7 years ago

Volume 20 Issue 4 - December 2014

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half of the program whichfeatured Cable as composer,arranger and conductor.The program closed withhis Wychwood Suite whichwas written to showcase thesolo artistry of the choir’sconductor Michele Jacot.A new group: While it isn’ta band, Strings Attached is anew community ensemble.As the name might suggest,the group is a Toronto-based,The Encore Symphonic Concert Bandmember-run string orchestramade up of adult, amateurstring musicians. The orchestra was formed in the summer of 2014,when three violinists and a cellist got together with a plan to form agroup that would suit their needs. Specifically, they wished to playa diverse repertoire of music arranged or written for strings, with agroup of like-minded, dedicated amateur musicians. While, like otheramateur groups, a primary objective is the personal enjoyment ofmaking music, their goal is also to serve the community at large withperformances at nursing homes, hospitals and similar venues. Interestin the project grew quickly and Strings Attached now has over 25members and is growing.Conductor Ric Giorgi is a Toronto jazz bassist, pianist and singer,with a broad history of composing music for film and television, aswell as having conducted various local orchestras and ensemblesincluding the Scarborough and Toronto District School Board MusicCamps. Under his baton, Strings Attached meets every Monday fromSeptember to June in the Bathurst and Sheppard area.It is unusual to hear a new group state that some sections are full,but that is the case here. They say that their cello section is full andthe viola and bass sections are close to capacity. However, they arecurrently looking for more violins. Anyone with a background inplaying a string instrument, and an interest in playing with a friendly,encouraging group, is welcome to visit their website( or pay a visit to a rehearsal.Concerts coming: Last month I mentioned that the new TorontoConcert Band had begun rehearsals in west end Toronto in September.Now, only two months after their first rehearsal, they have justconfirmed the venue for their inaugural public performance. Ratherthan perform in a local location, they wanted to reinforce theirmandate of serving the entire City of Toronto, and have selected theCBC Glenn Gould Studio for their first appearance on the local musicscene. Under the direction of conductors Les Dobbin and Ken Hazlettthey will kick off their season on Saturday, January 31, at 8pm.See the listings section for concerts by The Encore SymphonicConcert Band (Dec 4, Jan 8, Feb 5), The Festival Wind Orchestra(Dec 14), The Pickering Community Concert Band (Dec 14) and theFlute Street Flute Choir (Jan 31).Concert missed: By the time this issue is off the press, the annual“Seasonal Celebration” of the Markham Concert Band on SundayNovember 30 will be history. Unfortunately the information on thatconcert wasn’t received in time. One work scheduled for that programwas a composition by Louie Madrid Calleja, who came to Canada fromthe Philippines and holds a master’s degree from York University. Theinformation received does not mention the title of the work. Perhapsit was his Soliloquy for Band Op. 40a which was well received at theCBA Community Band Weekend in October. Keep your ears open. Weshould be hearing more from this young composer in the future.Definition Department: This month’s lesser known musical termis maestro: A person who, standing in front of the orchestra and/orchorus, is able to follow them precisely.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 by Beat | Jazz NotesThe More ItChanges ...JIM GALLOWAYThis being the 15th or 16th December/January edition of these JazzNotes for The WholeNote, I thought that rather than essaying somethingcompletely new, I’d dip back through my little stack of backissues for things that, still being appropriate, I might appropriate.Take this, for one example:This month’s column is a departure from the familiar concert listingsof previous issues, reason being that the above mentioned departurewas mine - for a month-long trip to Europe! As a result thisarticle is coming to you from the waltz capital of the