7 years ago

Volume 12 - Issue 1 - September 2006

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  • Jazz
  • Toronto
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Well, a lot of water has

Well, a lot of water has flowedunder the bridge since the lastWholeNote. The truly sad news isthat The Montreal Bistro hasjoined the list of former great jazzclubs in this city. Almost exactly ayear after the demise of The TopO' The Senator, the Bistro joinsThe Colonial and Town Taverns,Bourbon and Basin Street,George's Spaghetti House and severalothers where good jazz had ahome. Bad news travels fast andthere were e-mails from all overCanada and the States expressingconcern. The loss of two majorclubs in a year is a sad reflectionon a city that boasts of being oneof North America's entertainmentmeccas but seemingly cannot supporta major jazz room.One of the home-town catchphrases I hate is "world classcity". If you have to say it, you'renot one. I'm happy living in Toronto,but there are things whichdisappoint me. The never-endingchase for the buck; the lack of asense of history. If an interestingold building stands in the way of anew condominium, the odds areheavily stacked. But the downtowncore is a comfortable size and easyto move around in. Yonge Streetisn't Broadway, Bloor Street isn'tthe Champs Elysees, Queen StreetWest isn't Soho - and that's justfine, thank you.What matters are the things thatmake a city work - economy, politicsand culture. The latter revealsthe truly great cities of the world.An outstanding example is NewYork. Try making a list of songsabout NYC. If you can't come upwith at least half a dozen, go to thebottom of the class. Without mucheffort I made a list of a dozen songsand two musicals. There are songsabout Chicago, London, Paris, NewOrleans, Rome and on and on.Where are the songs about Toronto?Dozens, you say? Yes , but,Jazz Notesby Jim Gallowaywhere are they? Almost all havefaded into obscurity. (And jazzbuffs, Rob McConnell did writeT.O., but that was for TedO'Reilly, not Toronto!) Perhapsthe closest we came was " PeopleCity, " by Gary Gray and TommyAmbrose, used as a signature tuneby CITY-TV in the early 70s. Iremember it well; it seemed to catchthe mood of the city at that time.Some of the T .O. songs certainlyhad fascinating titles. The earliestpublished piece I could findseems to have been a number called"The Sunnyside Schottische" . Laterefforts included "Come to the Valeof the Beautiful Don", hardly fittingtoday, the "Toronto Two-StepNovelty Dance" and more recently"The Toronto Subway Song".All of them forgotten.Are our jazz clubs followingsuit? With a wealth of wonderfultalent and the city' s reputation forbeing a good jazz town, surely weshould be able to have our equivalentof Birdland in New York orRonnie Scott's in London.On a more positive note, a newclub opens its doors in August.Sopra, at 265 Davenport begins a5 nights a week policy featuringtop local musicians. It is locatedabove the up-market Mistura Restaurantand will go some way towardsfilling the void left by theBistro. Also new on the scene isHalleluia Restaurant at 380 EglintonWest. They started on Thursdaysin August (7-lOpm), and inSeptember are planning to go totwo nights each week. Let's hopethese are successful ventures.The day life changed - again.While writing this article , Iswitched on the TV in time to hearabout the plot to blow up 10 planesin mid-Atlantic. The ensuing securitymeasures, including no carryon luggage for any flight inBritain, came the day before I wasIslington United Church Jazz Concert Series6) 25 Burnhamthorpe Road(one light west oflslington, north