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Volume 15 Issue 6 - March 2010

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  • Toronto
  • April
  • Jazz
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JIM GALLOWAYThis is an

JIM GALLOWAYThis is an article of mostly personal recollections, thoughts ofsome friends no longer with us. But it’s not a column of obituaries.You can read them elsewhere. It’s just that the events ofthe past month have stirred up memories.For example, I remember nights with Vic Dickenson when wewould end up in his room after the gig. His favourite tipple was ascotch called Cutty Sark – not mine, but it took on a certain qualitywhen sharing it with Vic who was for me the finest, most subtle andhumorous of all the trombone players.I learned so much from this gentle man. On the bandstand it wasa music lesson just to stand beside him and listen, and after hours Imarvelled at his knowledge of songs. “Do you know this one?” hewould say and sing the verse and chorus to some lesser-known tune.He knew the lyrics to all of them and taught me that to interpret aballad you should at least know what the lyric was saying. Only thencould you really interpret the melody and “tell your story.” (There’sa wonderful anecdote about the tenor sax player Ben Webster, oneof the greatest ballad players in all of jazz, who was unhappy with achorus. When asked what was wrong, he said, “I forgot the words.”)In these after-hours intimate times with Vic, if we emptied a bottleit was his habit to take the freshly opened replacement and pourthe first few drops on the floor, saying, “For departed friends.” Well,in the past month alone I could have poured a fair amount of thegolden liquid on my floor for four more departed friends.John Norris, whose death was an enormous loss to the jazz world,was not a musician but was responsible for a huge legacy of writingsand the recordings he produced for Sackville Records of which hewas a founder/owner, making that label one of the most respected inthe business. He dedicated his life to jazz and earned the love andrespect of all the musicians whose life he touched. We travelled oftentogether – to Europe, Britain, Australia and the United States – andbecame good friends over the 40-plus years that we knew each other.Saxophonist/composer John Dankworth was not a close friendin the way that John Norris was, but we did share some enjoyabletimes together. One of my early recollections as a young bandleaderin Glasgow was sharing the bandstand with my own group and theJohnny Dankworth Orchestra. The venue was Green’s Playhouse, ahuge ballroom on Renfield Street with a sprung dance floor. To givesome idea of its size, the hall was directly above the biggest cinemain Europe with seating for 4,368 patrons!Over the years we saw each other on his visits to Toronto. Mostrecently, last May at the Norwich Jazz Party, I enjoyed some timewith Johnny – now Sir John – who regaled us with stories at the dinnertable and was still filled with love and enthusiasm for life andplaying. On February 6 John died at age 82, having been ill sinceOctober. His last performance was at the Royal Festival Hall in Londonlast December when, a trouper to the end, he played his saxophonefrom a wheelchair.The passing of Jake Hanna at age 78 in Los Angeles on February13 of complications from a blood disease was another tremendousloss. He was one of the great drummers, equally at home insmall groups and big bands, and one of the unforgettable charactersin jazz. If Jake was behind the drums, one thing was sure – the bandwould swing. He began his professional career in Boston and by thelate 50s was playing withMarion McPartland andToshiko Akiyoshi, as wellas in the big bands of MaynardFerguson and WoodyHerman.I bought my first car inToronto in 1964, a beat-upold NSU Prinz, and droveit to Burlington becauseDrummer Jake Hanna.Woody’s band was playingat the Brant Inn. There,for the first time I heardJake Hanna in person, making that great band swing mightily. At thetime, of course, I had no idea that we were to become close friendsand that he would one day make an album with my big band.After the stint with Woody Herman, Hanna was a regular on theMerv Griffin television show, and when the show moved to the WestCoast, Jake was one of a handful of players who made the move withGriffin. That job lasted until 1975, after which he played with a varietyof groups including Supersax and Count Basie, and occasionallyco-led a group with Carl Fontana. In addition, he was a fixture atfestivals and jazz parties.In a room full of musicians he was always a centre of attraction,telling stories from a seemingly endless collection of memories andcracking jokes with a dry humour that would have us all in stitches.He was the master of the one-liner on stage and off: “So manydrummers, so little time.” Not all of them were original, but somehowJake took ownership of them. If Jake liked you it was for life;if he didn’t it was also a pretty permanent arrangement. He wasstraight ahead in the way he played drums and straight as a die inthe way he lived life. It just won’t be the same without him.Earlier the same day I lost another good friend in cornet playerTom Saunders who died at age 71. Tom’s idol was Wild Bill Davison,a firebrand player and one of the great hot horn players. It wasthrough Wild Bill that I met Tom and it began a friendship that lastedmore than 40 years. Following in Bill’s footsteps he was recognizedas one of the finest cornetists in traditional jazz. Althoughinfluenced by Wild Bill, Tom had his own sound, played great lead,but could also take a ballad and make it a thing of beauty. Like JakeHanna he also had a dry wit, entertaining audiences between numberswith jokes and amusing reminiscences. In fact he could havehad a career as a stand-up comedian.Tommy lived life to the full and we enjoyed many hours together.He had his faults, but always played hard, partied a lot – sometimestoo much – and enjoyed life until it eventually caught up to him. Weall loved him and those of us who were close to him also knew thatunder a gruff exterior he was a sensitive and caring man.And what did Jake and Tom have in common? They were notonly great players, they were great entertainers, who were immenselyproud of their music, but never took themselves too seriously.They genuinely loved the music and always gave it their best shot.The world of jazz is diminished by the passing of these four greattalents and my personal world has become smaller.Jim Galloway is a saxophonist, band leader and theformer artistic director of Toronto Downtown Jazz. Hecan be contacted at: jazz@thewholenote.com.26 WWW.THEWHOLENOTE.COMMarch 1 - April 7, 2010

