6 years ago

Volume 19 Issue 4 - December 2013

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  • December
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and Reg Schwager, Diana

and Reg Schwager, Diana Panton will perform Christmas material onDecember 12 and 13 at Brampton’s Rose Theatre, and on January 25the three are at the Paintbox Bistro as part of an exciting series bookedby the Jazz Performance and Education Centre, JPEC. As part of thesame series, piano master Randy Weston will appear at the Paintboxon Friday, January 11; tickets for the series can be purchased at paintboxbistro.comIf you’ve never been to Hugh’s Room, there are some great reasonsto check it out in the coming months. On Friday and Saturday,December 6 and 7, singing guitarist Leon Redbone makes a rareappearance. As reclusive as he is spellbinding, the enigmatic performerhas amassed a sizable following thanks to his signature style; checkout his YouTube channel for a taste of his tasteful talents. Meshing oldschooljazz, folk, blues and ragtime withself-effacing comedy, the singular troubadourwill be accompanied by pianistPaul Asaro and bluesman Colin Linden.Speaking of troubadours, Toronto’svery own Rik Emmett will also beperforming at Hugh’s Room, on FridayDecember 20, with Dave Dunlop onLeon Redbone.Gene Bertoncini.Rik Emmett.guitar. One of the founding members offamed 1970s/80s Canadian power rockoutfit Triumph, Emmett struck out onhis own as a singer-songwriter 25 yearsago and has never stopped rocking. I hadthe pleasure of studying songwritingwith Emmett at Humber College, wherehe performed new songs for the classweek after week; his gift for melody,enchanting voice and performancestyle make this performer one Torontoshould treasure.The music of Chet Baker appears tobe inspiring plenty of singers thesedays, including Shannon Butcher, whohas just released an EP of seven songsmade famous by the icon. Butcher hasalways been fascinated by Baker’s “Darkand aloof personal life, burdened byaddictions, contrasted by his evocativeperformances that deeply connected himto his audience.” The resulting ButcherSings Baker ranges from the melancholic“Almost Blue” to the effervescent “Happy Little Sunbeam,” andfeatures Rebecca Hennessy on trumpet, a lovely choice for this project.The album can be found on iTunes or in hard copy, autographed livein person. Butcher performs at the Dovercourt House for the SaturdayNight Swing Dance on December 21, and in duo with bassist RossMacIntyre at Musideum on January 30.Guitarists and lovers of jazz guitar should take note of an excitingfew days at Chalkers Pub with Gene Bertoncini. Born and raised inNew York City, the 76-year-old master guitarist has been playing thismusic for nearly seven decades, fusing together jazz, classical, popand bossa nova styles on both acoustic and electric guitar. He hasworked with Benny Goodman, Tony Bennett, Lena Horne, Buddy Rich,Wayne Shorter and Michel LeGrand, to name a few. On January 25 atChalkers Pub, Bertoncini will appear in duo format with Dave Young;the following afternoon, January 26, he will be teaching a guitar clinic,and performing solo that evening. Anyone interested in hearing theguitar sing should not miss it!Thank you all for reading and for your continued support ofthis vibrant scene, made all the more bright by your attendanceand applause. Wishing you all a wonderful holiday and plenty oflive music in 2014! (Our jam-packed In the Clubs listings start onpage 61.)Ori Dagan is a Toronto-based jazz vocalist,voice actor and entertainment journalist. He canbe contacted at by Beat | Jazz NotesAin’t NoSanity ClauseJIM GALLOWAYI’m writing this in November and already I’m getting tired ofChristmas songs being pumped out at me in shops and restaurants.It can be said however that despite all the blatant commercialismthe season does promote a spirit of goodwill, at least for a dayor two. And that’s more than can be said for the origins of the celebrationwhich are to be found in Roman bacchanalia steeped in drunkenrevelry and, unfortunately, racism, the dates of which were borrowedby the Roman Catholic Church and sanitized more than just a little.If you want clarification on this subject I invite you to check out theorigins of Christmas.In the spirit of the season I offer this abridged version of a parody on“The Night Before Christmas”:’Twas the month before Christmas, and all through the store,Each department was dripping with Yuletide decor.The Muzak was blaring an out-of-tune carol,And the fake snow was falling on “Ladies’ Apparel.”It was all too much for my soul to condone,And I let out a most unprofessional moan.The crowd turned around, and I’ll say for their sake,That they knew in an instant I wasn’t a fake.“I’ve had it,” I told them, “with fast-buck promoting,With gimmicks and come-ons and businessmen gloating.This garish display of commercialized greed,Is so very UN-Christmas, it makes my heart bleed!And that’s my rant for today.Elementary – what’s on: Starting with the concert halls there is infact quite a lot of activity over the next couple of months. The listingssection of the magazine has a complete rundown but I have singledout a few events giving an overview of the forthcoming events.Regarded by many as the best big band in the business, Jazz AtLincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, will offer a programcalled “Big Band Holidays” at Massey Hall on December 9. Formed in1987 they have since taken their music around the world garneringenthusiastic devotees wherever they play. I’m pretty certain that one ofthe numbers they will play will be their version of “Oh Tannenbaum”and if you go on their website you’ll find the entire version, not just aclip. Worth checking out.If you’re looking for something a little more contemporary andvigorous, December 14 at the Winter Garden Theatre will find TheBad Plus belting out their very personal brand of music. Drummer inthe group, Dave King, has this to say, “This band contains some of themost punk energy I’ve ever seen or felt as a musician ...”On the other hand If you’re looking for some nostalgia you’ll findit on December 19 at Roy Thomson Hall when the Preservation HallJazz Band presents “Creole Christmas.” The group was formed in1961 — before some of the current members were born and while theband is no longer the original genuine article the evening will bringback memories of days and music gone by.Not quite downtown but it’s worth the drive on December 5 tothe Flato Markham Theatre where The Manhattan Transfer “SwingsChristmas.” The group has been performing since 1974 although ithardly seems that long since I first became aware of them. They wentfrom strength to strength and in 1981 won their first Grammy fortheir recording of “Until I Met You,” also known as the jazz standard“Corner Pocket,” composed by Freddie Green, longtime guitarist withCount Basie. Their Markham appearance comes hot on the heels of anextensive European tour and if you like vocal jazz, and in particular22 | December 1, 2013 – February 7, 2014

