7 years ago

Volume 13 - Issue 4 - December 2007

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Join us for a FREE concert and open house to launchthe Art of Jazz Afro Cuban Jazz Workshop Series.Meet Jane Bunnett and enjoy the rhythms of someof Cuba's greatest musicians who will be teachingat the workshops starting in January 2008.When: December 6, 2007Where: Art of Jazz StudioThe Distillery Historic District,Bldg 74, Studio 202Time: 7:30-11pmAfro Cuban Jazz Workshops SeriesJuno Award winner and Gram my nomineeJane Bunnett leads an Afro Cuban jazz workshopseries with members of her Spirits of Havanagroup and special guests. This 8 week workshopseries begin January 14, 2008.Learn from the mastersIndividual and group classesTo register and formore informationemail jazz@artofjazz.orgor call 416 840-7663.HOLD YOUR NEXT RECITAL-beliconian ballA beautiful restored Carpenter's Gothic board and batten churchbuilding in the heart ofYorkville can be rented at reasonablerates for musical events. Steinway Grand piano included.A high, vaulted ceiling provides excellent concert-hall acoustics.Capacity up to 120. Tel: 416-922-3618 Fax: 416-922-2431Jazz Notesby Jim GallowayWith all the emphasis that gets placed on the educational coursesavailable to individual young musicians, here is some news about aninteresting challenge for existing combos . The International Centerfor the Arts at San Francisco State University announced "Generations," a unique post-graduate Fellowship and International Competitionfor already-formed combos of aspiring musicians. It offers theopportunity for an established jazz group of exceptional promise toobtain a year-long fellowship at San Francisco State University withadvanced pre-professional training and career preparation from ateam of distinguished jazz artists including saxophonist Eric Alexander,trumpeter Marcus Belgrave, percussionist Jimmy Cobb, bassistRay Drummond, pianist Ronnie Matthews and the programme' sartistic director, saxophonist Andrew Speight. The programme is theonly one of its kind in the world and will provide priceless performanceopportunities including playing with their mentors.Groups of three to seven musicians will compete for theopportunity to become Generations fellows. Finalists will be invitedto San Francisco State University in May 2008 for a mini-residencywith the Generations mentors, culminating in a public performanceby all finalists and the selection of one combo to return in the Fallof 2008 for the beginning of the first one-year residency. It is opento groups whose members are under 30 years old and have beentogether for at least one year. The closing date for applications isMarch 14 2008 and finalists will be announced on April 4th.Groups applying should email with "GenerationsCompetition" in the subject line.Since my last article our musical community lost two outstandingpiano talents. After a lengthy illness, Bob Fenton, a formidableplayer and gentle man, passed away . He was a tremendouslyversatile and knowledgeable musician, equally at home playing in thetradition or exploring new directions. Bobby played in my big bandand I recall an evening a few years ago when we gave a concertwhich included Duke Ellington's "Manhattan Murals", an extendedversion of "A" Train featuring a rubato piano chorus. It was oneof the most memorable solos I have ever heard and we still talkabout it with a degree of awe. He taught at York for many yearsand had a lasting impact on his students. He will be fondly rememberedby all of us.Canada lost yet another great musician when John Arpindied on November 8th. No less an authority than Eubie Blakedubbed John "the Chopin of Ragtime" and without doubt he wasone of the world's great interpreters of that very specialised body ofJAZZ NOTES CONTINUES ON PAGE rentals@heliconianclub.org20 WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COM DECE MBE Rl 2007 - FEBR UAR Y 7 2008

