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Volume 16 Issue 10 - July/August 2011

  • Text
  • Jazz
  • August
  • Toronto
  • Festival
  • Festivals
  • Quartet
  • Concerts
  • Trio
  • Orchestra
  • Musical

is celebrating 12 years

is celebrating 12 years of free concerts in its lush urban-themedgarden setting. All this time it has been serving up a high levelof performances of classical and traditional music from aroundthe world. I’ve performed there several times. Despite the noisyproximity of the island airport, Front Street traffic and the Gardner,is there a better free, open-air-blanket-on-grass concert experiencedowntown? All that’s missing is the B&B: barbeque and beverages.This summer I look forward to the visit of several outstandinggroups to the Music Garden. Vancouver’s Juno-nominated OrchidEnsemble plays repertoire inspired by mountains and rivers onThursday, August 18, at 7pm. The Shiraz Ensemble on Sunday,August 21 at 4pm, makes an eloquent and elegant case for Persianclassical music, exploring the roots of melodic modes and rhythmsin its music and sophisticated poetry. Toronto’s own muscular taiko(Japanese drum) ensemble Nagata Shachu will undoubtedly raisesummer temperatures even higher with its appearance on Thursday,August 25, at 7pm.Elsewhere in Toronto, Megobrebi: World Vocal Ensemble singsat Music Mondays’ 12:15, July 4 concert at the Church of the HolyTrinity. On July 9, the controversial Iranian musician, singer-songwriterMoshen Namjoo and his group, perform Persian music fusedwith western styles at the George Weston Recital Hall, presentedby the Parya Trillium Foundation. Also at the Weston Recital Hall,Toronto lovers of Cantonese opera can get their all too rare fix onJuly 10 at 2pm, when the Starlight Cantonese Opera performs.There are other festivals this summer, both grand and intimate,with world music programmes. Intrepid musical explorers may wishto check offerings at the Mill-Race Folk Festival, CollingwoodMusic Festival, Elora Festival, Savannah Festival of Rhythms,Ottawa Chamberfest and others.I wish you pleasant musical trails and discoveries.Andrew Timar is a Toronto musician and music writer. Hecan be contacted at worldmusic@thewholenote.com.Canada’s Premier Celebration of World CulturesJuly 7 - 10, 2011Victoria Park, London, Ontario, CanadaMusic, Dance, Food & Crafts from Around the WorldFREE ADMISSION!More than 275 Unique ExhibitorsSmaller Is BestJIM GALLOWAYMore and more I am convinced that, with very few exceptions,the place to enjoy the jazz experience is in a small performancespace. There are the few exceptions — Dave Brubeck,Keith Jarrett, Sonny Rollins, to name three — who can fill a largeconcert hall and play jazz. But when they are gone, what then?Forget the days of touring bands — the glory days of places likethe Colonial Tavern and The Town Tavern. I can remember whenI first arrived in Toronto I could shuttle between The Colonial andThe Town in the sure knowledge that whoever was appearing, themusic would be good — and sometimes unforgettable. In any case,that all but ended years ago, when rising costs made touring bandspretty well a thing of the pastand bringing in a guest artist toperform with a local group wasthe solution. At least for a while.Now we are left with fondmemories of clubs like BourbonStreet, The Montreal Bistro andThe Top Of The Senator.Festivals are committed,if they want to survive, topresenting less jazz and morewidely based music, much of itby groups often past their “bestbefore” date who have no morethan a passing reference to jazz.So, more and more it seems tome that friendly watering holesand relatively small concertvenues will be the future of jazz. The Colonial and The Town.THE NOT SO MERRY MONTH OF JUNESummer came in with a cold blast of bad news. We lost DaveMcMurdo, who had been ill for some time with Hodgkin’slymphoma, but it was a heart attack that eventually felled him atage 67. It is a sad loss to the jazz community. McMurdo, originallyfrom Vancouver, where he studied music at the University of BritishColumbia, was a dedicated man and took life very seriously as amusician and as a devoted teacher. He moved to Toronto in 1969,was for some years a member of Rob McConnell’s Boss Brass, andthe lead trombone player in Nimmons ‘N’ Nine Plus Six. The DaveMcMurdo Jazz Orchestra was formed in 1988, giving McMurdothe opportunity of having his own compositions and arrangementsperformed. He also invited contributions from such other prominentmusicians as Mike Malone, Reg Schwager, Don Thompson andPhil Nimmons.His death leaves a hole in the fabric of the Canadian jazz world.Red Chamber Ensemble (Canada)Hypnotic Brass Band (USA)Etran Finatawa (Niger)Over 35 Top Professional World Music & Jazz Ensembleson 5 Stages including“The WestJet Jazz” & “Le village québécois” stages& NEW this year … SUNTRONICA ’11“A Showcase of Electronic Music & Dance”info@sunfest.on.ca 519-672-1522 www.sunfest.on.ca24 thewholenote.comJuly 1–September 7, 2011