My Olympic moment ...DAVID PERLMANLet me explain. Sunday, Colin Eatock my editor said “What’s thetitle of your piece for this month?” (The table of contents had togo to the printer early, you see.) So I told him.And now here I am, two days later, hoist with my own petard,wondering what the hell I was thinking of.Maybe I was planning to write about the fact that up until theyear of my birth, 1952, the Olympics offered medals for muchmore than sport. Canadian composer John Weinzweig, in fact,won a silver medal for composing at the 1948 London Games. Ikid you not. But Martin Knelman at the Toronto Star scooped meon the Weinzweig story, almost two weeks ago. (He makes a habitof this sort of thing. Just ask the folks at the COC.)It would have been a good story too. I would have started bymusing on the irony that artists got booted from the Olympics in‘52 because, the IOC said, the good ones were all professional,and therefore in violation of the Games’ principles of amateurism.And I would have finished by muttering darkly at how inVancouver 2010 we couldn’t think of anyone better to light thetorch symbolizing all that is good in amateur sport than an individualwhose own career epitomizes the extent to which in NorthAmerica professional, mercenary sport reigns supreme.Or maybe I was thinking that I could find something interestingto say about the relationship between music and sport. And thereprobably is something worth exploring in that. “Compare andcontrast the relationship of music and the Olympics to the relationshipsbetween a) music and supermarket shopping, b) musicand winning lottery tickets, c) music and cellphones, d) music andacademy award acceptance speeches … .”Maybe I was just going to say something about wishing for thegood old days of the CBC. Or wonder out loud why a song called“Both Sides Now” has three verses. Or why anyone would comeup with an arrangement of “O Canada” for an occasion like thisthat would prevent the crowd from singing along.Maybe I was intending to write about Measha Brueggergosman’sstirring rendition of the Olympic anthem. But I must confessthat I swooned so deeply when k.d. lang began singing LeonardCohen’s Hallelujah that I did not resurface until the flags wereflying, so I’d be lying if I said I was really there for that moment.Or maybe I thought there was something profound to be saidabout the role of music in figure skating. After all, figure skatingis dancing on ice, right? And dancers … . Well, never mind.I have my athletic trophy somewhere (unless my mother finallythrew it away). It was the cup I won in grade one in the NorthcliffPrimary School sports day. First prize for … fanfare if youplease … the under six musical chairs race. You know how itworks, right? Twenty people traipse in a circle round nineteenchairs till the music stops. Then everyone races for a seat. Theperson left standing gets eliminated, another chair gets takenaway, and so it