of Dundased on Climax Jazz Bandnmn Saturday, October 28, 20068:30-10:30Tickets .00 Call Bill or Rosemary Drinnanat 416-621-2897 for tickets or informationWheelchair Accessible and Parkingdue to fly into Heathrow and takea connecting flight to Edinburghwith my soprano sax in its softleather bag which has for 30 yearscarried it all over the world. I satthere stunned by yet another turnin our world's downward spiral.Have horn, can 't travel. Meanwhile,there wasn 't time to find ahard case strong enough to survivebaggage handlers and in anycase (no pun intended), althoughairline security may be tight, it carriesno guarantees for an unlockedcontainer holding a valuable musicalinstrument. So it was a franticphone call to Scotland to see if Icould rent or borrow a curved sopranosaxophone.The rented horn in Edinburghwas of indeterminate origin andmake, but it played well enough,although it was different enoughto make playing a challenge. Hornplayers will know what I'm talkingabout. Little differences in layout,and the angle of the neck wasnot at all the same and that tooksome getting used to. At least Ihad my own mouthpiece, whichhad been packed in my suitcase.I tried to get a feel for the yearroundjazz scene in Edinburgh. Atfestival time it is active, but spottythe rest of the year, although TheJazz Bar on Chambers Street seemsto have regular programming andthere are a few other spots such asHenderson's, The Lot in theGrassmarket and Eighty Queen St.all featuring local players. Edinburghis still one of the most beautifulcities in the world and, likeToronto, the downtown core is ofa manageable size and easy to getaround. I like it.London where I spent three daysis much more active, as one wouldexpect, even if it is a bit less sothan it used to be. But in the weekI was in Britain, London jazz fanshad the opportunity to choose froma list that included Howard Alden,Rashied Ali, Terence Blanchardand John Colliani, all appearing inclubs. Not New York, but not bad.Meanwhile, here in Toronto westill have The Rex and Reservoiralong with the dozen or so otherclubs that keep the music alive forlocal musicians and The HappyPals still spread joy on a Saturdayafternoon at Grossman's. So getout there and enjoy some of thatlive music.In the Jazz Listings; go to page 49WholeNote welcomes a number of new venues, with several moreto come. Two hotels - the Markham Hilton and The Pantages inToronto are booking top-quality jazz at their lounges. Guitarist MichaelKleniec starts a new residency at Club Caya Coco, and Ten Feet Tallon the Danforth is the new Wednesday Night home of Lisa Particelli'spopular "Girl's Night Out" Jam session. Venues like the Concord Cafe(while not always booked far enough in advance to make our listings)also are offering great jazz - stick your head in or phone.Some great jazz at the Rex - including the hugely successfulAnnual Tribute to John Coltrane with Pat Labarbera and Kirk MacDonald(Sep 21, 22, 23), and a performance by JazzFM's Project Jazz winnerMike Ruby (Sep 25) . The Hogtown Syncopaters also start a Fridayafternoon residency. They also can be found at Gate 403 (Sep 2).Featuring some of Toronto's best jazz musicianswith a brief reflection by Jazz Vespers Clergy9th SEASON BEGINS!Sunday, September 10th4:30 pmTHE ALEX DEAN QUARTETSunday, September 24th4:30 pmROB PILTCH & LORNE LOFSKYChrist Church Deer Park, 1570 Yonge Street(north of St. Clair at Heath St.) 416-920-5211Admission is free.An offering is received to support the work of the church, including Jazz Vespers.WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COM S EPTE MBER 1 - O CTO BER 7 2006

