7 years ago

Volume 17 Issue 8 - May 2012

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World PremiereContes

World PremiereContes pour enfantspas sages8 cautionary entertainmentsby Christopher ButterfieldMay 27 & 29, 8 pm918 BathurstAnne Grimm, sopranoBenjamin Butterfield, tenorContinuum’s ensembleChoir 21 and David Fallis, conductorMise-en-scène by Laurence LemieuxImages by Sandra Meigs adults students/seniors/arts 416 924 4945oldest operating jazz club. ItThe Natchez River one of the last venues onBourbon as you head towardthe Marigny and featurestraditional jazz. They welcomesit-ins which can be amixed blessing — it certainlywas the night I was therewhen a tenor player whocouldn’t play his way outof a paper bag joined theresident musicians. But afun place, nevertheless. At one time the wall opposite the bar wasadorned with a large portrait of Field Marshal Rommel. The pictureis still in the club, but has been moved round a corner away fromopen view, probably to avoid giving offence, although my understandingis that he was respected both by his troops and the allies.Preservation Hall at 726 St. Peter St. in New Orleans’ FrenchQuarter, is probably the most well known of all the jazz clubs in thecity. Here you can hear the traditional acoustic New Orleans jazz.Some other hot spots include Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse(in the Royal Sonesta Hotel on Bourbon Street), Snug Harbor andVaughan’s.I caught upwith a couple offriends during thevisit. Jon Clearyfirst playedToronto when Ibooked him intoCafé des Copainsand more recentlyat the jazz festivalwhen JohnScofield broughtJon to play organwith his group. I found him at a club called dba on Frenchman St. atthe down-river end of the French Quarter. I also enjoyed an eveningon the Natchez, the last authentic steamboat on the MississippiRiver, where the band, Dukes Of Dixieland, is led by trumpeterKevin Clark, who spent some years in Canada and will certainly beremembered by Toronto audiences.But before leaving The Crescent City I have to comment onthis year’s New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival taking placeat the end of April. Herbie Hancock, Mavis Staples, Al Greenand the Dirty Dozen are among the headliners — but so are BruceSpringsteen, the Beach Boys and Eagles! Oh, well.Next port of call was London which seems to be doing relativelywell in terms of “name “ players. Michel LeGrand, Pat Martino,Scott Hamilton, David Sanchez, Alan Broadbent, Al Di Meola,Howard Alden and Manhattan Transfer were among the musicianscoming into town over the following few weeks. Most of them werescheduled to appear at Ronnie Scott’s, which means a pretty expensivenight out. Nearby is the Pizza Express Jazz Club, plus two orthree dozen pubs and clubs scattered throughout the city, some onlypresenting jazz once a week.But talking to musicians, the general reaction when asked howthe work scene is was pretty negative, with fewer gigs available andpoorly paid at that. (It had been very much the same story in NewOrleans — fewer gigs and very often paid by passing a jar roundthe room.)Next, I waltzed over to Vienna. It is known as the City Of Musicbecause of its strong connections with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,Ludwig Van Beethoven, Franz Schubert, Johannes Brahms andGustav Mahler.Where does it stand today as a jazz city? There are some nameswhich most of the insiders will mention when asked, “Where is thejazz?” Jazzland and Porgy and Bess are the leading clubs in the city.I have a special place in my heart for Jazzland since I have beengoing there for 35 years and photos of musicians who have playedpANtagruel26 May 1 – June 7, 2012

