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Volume 19 Issue 2 - October 2013

  • Text
  • October
  • Toronto
  • Choir
  • Concerts
  • Jazz
  • November
  • Arts
  • Orchestra
  • Musical
  • Symphony

a party, not a dull

a party, not a dull tedious job left for the librarian. If you are a bandmember, do your members pitch in for that job?Legend: The term legend is grossly overworked in the world ofmusic. However, if there is anyone on the local musical scene thatdeserves such an epithet, it is certainly appropriate for Eddie Graf. Atthe age of 92, Eddie still loves to play his alto sax and clarinet andis still actively working as one of the most respected musicians andarrangers in his field. From his days as a band leader entertainingtroops in Europe during WWII, through his half century of CBCwork, Eddie has been a tireless player, composer, arranger and bandleader. By his side since her days as a dancer with Eddie’s Army Showband, his wife, lovely Bunnie has been part of the team. Now we havelearned that plans are in the works to produce a documentary for televisionon the life and music of Eddie Graf dating back to his days withthe Canadian Forces where he met Bunnie, also 92 years young.The fall musical season is certainly in full swing now. Last month wewere grasping for information on band activities. Not so now. We havebeen inundated. The Brampton Concert Band, under the direction ofmusic director, Vince Gassi, begin their season with “Lights, Camera,Action: The Music of Jerry Goldsmith and Friends,” with performancesby the Brampton Youth Concert Band and special guests, thePipes and Drums of the Lorne Scots. For those not familiar with thename Jerry Goldsmith, he’s the one responsible for the musical scoresfor such films as Star Trek, Papillon, Chinatown, King Solomon’sMines, Basic Instinct, Alien and Planet of the Apes among others.That’s Saturday, October 19 at 8pm.The Hannaford Street Silver Band launches their 30th anniversaryseason with “Strike Up the Band,” on Sunday afternoon, October 20.This will feature Gregson’s monumental piece Of Men and Mountainsand a new “cutting edge” commission by Vivian Fung.On Sunday, October 20 at 2pm, the Markham Concert Band, withconductor Doug Manning, will present “October Pops” at the FlatoMarkham Theatre. Get ready for marches, show tunes, jazz and lightclassical selections featuring special guest vocalist Sharon Smith.We were very pleased to hear from the Mississauga Pops ConcertBand, and hope to pay them a visit in the near future. Their firstconcert of the fall season will be their “Hallowe’en Concert” onOctober 26 at St. John’s Dixie Cemetery & Crematorium. With aninteresting twist, this concert will be geared towards families and willhave costume contests and games for kids before the show begins at7pm and again during intermission.We hadn’t heard from them for some time, but we’re pleased tohear that the Scarborough Society of Musicians has started up its fifthyear. The group rehearses alternate Saturdays from 11am to 1pm at Dr.Norman Bethune C.I., 200 Fundy Bay Blvd., Toronto. We haven’t heardof any concerts yet. For information, contact them last month’s column I mentioned attending a very special eventin support of trumpeter Carlo Vanini. Unfortunately, I have to reportthat Carlo Vanini passed away peacefully on the morning of August 30with his family at his side. Over the many years that I knew Carlo Ihad the pleasure of playing in many groups with him. Looking at themany photographs at the visitation, I learned one other connectionthat I had not been aware of: Carlo’s high school music teacher hadbeen my cousin. One event I remember fondly was when I was in theaudience for the year-end concert of his daughter’s high school band.His daughter performed as conductor for one special number, herteachers played in the band and Carlo was the trumpet soloist. He willbe missed.DEFINITION DEPARTMENTThis month’s lesser known musical term is bar line: what musiciansform after the concert.We invite submissions from readers. Let’s hear your daffynitions.Jack MacQuarrie plays several brass instruments andhas performed in many community ensembles. He canbe contacted at | October 1 – November 7, 2013

