afternoon of August 1st a tribute to the music of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn will showcase vocalist Adi Braun, pianist Gene DiNovi and clarinettist James Campbell. There is also the Kincardine Summer Music Festival where between August 2 and 5th the lineup includes singer Lisa ly1artinelli, "The Three Hom Monster" with Aiex Dean, Mike Malone, and Dave McMurdo, "Interplay" with Lome Lofsky and Brian Dickinson and last but not least Renee Rosnes. Meanwhile, of course, there is the ongoing chib scene in Toronto, scaled back a little bit after the Festival fever, but still offering its usual interesting array of jazz in all styles. If I may be allowed to . blow my own horn a little bit, or at least toot my saxophone, the Echoes Of Swing band will be at the Montreal Bistro on July 12. My thanks to Mark Miller for having taken the trouble to do such wonderful research in the writing of 'Such Melodious Racket'. If you are interested in the story of jazz in this country I suggest you buy this book -,and then go out and listen to some live jazz. Jul Y 1 - SEPT 7 2004

In the Listings Jazz for all ages at last! Hupp_y Pals New Orleans Jazz by Sophia Perlman PEOPLE OFTEN WONDER if jazz is, perhaps, a dying art form. After au, if you attend any of the clubs, while there is always a handful of university types, the majority of those corning out to live music often seem to be of an older demographic. What often goes unrecognj.zed is that, for the past 4 years, many youth with an interest in jazz have been left out in the cold - often quite literally . .Under old city of Toronto by-laws, any person who entered a venue where smoking was permitted had to be over the age of 19 - and this applied to many (although not all) venues in Toronto. It was incredibly frustrating for many students - espeeially those who, having graduated under the new 4-year Ontario high school curriculum were entering postsecondary institutions at a younger age. Many would not tum 19 until well after the end of their first year of college or university. (Kudos to the Top O'the Senator -- among other venues -­ for providing accessible jazz to people of all ages for the past 4 years.) Now' UNDER THE NEW city-wide smoking ban, most venues are allowing people of all ages in - and while cover charges still apply, it is an opportunity that students are already taking full advantage of. Most clubs reserve the right to refuse admittance, but JULY 1 - SEPT 7 2004 CONTINUES ON PAGE 46 BAND STAND byMerlin Williams Summer equals park concerts for community bands. These can be lots of fun or a total drag, depending on the audience that attends. It's simply not very much fun to play your heart out to an audience that's smaller than the band. The bands listed in this month's column should do well, since they're doing their best to let people know where and when they 're performing. As I sit to write this piece, I've received concert schedules from only five bands in the GTA. Last September, I listed over forty bands. What's wrong with this picture? Why don' t community bands· take advantage of free ltstings and publicity? I've been writing Bandstand for nearly five years now, and I still run across community bands who are unaware of The WholeNote, let alone this column even though this magazine is available for free in their area. I will be putting together the annual listing of bands for the September issue of The WholeNote during the month ~f August. If your band wants to be listed, I really need updated informatfon by the second week of August. Send it to me at If you're not online, phone me at 416-803-0275 . If you have something you want to mail me, contact me and I'll give you my mailing address. What I need in order to list your band is: The Name of the group, Conductor' s name, a Contact person with a phone number/ email address, the band's website address (ifapplicable), the rehearsal day, time and location and a list of players that are especially desired by the band. The Thornhill Community Band is-performing July 1 and August 2 at the McMichael Gallery. The performance is free with your gallery admission fee. The band is also playing free concerts at Mel Lastman Square on July·27 at 7:30 p.m. and at the Unionville Bandstand, Sept. 5 at 4:00 p.m. The Etobicoke Community Concert Band under conductor John Edward Liddle is playing two free concerts at the Applewood Homestead on the West Mall, July 7 & 28. Concert time is 7:00 p.m. The City of Brampton Concert Band is playing a free concert at Gage Park in Brampton on July 8 at 7:00 p.m. This is a chance to hear the band in top form before they head to Schladrning, Austria for the Mid-Europe Band Festival in July. · The North York Concert Band is performing at Mel Lastman Ware Academy of Music tff)l~l Thornhill Conunwiity Band Square on July 15 & 29. Both concerts are free, and start at 7:30 p.m. The Northdale Concert Band is performing two free concerts this summer. The first is at the Oshawa Civic Bandshell on Aug. 4 and starts at 7:30. The second is at the Couchiching Beach Park Aquatheatre in Orillia on Aug. 15, 7:00 p.m. I hope you have a great summer, whether you 're sitting in the chairs on the bandstand, or ·whether you 're soaking up the sounds from the comfort of your lawn chair: Merlin Williams is a woodwind performer (sax, claririet, flute and bassoon) and private teacher in Toronto. He is ae1ive in theatre music, classical and jazz, as well as (of course) community bands. He can be reached at 4l6-803- 0275, or 1'\~r}~/t'c .L..11 "'\ Make Your Summer Count! rt' (905) 479-0591 Transforming Bright Minds into G-reat Achievers Professor Peter Ware, M.M. Yale University Professor Lynn Harting-Ware, M.M. Kent State University Music Classes in Preparation for RCM Examinations Rudiments, Harmony, History, Analysis, Counterpoint Classes Begin: May, June, July. g September. Guaranteed! e-mail: Class Times if, Teacher Bios: http:/ / 43 50 5teeles Ave. E. (Market Village) FI 04A. Markham 29

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