ALEX DEMYANDAVE PATTENInside at Fritzel’s.there line the walls — everyone from John Lee Hooker to Art Farmer.The night I arrived Branford Marsalis was playing at Porgy and Bessand Lew Tabackin had been at Jazzland a couple of weeks before.There are also a number of smaller venues, Blue Tomato andMiles Smiles Jazz Cafe among them catering to the more avantgarde,Reigen featuring blues and Lustiger Radfahrer with blues tobebop. But again, talking to local players, the common thread inour conversations was lack of work. Like every place else, one ofthe major problems is with the mass media and their lack of interest— make that almost completedisregard — for jazz. Radiopretty well ignores it and thereis not a single newspaper witha weekly jazz column (does thatsound familiar?).Where they do much better thanwe do in Toronto is in the measureof support from government bodies.The following figures for Porgyand Bess are at least ten years oldbut make the point. They receivedalmost ,000 from the cultureoffice and more than 0,000from the state! That said, Porgygets a much larger piece of the pie than any other club and thatcertainly causes some resentment among other club owners who getlittle or nothing. But at least the music is acknowledged as havingcultural significance.So it would seem that “name” touring acts, which make up a tinyproportion of what is out there trying to make a living, have somesort of a circuit going for them, but the thousands “in the trenches”have a hard go of it. Sound familiar?Back to New Orleans where we began. While there, I tasted afreshwater fish called drum and very nice it was. But I use this onlyas an excuse to end with that most familiar topic, a jazz joke abouta drummer:A quartet out on the town in Amsterdam winds up in the heartof the Red Light District, where the working girls sit in windowsseductively displaying their wares.The drummer of the band approachesone of the windows and knocks on the glass.“How much?” he asks.“Fifty euros,” replies the girl.“Really?” says the drummer looking surprised, “that’s prettycheap for double glazing.”Happy listening right here at home.Jim Galloway is a saxophonist, band leader andformer artistic director of Toronto Downtown Jazz. Hecan be contacted at by Beat | BandstandGearing Upjack macquARRIEFor many bands, this part of spring is the time for almost beingable to shift gears. The fall and winter concert schedule is almostover, but not quite. As I write this, many have at least one moreconcert to perform. And although summer events are on the horizon,the music for them is not quite yet in the rehearsal folders.Of the spring events I’ve already attended, two stand out, both fortheir musical excellence and their emphasis on young performers.The first was a mid-week musical evening presented by the NavalReserve Band of HMCS York at the Naval Club of Toronto. TheNaval Club is small, with no stage or other performance platform.In other words, no place for a full size concert band. The solution:small ensembles and soloists took turns. For those audience membersless familiar with the tonal quality and capabilities of the variousinstruments it was educational as well as entertaining. The trombonequartet, in particular, evoked comments such as “so that’s howtrombones can sound.” Those who had prepared themselves for anevening of reasonably qualified amateur music were in for a surprise.As an example, the aforementioned trombone quartet consisted ofone undergrad, one bachelor’s degree in music, one master’s degreein music and one Ph.D. in music. The entire program was organizedby one of the young reserve band members, with their music director,Lieutenant Jack t’Mannetje, standing proudly in the background.On another matter, if my memory serves me correctly, this band ofHMCS York broke ground when they first enrolled a female membercirca 1967. The present balance? It’s 60% female.The second recent concert with young performers as a highlightwas the final concert of the Hannaford Street Silver Band’s annualFestival of Brass where the winner of the Hannaford Youth RisingStars Solo Competition wins the honour of performing with theprofessional band in the final Sunday concert.Jacob Plachta, a second year performance major in the Universityof Toronto’s Faculty of Music won the award for the second yearin a row, this time performing his own composition, Sonata forTrombone and Brass. In the preliminary rounds of this competition,the young musicians play with piano accompaniment. On the Fridayevening the three finalists then perform with full band accompaniment.Plachta composed both a challenging piano accompanimentfor the first round and a complete brass band score for the finals.Guest conductor for the final Hannaford Sunday afternoon• St. Philip’s Anglican ChurchA casual, relaxing hour of prayer + great musicwith the city’s finest musicians● Sunday, May 13, 4pmHilario Duran Trio● Sunday, May 27, 4pmWalter Ostanekthe Polka King● Sunday, June 10, 4pmJoe Sealy + Paul Novotny• St. Philip’s Anglican Church | Etobicoke25 St. Phillips Road (near Royal York + Dixon)416-247-5181 • www.stphilips.netMay 1 – June 7, 27

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