6 years ago

Volume 14 - Issue 6 - March 2009


BEAT BY BEAT: JAZZ NOTESMarch Hearsby Jim GallowayI'LL START OFF THIS MONTH with mention of a few upcoming eventswhich caught my eye and should catch your ears.Mavis Staples with special guest James Hunter will be onstage atMassey Hall on March 21. Both artists have appeared here in recentyears at the TD Canada Trust Jazz Festival and both were knock-outsuccesses. From her early days with the family group, The StaplesSingers, to her present day solo performances, Mavis Staples hasbeen steeped in her gospel traditions. She has a great voice and she'salso a pretty neat lady. By contrast, English born James Hunter' sbackground is classic R & B. In the 80s he borrowed the name ofclassic blues performer, Howlin' Wolf and in the 90s sang back-upfor Van Morrison, who later described him as one of the best voicesin British Soul music . Massey Hall will rock.Beatus RexThe name "Rex Hotel Orchestra" conjures up in my mind an earlierage when elegant hotels had their own resident orchestras - the RoyalYork Hotel and King Edward Hotel in Toronto, the WindsorHotel and Ritz-Carlton Orchestra in Montreal, the Chateau Laurierin Ottawa, Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City and the Empress Hotelin Victoria, to name a few. Well, The Rex in Toronto hardlyqualifies as a five star hotel, but it does have its own resident orchestra- at least on the last Monday of every month. The Rex HotelOrchestra is the musical brainchild of leader and trumpet/fluegelhornplayer, composer, arranger John Macleod and it 's a terrificband, well worth a visit to The Rex . They will be there March 30 at9:30pm.The Stardust TrailAlso on March 30 from 8-llpm , JAZZ.FM91 ' s Sound Of JazzSeries at The Old Mill Inn will present Joe Sealy in a tribute to oneof the most prolific and uniquely American songwriters, HoagyCarmichael. Carmichael's is a truly wide ranging body of workfrom the early "Riverboat Shuffle," his first recorded song, writtenfor Bix Beiderbecke, to the dark melancholy of "Ballad In Blue" andenough in between to paper a wall. The young Carmichael receivedmusical instruction from his mother, Lida Robison Carmichael, amovie theatre pianist in their home town of Bloomington, Indiana.When he was 16 the family moved to Indianapolis where he furtherstudied with black ragtime pianist, Reggie Duval.Several of his songs have become standards, perhaps the mostfamous being "Stardust." The first recording of it was on October31, 1927, by Hoagy Carmichael and His Pals on Gennett at whatthen would have been called a foxtrot tempo - in other words, muchfaster than the ballad we all know. When he wrote the song, Hoagyshowed it to fellow musician Don Redman and it was Redman whosuggested changing the working title of the future hit from the lessthan inspired "Then Will I Be Satisfied" to "Stardust" ! Good move,Don. (And let us not forget, by the way, that the lyric to this masterpiecewas by Mitchell Parish.)Mr. T and Joe ShowierAnother of Hoagy Carmichael's great songs was "Rockin' Chair,"and I can never think of that song without thinking of the wonderfulvocal by Jack Teagarden, one of the great trombone players in jazz,born Weldon Leo Teagarden, in Vernon, Texas, on August 20,1905. He was a wonderful musician with a warm, unique tone and asound which, as with all jazz greats, was instantly recognizable,partly because he was largely self-taught and in his playing usedsome unorthodox slide positions. Not only was Teagarden a groundbreakingtrombone player, he was one of the most distinctive jazzsingers of all time. He pretty well took ownership of Hoagy Carmichael's"Rockin' Chair," sung in his languid, smoky voice which,like his friend and longtime musical partner, Louis Armstrong's,seemed to be an extension of the way he played his horn.Almost anything I ever wantedto know about Mr. T as he wasknown, I could have found out byasking Joe Showier, that is untilrecently. Joe died of cancer ofthe liver on February 10, andwith him went his encyclopaedicknowledge of his musical idol ,Jack Teagarden, but leavingbehind probably the world 's mostcomplete collection of Teagardenmemorabilia and an unpublishedbiography of the trombone great, minute in its detail. His life's workwas the study and enjoyment of the extraordinary talents of Jack Teagarden.Like his hero, Joe was a one-off and we' ll miss him.***Apropos of nothing, but for any fishing enthusiasts who might readthis , Hoagy Carmichael's son, also called Hoagy, was the author ofthe most authoritative book on building bamboo fly rods! I, for mypart, was hooked by the music. No jokes about reel to reel, please!Happy listening - and please make some of it live. Club listingsstart on page 39.•"SO MUCH JAZZ, SO LITTLE TIME"10 RECOMMENDED ARTISTS & VENUESby Ori Dagan(1) Don Thompson - Reg Schwager Nonet delights every firstmonthly Monday 7-!0pm at Chalkers. Don Thompson (vbs) RegSchwager (g) Luis Deniz (ss) David French (ts/bc) John de Simini(bs/fl) Jon Challoner (tp) Darren Sigesmund (tb) Jon Maharaj (b)Ethan Ardelli (d) .(2) Pat LaBarbera will dazzle with the Canadian Jazz Quartet aspart of 'Fridays at Five' March 13 from 5-8pm at Quotes, withFrank Wright (vbs) Gary Benson (g) Duncan Hopkins (b) DonVickery (d).3) Laura Hubert is a jazz/blues vocal artist with a style all herown. Grossman's Tavern every Monday 9:30-1:30pm with bandled by dependable Peter Hill (p) .(4) Ron Davis launches Ron Davis & Friends: a monthly playing,weekly hosting gig at The Old Mill's Home Smith Bar Friday andSaturday March 6 & 7 from 8-1 lpm with Mike Downes (b) and TedWarren (d) .(5) Julie Michels (voice) and Kevin Barrett (guitar) are two ofToronto's most beloved resident musicians. Statlers everycontinues page 40Featuring some of Toronto's best jazz musicianswith a brief reflection by Jazz Vespers ClergySunday, March Bth at 4:30 p.m.THE DANIEL JAMIESON QUARTETSunday, March 22nd at 4:30 p.m.ROBI BOTOS - solo pianoChrist 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.18 WWW. THEWHOLENOTE . COM M A RCH 1 - APRIL 7 2009