continues until it’s just me and Philip Rogoff left,circling the one remaining chair. Waiting for the moment whenthe music stops, so we can go for gold.And now? I’m sitting round waiting for the “going for gold” tostop, so I can get back to the music.Guess I’ve got an an even worse than usual case of the Torontoend-of-February-tell-me-please-what-is-my-destiny blues.And only music can cure that.ALDEBURGH CONNECTION 34ALEXANDER KATS 50ALL SAINTS ANGLICAN CHURCH,KING CITY 37ALL SAINTS KINGSWAY ANGLICAN42AMADEUS CHOIR 15, 30AMOROSO 51ANALEKTA 61ARADIA ENSEMBLE 36ARRAYMUSIC 29, 51ART OF TIME 35ASSOCIATES OF THE TSO 40ATMA 5BIRTHDAY SERIES 33BLOOR CINEMA 55BREMNER DUTHIE 50BRYSON WINCHESTER 51CANADIAN CHILDREN’S OPERACOMPANY 49CANADIAN CHOPIN FESTIVAL 20CANADIAN FLUTE ASSOCIATION 38CANADIAN OPERA COMPANY 62CANADIAN SINFONIETTA 31CANCLONE SERVICES 53CANTEMUS 15CATHEDRAL BLUFFS SYMPHONYORCHESTRA 33CHRIST CHURCH DEER PARK JAZZVESPERS 26CHURCH OF ST SIMON THE APOSTLE44CHURCH OF ST. MARY MAGDALENE40CLASSICAL 96.3FM 63COSMO MUSIC 25COUNTERPOINT COMMUNITYORCHESTRA 30DENISE WILLIAMS 50ELMER ISELER SINGERS 7EMILE BELCOURT 50ESPRIT ORCHESTRA 11GEORGE HEINL 20GRAND PHILHARMONIC CHOIR 45HANNAFORD STREET SILVER BAND25HARKNETT MUSICAL SERVICES 24HELICONIAN HALL 52I FURIOSI 36JAZZ PERFORMANCE ANDEDUCATION CENTRE 38JUBILATE SINGERS 39KENNETH G MILLS FOUNDATION 31KINDRED SPIRITS ORCHESTRA43, 50KING EDWARD CHOIR 46KITCHENER WATERLOO CHAMBERORCHESTRA 44LAKEFIELD MUSIC CAMP 50LE COMMENSAL 51LIZ PARKER 50LIZPR 53LOCKWOOD ARS 51LONG & MCQUADE 24advertisers indexMETROPOLITAN UNITED CHURCH35, 42MISSISSAUGA CHORAL SOCIETY 43MISSISSAUGA SYMPHONY 38MOOREDALE CONCERTS 31MUSIC AT GLENVIEW 32MUSIC AT PORT MILFORD 50MUSIC GALLERY 22MUSIC TORONTO 9, 12, 28, 33,34, 36NEW MUSIC CONCERTS 21NEXUS 7NINE SPARROWS 42NORM PULKER 51NORTH YORK CONCERTORCHESTRA 20NOTA BENE 14OPERA IN CONCERT 39PASQUALE BROS. 52PATTIE KELLY 50PETER MAHON 15PHILHARMONIC MUSIC LTD. 51REMENYI HOUSE OF MUSIC 23ROY THOMSON HALL 4ROYAL CONSERVATORY 14,19, 49SALVATION ARMY ANDELMER ISELER SINGERS 43SCARBOROUGH PHILHARMONIC 40SHOW ONE PRODUCTIONS 12SINFONIA TORONTO 18SING FOR HAITI 7SOUND POST (THE) 20SOUNDSTREAMS 16ST. ANNE’S ANGLICAN CHURCH 37ST. CLEMENT’S ANGLICANCHURCH 31ST. PHILIP’S ANGLICAN CHURCH 44STEVE’S MUSIC STORE 25STUDIO 92 51SUE CROWE CONNOLLY 50SYRINX CONCERTS 32, 43TAFELMUSIK 2, 3TALLIS CHOIR 30TAPESTRY NEW OPERA 37THE WHOLENOTE MAPCHALLENGE 46TIMOTHY EATON MEMORIALCHURCH 34TORONTO CHAMBER CHOIR 42TORONTO CHILDREN’S CHORUS 29TORONTO CONSORT 29TORONTO HARP SOCIETY 33TORONTO MENDELSSOHN CHOIR 41TORONTO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA64U OF T FACULTY OF MUSIC 13UNIVERSITY SETTLEMENT HOUSE 16URBAN FLUTE 41VICTORIA SCHOLARS 32WISH OPERA 37WNED BUFFALO 62YAMAHA MUSIC SCHOOL 50YORKMINSTER PARK BAPTISTCHURCH 39March 1 - April 7, 2010 WWW.THEWHOLENOTE.COM 27

Volume 26 (2020- )

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