world, Vienna.First of all, for the record, the Danube is not blue, but an industrialbrown which would not inspire Johann were he to see it today.Also the Viennese waltz does not make up 3/4 of the music heard inVienna, even though it is in 3/4, and since being here I have not hearda single zither play the theme from The Third Man.Is there jazz in this stronghold of Strauss? – this fatherland ofFreud? – this Mecca of Mozart? – this city where you can have yourVienna Phil? Yes there is and quite a lot of it at that, although, asanywhere else it is music for a small minority – and a minority that isbroken into at least two camps. There are the obvious ones traditionaland modern, and it would seem that never – or very seldom – thetwain shall meet. (No, not you, Mark!)The stronghold for the traditional/swing/bebop audience – andI include bebop because in the overall picture of what is called jazztoday, bebop is pretty traditional sounding – is a club called Jazzland,located in the heart of the old city, underneath what was the wall ofthe old city. It is, of course, a cellar club, full of atmosphere, with theoriginal walls and vaulted ceiling still in place.The walls are lined with photos of jazz artists who have played theclub and it is quite a Who’s Who ranging from pioneers like TeddyWilson and Wild Bill Davison to the recently deceased Art Farmer.Artists appearing in November, for example, included Red Holloway,Trevor Richards, Conte Candoli, Melissa Walker and Hal Singer alongwith some of the leading local players. It is the oldest club in Viennacurrently in its 27th year as a jazz haunt and something like its 500thas a cellar. It was an escape route in times of siege but serves now asan escape for jazz fans who like to know where the bar is and prefertheir music to swing.Jazzland is run by a remarkable couple, Axel and Tillie Melhardt,assisted by a really friendly staff including Martin and Thomas, a pairof great bartenders. Alex and Tillie’s love of the music is genuine andthe long succession of visiting artists thinks the world of them. If youcan find better anywhere I’ll buy an oversized Tam O’Shanter and eatit. (It’s a hat Mabel). Incidentally Axel Melhardt comes by his love ofmusic honestly. His mother was an opera singer and his great-grandunclewas Antonín Dvořák!There are several other clubs where mostly local musicians arefeatured. They don’t have jazz six nights a week so you have to check,but you can make some nice discoveries in venues such as Papa’sTapas, Blues Man, Miles Smiles, tunel, and Vienna Unplugged. Worthnoting is Reigen Live, a club which featured one-nighters last weekby Archie Shepp, Les McCann, Jimmy Scott and Cubanismo. There isalso a club called Porgy And Bess operating once a week just now. Itpresents the more avant-garde end of the spectrum so don’t expectmuch Gershwin, despite the name.There are plans to build a new Porgy and Bess club heavily fundedby the city, as the planned new Birdland club, being built by JoeZawinul, will be. I heard a good singer called Barbara Pfluger whoappeared last month in a spot called Celeste. The local talent pool isgood. Some of the groups I am familiar with cover a wide range of34 | December 1 2014 - February 7, 2015

marvellously new, some precisely because it isn’t.Incidentally, I rang in that millennial new year at The MontrealBistro, Sherbourne and Adelaide… performing from the 28th to Jan 1,starting at 9pm each night. “The music will swing,” I wrote, “and sowill my kilt on New Year’s Eve.”So some things do change: the Montreal Bistro and the five-day gigboth seem a long time ago.Jazzland Revisited, April 2012: Axel and Tillie Melhardt with Jim Gallowaystyles. If you like it New Orleans style, there are The Red Hot Pods whohave played the Toronto festival a couple of times A little more towardsthe Chicago style, in spite of their name, you have The OriginalStoryville Jazz Band and advancing chronologically in terms of stylethere are groups like the Stanton Big Band, Together, Koolinger, andThe Vienna Art Orchestra. I can’t list everybody and I apologise ifI leave out names that deserve to be included, but two of the mostimpressive musicians I heard were drummer Walter Grossrubatscherand