On OPERAby Christopher HoileStarts with a bangThe 2006-07 opera season startsoff with bang, the end of the worldno less , with the COC's presentationof the first-ever Canadian RingCycle, the first operas to take thestage in the COC' s new home,Four Seasons Centre for the PerformingArts. We've seen the secondthrough fourth operas in Wagner'stetralogy since the 2003-04season. On September 12 the COCfinally presents the first of the cycle,"Das Rheingold ", directed byMichael Levine, who is also thedesigner for the entire cycle.The three cycles run Sep 12-17,September 19-24 and September26-0ctober I. The performancesare already 95 % sold, but CBCRadio Two will be broadcastingthe first cycle live for listenersaround the country--"Das Rheingold"Sep 12 at 6:30pm, "DieWalkiire" Sep 13 at 6:30pm, "Siegfried" Sep 15 at !pm and "Gotterdammerung"Sep 17 at !pm.There have been significant castchanges from the individual presentationsof the last three operas.British soprano Susan Bullock assumesthe role of Briinnhilde forthe first and third cycles, whileFrances Ginzer sings the role onlyin the second. Pavlo Hunka, heardpreviously in the roles of Hundingand Alberich, now sings the roleof Wotan. Phillip Ens, who previouslysang Fafner, now sings bothFafner and Hunding. The rest ofthe cast remains the same withChristian Franz as Siegfried, AdriannePieczonka and Clifton Forbisas Sieglinde and Siegmund, RobertKunzli as Mime and Mats Almgrenas Hagen. A host of specialevents, lectures, films and seminarsabout Wagner and the Ringaccompany the Ring itself. See thewebsite at following the Ring,the COC goes on to stage a regularfull season, starting with Mozart's 250th birthday in the formof "Cosi fan tutte" (Oct. 17-Nov.5). In December (6-10) the COCEnsemble presents one of the mostunusual offerings of the year, adouble bill of William Walton's"The Bear" (1967) and the worldpremiere of the comic opera"Swoon" by James Rolfe, of "BeatriceChancey" fame, at the ImperialOil Opera Theatre. The newyear begins with two works Torontohas not seen for a long time,namely Shostakovich's "LadyMacbeth ofMtsensk" (Jan. 31-Feb23) and Gounod's "Faust" (Feb1-24). The first, in belated celebrationof the composer's lOOthbirthday, hasn't been seen in Torontosince 1988. The second,amazingly, hasn't been seen hereFOUR GRIE&\ if' MUSOCAlSD@Ni lOW/ PROCIHTHE CIVIC LIGHT OPERA COMPANYPROUDLY PRESENTS ITS 28TH SEASON atFAIRVIEW LIBRARY THEATRE, North YorkON AClEAR DAYYOUCftNSllFIBIVoOct. 12 - 281 Jecmcmbcr )l;tamaDec. 21 to Jan. 6.,,-: .Canada 's own Brunnhilde, Frances Ginzer, only in Cycle 2, shares theCOC role with Susan Bullock. Ginzer returns as Tosca for OperaOntario in May.since 1985. The season concludeswith three familiar works--Verdi's"Luisa Miller", (Apr 10-May 11),Richard Strauss's "Elektra" (Apr21-May 19) and Puccini's "LaTraviata" (May 4-26).Opera Atelier celebrates theMozart year with a revival of itspopular "The Magic Flute" (Nov17-25). The company's new productionin spring (April 28-May5) is Gluck's "Orphee et Eurydice". This is Gluck's large-scale1774 Paris version of his 1762"Orfeo ed Euridice" that OA presentedin 1997. Andrew Parrottconducts this Canadian premiere.Toronto Operetta Theatre expandsits offerings from three tofour this season. Its two most excitingofferings are by LeonardBernstein and Imre Kalman. Bernstein's"Candide" (Dec. 27-Jan.7), labelled by the composer as anoperetta, has not been seen inToronto since 1984 and stars CarlaHuhtanen, Peter Mccutcheon andJean Stilwell. Next in February (16-18) comes a real rarity in the formofKalman's "Gypsy Violins" ("DerZigeunerprimas") from 1912.The Metropolitan United Church presents:CONTINUESJerry Hernmn '.~· Broadway R .evueFeb. 15 - March 3SHOW BoATMay 24 - June 10CALL FOR A BROCHURE (416) 755-1717OR VISIT OUR WEBSITEwww.CivicLightOperaCompany.comOctober 19, 20, 21 at 7:30 pmj!dults: Children under 12: Call 'THE MET CONCERT LINE'416.363.0331 x 5156 Queen St. East, TorontoS EPTEMBE R 1 - O CTOBER 7 2006 WWW. TH EWHOLENOTE.COM 31

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