BEAT BY BEAT: MUSIC THEATRECrazy for Theatre: TheScarborough Choral Society'sSearch for a Homeby Terry RobbinsTHE SCARBOROUGH CHORAL SOCIETY has been around for well overfifty years, with an unbroken run of annual shows stretching back totheir G&S days in 1955. They are the only Toronto musical theatregroup to limit their stage activity to a single production each year,but their annual Sounds of Christmas concert at Markham Theatre,first produced in 1986, has become so successful that the society nowessentially runs two separate activities.In recognition of this, the stage musical section was given thename Onstage Productions two years ago. Ron Turner, who wasPresident of the Society from 2002 to 2006, explains that the newname is intended simply to emphasize that the group presents fullystaged show productions, and not just concert versions as the name"Choral Society" apparently suggested. Members, he says, becametired of being asked such questions as "Are you going to have anyscenery? "When Onstage Productions presents Crazy For You at BayviewGlen Upper School at the end of March, it will be their second yearat a venue they hope will be their home for at least the next littlewhile. The show, rather appropriately, centres on the problems oftheatre management, and the trials and tribulations of mounting ashow. But its storyline is tame compared to the recent theatricaladventures of the SCS , for whom Bayview Glen is the sixth showlocation in just ten years.It's truly been a "crazy" period for the SCS members. The songsfrom the show offer a whimsical guide to their search for a theatre -amply illustrating the problems that can befall community theatregroups, and the resourcefulness, resilience and commitment neededto overcome them .I Can't Be Bothered NowFor many years Scarborough Choral's regular base for their annualstage show was the cavernous auditorium at Cedarbrae C.I., which,complete with balcony, could hold about 1, 100 people. The hugestage was ideal for the large chorus, but the huge hall capacity madefor a short single-weekend run; opening on a Thursday, the show wasusually just getting settled in by the time it closed on Sunday. Thedeteriorating state of the facilities, however, together with increasingrental costs, finally convinced SCS to give up and leave aftertheir 1999 show , Me and My Girl.Bidin' My TimeSince then , SCS hasmounted shows in awide variety of venues .Bendale Acres (a Scarboroughretirementhome) , the LatvianCultural Centre,Stephen Leacock C. I.and the Armenian Youth Centre all played host to productions.They Can't Take That Away From MeDetermined to keep their fifty-three-year unbroken run of showsintact, SCS discovered Bayview Glen almost by accident. An SCSmember who lived nearby simply walked in off the street on a whimone day and asked - did they happen to have a theatre, did they everrent it out, and if they didn't would they be interested in discussing it?Well, yes they did, no they didn't, and yes they would. Brigadoonfound a home, and the rest, as they say, is history.So far, things are working out well. The stage is not huge , but overthe past few years many of the SCS members have decided to chooseeither the Sounds of Christmas or the annual show as their focus forthe year, with a good number of the older members in particularopting for the Christmas concert over the more time-consuming demandsof the stage production. This in turn has given the Society anew freedom to choose from a wider range of shows that do not featurea large chorus, and this should also help them to continue toattract the new performers that are essential to the long-term healthof a musical group.Nice Work If You Can Get ItThe other main community-theatre venues, meanwhile - ScarboroughVillage, Fairview Library , and Burnhamthorpe Auditorium - may notbe completely problem-free, buttheir users all enjoy a dedicatedtheatrical facility and an establishedand secure home base.And if they don 't appreciate justhow lucky they are then theyshould try giving Ron Turner acall.For the full version of this article, Opera Singers :Do you have a dream rolethat you want orneed to perform?It is easier than you think'More info: Ioperq by request0 1reclor VV1lham ShookhoffWWW. THEWHOLENOTE, COM

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