pianist/clarinettist Herbert Swoboda who can easily hold theirown in any company.Jazz in Vienna is not confined to clubs, although it is interesting, inview of some earlier comments in this column, to note that performancesin clubs are frequently referred to as “concerts.” The “real”concert hall scene is also quite active. Over the current four weekperiod the line-up is Dave Brubeck Quartet, Manhattan Transfer, TheRon Carter Quintet, and Joe Zwainul in a “Homage to Johann Strauss”if you can believe that one!So is there a jazz scene here? You can bet your ViennaWoods there is.It seems to me that more has stayed the same in Vienna jazz lifethan has changed since mid-November 1999, which is when I wrotethis little sketch – Axel Melhardt is still at the helm of a Jazzland,now in its 44th year. The Porgy and Bess and Birdland venturesI mentioned amounted to nothing; places announced in a blazeof glory only to fizzle are a part of the scene’s overall wonderfulconsistency. Audiences remain a consistent mix of grey and notyet grey, coming to actually listen to music, some of it because it isHere are another couple of excerpts to ponder (both from thefollowing year, the first December of the brave new millennium):Looking back over the past year I realize just how much good jazzis available in this city. On any given week in Toronto you can hear awide range of music. the performers are sometimes visiting “names”but the majority are our own artists – and the standards are high. theconcentration of good musicians in our own community is astonishing.The number of playing opportunities regrettably small, for itis an unfortunate fact that there is a lot less work for musicians thanthere used to be.… And this:The somewhat unusual contradiction in all of this is the problemthat we live in an age where there is not enough work for muscians,while at the same time there is too much music around us!It’s a personal opinion, but I hold it very firmly, and I know I’mnot alone. Music has been devalued or at least the contribution of thepeople who make the music. Because of its omnipresence – in elevators,in shops, in restaurants, in waiting rooms, in washrooms – incessantly– it is rammed down our throats, well our ears, to be moreaccurate, day and night, to the extent that it is simply noise in thebackground and of absolutely no aesthetic value. And silence becomesincreasingly golden.And so I come to the end of another column and another year,with a final quote from that December 2000 column.“Have an excellent holiday season, and if you need a resolution forthe new year, how about making a point of getting out to see more livemusic. Those of us who toil on stages and in clubs will be grateful.”Or in the words of what has become my standard Jazz Notes signoffover the years: Happy listening, and why not make some ofit live!Jim Galloway is a saxophonist, band leader and formerartistic director of Toronto Downtown Jazz. He canbe contacted at clubs, Mostly Jazz!WITH Ori Dagan. See page 63.St. Philip’s Anglican ChurchFeaturing some of Toronto’s best jazz musicianswith a brief reflection by Jazz Vespers Clergy●Sunday, December 14, 4:00 PM |Christmas Jazz VespersMark Eisenman QuartetSt. Philip’s Anglican ChurchSt. Philip’s Sunday, January Anglican 11, 4:00 Church PM | Jazz | Etobicoke Vespers25 St. Barbra Phillips Lica Road Trio●(near Royal York + Dixon)416-247-5181 • • free will offeringSunday, January 25, 4:00 PM | Jazz VespersHilario Duran TrioSunday, February 8, 4:00 PM | Jazz VespersJoy Lewis QuartetSt. Philip’s Anglican Church | Etobicoke25 St. Phillips Road (near Royal York + Dixon)416-247-5181 • • free will offeringDec. 7 at 4:30 pmChristmas Jazz“The Nutcracker Suite” by Ellington and StrayhornBRIAN BARLOW BIG BAND2015Jan. 11 at 4:30 pmBOB BROUGH QUARTET – Bob (saxophone)Artie Roth (bass), Adrean Farrugia (piano)Terry Clarke (drums)Jan. 25 at 4:30 pmRob Piltch and Lorne Lofsky (guitar duo)Feb. 8 at 4:30 pm - TRIBUTE TO EUBIE BLAKEGord Sheard (solo piano) Tribute talk by Brian BarlowChrist Church Deer Park, 1570 Yonge St. 416-920-5211(north of St. Clair at Heath St.) Admission is free; donations are December 1 2014 - February 7, 2015 | 35

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