Brian Barlow.four-part harmony, Markham Theatre will be your destination.Two nights later on December 7 John Pizzarelli and DanielaNardi, vocals, will be “Celebrating Frank Sinatra and Paolo Conte”atKoerner Hall; and at the same venue on December 14, Regina Carterand Nnenna Freelon will present an evening of Jazz, funk, Motown,African and soul music.So you can see that if you choose to, the festive concert season couldput quite a strain on your wallet, but heh, better for your soul than anew smartphone.At your service: I have commented on the number of jazz vesperswhich have become part of the fabric that makes up the musicalcoat of many colours to be found in our city. They first saw the lightof day, or rather evening, 14 years ago atChrist Church Deer Park. At that time theminister was Tim Elliott and the musicianwho convinced him that jazz vesperswas a fitting addition to the musical lifeJohn Tank.of a church was Toronto musician BrianBarlow. Over the years there have been fiveministers at Christ Church Deer Park, but Brian is still in charge of thejazz policy. Other churches have followed suit and something that 20years ago would have been unheard of, literally, and still consideredby a narrow-minded few to be the devil’s music, is now an acceptedway of expressing joy and communicating with people through groupimprovisation.Brian’s programming over the next couple of months includesChristmas Vespers with “Barlow Brass and Drums” on December 15and on January 12, Jazz Vespers “Tribute to Louis Armstrong” withChase Sanborn, trumpet, and a tribute talk by Barlow. Then onJanuary 26, Jazz Vespers will feature the Russ Little Quintet with RussLittle, trombone, Michael Stuart, saxophone, Brian Barlow, drums,Tom Szczesniak, piano, and Scott Alexander, bass. 4:30pm is the starttime and attendance is free, donations welcome.Time for a little religious humour? Try this one. A rabbi, a priest anda minister walk into a bar. The bartender looks up and says, “What isthis, a joke?”Clubbing around: In addition to the concert schedule there is theusual club scene which is well documented in the listings section,but I would like to make mention of some of the bookings at the JazzBistro on Victoria Street which is going some way to picking up theslack which has existed since we lost the Montreal Bistro and Topo’ The Senator. The Jazz Bistro is in fact at the same address as theTop o’ The Senator but there the resemblance ends. It is an elegantroom with decent sight lines, reasonably priced food and a reallyfine piano. There is also an interesting booking policy thanks tothe creative efforts of Sybil Walker who brings years of experiencecoupled with a keen knowledge of the music. Some of the artistswho will be appearing over the next few weeks include a quinteton December 6 and 7 led by drummer Mark McLean featuring KellyJefferson, saxophone, Robi Botos, piano, Ted Quinlan, guitar, and MarcRogers, bass. On December 19 to 21 Duncan Hopkins will share thebandstand with Mike Murley and Rob Piltch while the New Year getsoff to a swinging start with Bernie Senensky on January 2 to 4, NeilSwainson and Don Thompson, January 9 to 11 and Dave Young, whowill be there with his Tribute to Horace Silver Band for three nights,January 16 to 18. With Dave will be Kevin Turcotte, Perry WhIte, GaryWilliamson and Terry Clarke. A week later, January 23 to 25, BernieSenensky will take the bandstand with sax player Grant Stewart, hisbrother Phil Stewart on drums and Neil Swainson, bass. A strongline-up of home grown talent and if you haven’t yet visited thisrelatively new space then I would strongly recommend that you put iton your things-to-do, places-to-see list.Meanwhile over at the Rex, one of the highlights has to be theappearance of John Tank on December 3. With him will be BernieSenensky on B3 Hammond organ and Ted Warren, drums. Kitchenerborn,John Tank moved to Toronto in 1970 but has made New York hishome base since 1974, He has built a strong presence both there andinternationally and this is a rare Toronto appearance.All in all if you are a jazz fan “Yule” be able to have a good time.Just a closing reference to the Christmas commercialmadness —I leave you with this thought:As Chico Marx said in A Night At The Opera, “There ain’t noSanity Clause!”I wish you merry listening and a jazzy new year.Jim Galloway is a saxophonist, band leader and former artisticdirector of Toronto Downtown Jazz.He can be contacted at• St. Philip’s Anglican ChurchA ● casual, Sunday, relaxing December hour of 1, prayer 4pm + great musicPeter with Togni the city’s Trio finest with special musicians guestMike Murley● Sunday, December 15, 4pm | ChristmasDiana Panton, Reg Schwager,Don Thompson● Sunday, January 12, 4pmJoe Sealy, Paul Novotny, Barbra Lica● Sunday, January 26, 4pmRobi Botos Quartet● Sunday, February 9, 4pmJoy Lapps Lewis Quartet withLarnell Lewis• St. Philip’s Anglican Church | Etobicoke25 St. Phillips Road (near Royal York + Dixon)416-247-5181 • December 1, 2013 – February 7, 2014 | 23

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