Quoolibetby Allan Pu IkerI went to percussionist Evelyn Glennie's talk in Walter Hall the day beforeyesterday (Thursday November 22). She talked about how a musician,an artist, is providing a service to the people who come to hear herplay. They are her real employer, not the orchestras or impresarios thathire her. They hire her only because they know that people want to hearher.It is a disconcertingly entrepreneurial approach to being a musician,but it makes sense - she works at providing a "product," - if I may usethat crassly overworked word - that people want. It is not somethingthat she was born with that most of the rest of us don't have; it's somethingshe has to work at. How does she do this? She performs a lot ofnew works, in a variety of venues and with a great range of other performers.According to her "official" biography "for the first ten yearsof her career virtually every performance she gave was in some way afirst - the first time an orchestra had performed with a percussion soloist,the first solo percussion performance at a venue or festival or theworld premiere of a new piece." It goes on to list a diverse collection ofcollaborators, from Bjork to a 60-piece gamelan orchestra.How is this relevant to ordinary musicians like us, maybe having aday job, perhaps playing in an orchestra, or teaching and doing gigs tokeep body and soul together? In an "Open Letter to Music Professionals"that I found on a website, Glennie says this: "If the performer isnot excited by the prospect of their performance, how can our audiencesbe expected to be excited? So our question is: why should an audiencecome to our concerts?" She goes on: "Every single time someonecomes through the doors of our venues it is the opportunity to plant anew seed and to inspire. Perhaps they could become the next great performer.... "By looking at performance this way, one begins to develop one'sown artistic vision. Performance goes beyond being a job, somethingsecure, predictable and routine and becomes an exciting and dynamicjourney into the unknown. The paradox of course is that it is by submittingto the forces of the marketplace that the artist can begin to approachsomething often thought of as antithetical to "marketing" - thecreation of something that is new and needed.As if by way of confirmation of this Glennie-inspired revelation, apress release from the Toronto Symphony Orchestra's publicist just arrived,promoting the orchestra's upcoming performance of Handel'sMessiah. The little historical backgrounder in the release resonated withEvelyn's comments: "Handel's situation was so bleak in 1741 that heconsidered returning to Germany. Instead ... in a mere 24 days (neveronce leaving his house) he wrote the epic Messiah .... With the exceptionof Water Music and Fireworks Music, it became his most successfuland most enduring work." Handel, a musical entrepreneur in thespirit of his time, produced a work thatboth saved his bacon and which is reveredas an iconic work of art. Almostthree centuries ago he understood theconnection between economics and artthat Miss Glennie is advocating today,and which is just as relevant now as itwas then.The final sentence of her open letter is ·"Please consider your actions, your inac- / ..tions and remember to ask, 'What can I ~do to make a difference today?"' I'm ~ .P"Sdoing a little concert myself on Decem- "--"'"'-----='----==:.-£- -""'-~ber 9, and thinking about it a little differ- Evelyn Glennieently because of having heard MissGlennie's talk. The question I'm asking is "What is one thing I can dodifferently to be more excited by this performance, more engaged in it,so that my audience can go away with more and want to come back formore?" My "product," my artistic vision isn't going to miraculouslyemerge all at once but will, I believe reveal itself through my repeatedattempts to look at what I do from the point of view of my "real employer",the people who come to hear me play.I don't mean to suggest that there are no performers who already understandthis, but at the same time I think all of us engaged in musicalendeavours can find something useful in her thoughts. I was, I confess,a bit shocked when a member of Glennie's workshop audience suggestedthat the answer was that government should be supporting artists,because art is good for people and society. It wasn't the comment perse that shocked me, but how much applause erupted in its wake. Evidentlythere were some musicians there who didn't really hear whatGlennie had to say.On the bright side, there are performers, entrepreneurial in the Glenniesense, who are starting to make a difference. A few upcomingevents spring to mind: Andrew Burashko's Art of Time concert series- the next on December 14 and 15 - is constantly innovative, connectingthe present with the classical musical tradition in ways that invigoratethe performers who take part. The Aldeburgh Connection, with concertscoming on December 2, January 13 and 29, has found a way ofpresenting the art song in a way that audiences keep coming back to -something to do with the inexhaustible joy and surprise its foundersbring to each new "discovery". And collaborative pianist, AmandaJohnston, has made a bold move--creating a series that enables her tobring the vocalists with whom she takes joy in working into her "parlour."Peter McGillivray, on December 7 and Krisztina Szabo on January25 are the first of, let us hope, many. Another very evolved artisticvision is that of flutist/composer, Robert Aitken, whose New MusicConcerts continues to put us in contact with some of the most creativemusical minds of our time, with his own delight in their presence a lensthrough which his audience can better reflect on the experience.May the performers in our midst strive to bring inspiration to all theydo, and may all of us as audience look for that in the events we attend,and, may we all have a wonderful holiday!Violins, violas, cellos, and bowsComplete line of strings and accessoriesExpert repairs and rehairsCanada's largest stock of string musicFast mail order service~,,,.-rwww.thesoundpost.cominfo@thesoundpost.comWWW.THEWHOLENOTE.COM 21

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