In concert halls this month there doesn’t seem to be much jazz,but one stand-out is October 19. Joe Sealy will be in concert withJackie Richardson, Arlene Duncan and Ranee Lee at Koerner Hall,with Joe leading an all-star band including Don Thompson (vibes),Reg Schwager (guitar), Kelly Jefferson (sax), Paul Novotny (bass) andMark McLean (drums), in an evening featuring songs associated withDinah Washington and Sarah Vaughan.Richardson, as noted by fellow columnist Ori Dagan, will justhave received the Ken Page Memorial Trust lifetime achievementaward two evenings earlier,on October 17, at the annualKPMT fundraising gala atthe Old Mill. As a long-timeorganizer of and participantin the event, modesty andjournalistic protocol preventme from describing it asyour best opportunity of theyear to enjoy a star-studdedevening of jazz that swings.(So the heck with modesty.)There’s an ad somewherein the issue if you want tosee the line-up. Included isclarinetist Ken Peplowski,perhaps the best you’ll hearanywhere these days.Beat by Beat | Jazz NotesWhat, a Clarinet?JIM GALLOWAYKen Peplowski.This got me to thinking about the rise and decline of that instrumentin jazz. After all, Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw and WoodyHerman were household names from the 30s into the 40s. There wereother great players too, who, although lesser known, made significantcontributions to the music — individualists such as Jimmie Noone,Ed Hall (the hottest clarinet player I ever heard) and Pee Wee Russell(the most eccentric clarinet player I ever knew), just a few of the greatplayers who didn’t get the same accolades as the big three. With thepassing of the big band era, the clarinet faded into relative obscurity;the arrival of bebop established the saxophone as the predominantreed instrument. There were a few exceptions, notably BuddyDeFranco, and in more recent years there has been something of asmall revival of interest in the clarinet, thanks to players like KennyDavern, Bob Wilber and of course Ken Peplowski. Come and hear why.Shaw – Man and Superman: But back to Artie Shaw, without doubtone of the greatest clarinet players ever. In August of 1998 he gavean address to the International Association of Jazz Record Collectors.Here are some of his comments (edited down or this piece would beseveral thousand words long) still relevant today:“Some of the stuff that goes on under the word ‘jazz’ has become toobroad. It’s very much like what’s happened to modern painting. Onceyou open up the medium to a totally disorganized kind of work thatyou see in paintings, a lot of modern paintings, you’re opening thedoor for all kinds of charlatans; the same thing has happened to themusic business ...”“Usually it would be a very good idea with a complicated piece toplay it more than once. Let the audience get used to it ... We don’t giveenough time to it. When we listen to a piece of music it can be prettybewildering the first time, especially if it’s complicated and written bysomeone who knows what they’re doing ... You hear it for the first timeand it goes by in a total flash and you don’t know what it’s about ... Thesame thing applies to modern jazz. The best players are doing thingsthat require an enormous amount of attention. Somebody askedme, ‘What would you tell an audience ... if you had the right to influencethis business, what would yousay?’ I would say two words: ‘Pay attention.’We don’t pay attention, we just letthings go by.”Shaw also spoke about the differencebetween the performance and the perceptionand the vast difference betweenthem: “The performer is trying to dosomething out of the depths of his ownawareness, his own experience and his own ability. And if he happensto be very gifted, very able, he’s going to do things that you can’tpossibly forget. He’s going to come up with things that might surprisethe hell out of him! So you can imagine what that does to you. You’renot him. You don’t know where he wants to go. He doesn’t sometimes.If he’s a fine jazz player, he jumps off a cliff and looks for a handholdand getting that handhold can change the entire course of what he’sdoing and sometimes he comes up with stuff that he himself wouldnever have thought of. Basically, it’s taking chances. You take risks.”And a favourite of mine — he told about an occasion when somebodyasked him to listen to a band, possibly either Glenn Miller orJimmy Dorsey. He didn’t seem to be enthusiastic and was asked if hedidn’t like it, to which he replied, “Yeah, they’re okay, but they nevermake a mistake!” going on to explain that if you never make mistakesyou are playing it safe and that’s not what jazz is about — jazz is aboutbeing on thin ice and sometimes you break through — and what youdo as a result becomes the essence of your performance. He then wenton to say it was his strong belief that as far as a performance of jazz isconcerned it’s not how many notes one can play in a bar, that sometimesmore is worse, more is less. Less sometimes is more.This in turn reminds me of a Benny Goodman story: when in themiddle of a performance he turned to the piano player and said, “Playless, play less.” So the pianist did as he was told and Goodman turnedto him and complained, “Play more.” Whereupon the pianist said,“But you just told me to play less!” “Yes,” said Benny, “Play less, butplay more!”There’s a mountain of music in the magazine’s club listings startingon page 51. So make some of your listening live! It’s where the musictruly lives.Artie Shaw.Jim Galloway is a saxophonist, band leader andformer artistic director of Toronto Downtown Jazz.He can be contacted at GIESKESt. Philip’s Anglican ChurchOctober 20 at 4:30 pmMARK EISENMAN QUINTET:Mark (piano), John MacLeod (cornet),Kelly Jefferson (saxophone), SteveWallace (bass), John Sumner (drums)October 6 – there will be no Jazz VespersNovember 3 at 4:30 pmJoe Sealy (piano) &Paul Novotny (bass)● Sunday, October 6, 4pm | Jazz VespersGeorge Koller Quartet● Sunday, October 20, 4pm | Jazz VespersBarry Livingston Quartet● Sunday, November 3, 4pm | Jazz VespersChris Gale QuartetSt. Philip’s Anglican Church | Etobicoke25 St. Phillips Road (near Royal York + Dixon)416-247-5181 • October 1 – November 7, 2013 | 31

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