TRACEY NOLANI shall miss hissartorial eleganceand dry wit.We also lostone of my favouritepiano playersand a friend whenPhiladelphian RayBryant died onJune 2, at the ageof 79, after a longillness. Bryantwas part of a verymusical family.His motherplayed piano inthe local church,his brother,Tommy, was anaccomplishedbass player while Dave McMurdo, conducting, with Alex Dean.his younger brother, Len, is a singer/drummer. Not only that, hissister, Vera Eubanks, is the mother of three sons who have eachmade their mark in music — trombonist Robin, guitarist Kevin andtrumpeter Duane.After a few years with local bandleader Mickey Collins, Bryantjoined Tiny Grimes and His Rocking Highlanders, an African-American rhythm and blues group which sported the full kilt andtam o’shanter!His break came in the 50s when, as house pianist at Philadelphia’sBlue Note club, he had the opportunity to play with artists such asCharlie Parker, Lester Young, Sonny Rollins and Miles Davis. Fromthere on his career was soon established.Bryant had an extremely personal sound on piano, making himinstantly recognisable after only a few bars of music — a rare talent,but then Ray Bryant was just that — a rare talent.KATE WEICHThis next part of my column is about a well-loved member of thejazz community who was not a musician, but for a number ofyears was behind the bar of the Montreal Bistro. Kathleen Weichwas her name, but everybody knew her simply as Kate and I don’tknow anybody among the regulars at what was for a long time, ourfavourite watering hole in town, who didn’t like Kate.Kate was born in Victoria, British Columbia. She completed theVisual Arts Program, with Honours, at Grant McEwen College inEdmonton and did her BFA at York University in Toronto where shemade her home.She was efficient, hard working and ran a tight ship, but wasa warm and caring person with a dry sense of humour. But at thesame time, like so many workers in the restaurant business, Kate’sjob running the bar at the Bistro was a means to an end. I don’tmean that she didn’t enjoy her work at the Montreal Bistro, but herreal love was painting.She wanted to be able to support herself from her painting — andthat’s even tougher than being a jazz musician — but eventually shedid, becoming in the process a highly respected member of Canada’sart community. I’m happy to have one of Kate’s paintings hangingin my house. That painting which I see every day, is even moremeaningful now. Kate fell prey to cancer and passed away on June16. She will be missed.Speaking of her own work she said, “My aim is not to present afinalized view of a given subject. I hope to offer a place where youcan contemplate and bring your own visions.”And that is not so different from the goals which jazz musiciansset for themselves.Jim Galloway is a saxophonist, band leader andformer artistic director of Toronto Downtown Jazz. Hecan be contacted at jazznotes@thewholenote.com.PRESENTED BYSUPPORTED BY MAJOR LOCAL SPONSORSTHURSDAY, AUGUST 18Peter Appleyard: a salute to Benny GoodmanFRIDAY, AUGUST 19Ranee Lee & Guido BassoSATURDAY, AUGUST 20The Mike Murley SeptetSUNDAY, AUGUST 21The Brian Barlow Big Band:a tribute to the Count and the Duke8:00 pm, Regent Theatre in PictonTickets, /night613.476.8416 ext 28 or 1.877.411.4761Other great events at www.pecjazz.orgat St. Philip’s Anglican Church | EtobicokevespersA casual, relaxing hour of prayer andgreat music with the city’s finest musicians• Sunday, September 11, 4:00 pmMariachi | Mexico Amigo Band• Sunday, September 25, 4:00 pmKlezmer | the Yiddish Swingtet• Sunday, October 2, 4:00 pmJazz | Lara Solnicki Quartet withPat LaBarbera, Reg Schwager,+ Neil Swainson• Sunday, October 16, 4:00 pmJazz | Laura Fernandez Quartet• Sunday, October 30, 4:00 pmJazz | Kate Schutt• Sunday, November 13, 4:00 pmJazz | Jorge Lopez Trio• Sunday, November 27, 4:00 pmJazz | Mike Murley Quartet• Sunday, December 11, 4:00 pmJazz | Graham Howes QuartetSt. Philip’s Anglican Church | Etobicoke25 St. Phillips Road (near Royal York & Dixon)416-247-5181 • www.stphilips.netJuly 1–September 7, 2011 thewholenote.com 25

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