3 years ago

Volume 23 Issue 7 - April 2018

  • Text
  • April
  • Toronto
  • Jazz
  • Musical
  • Symphony
  • Arts
  • Performing
  • Choir
  • Theatre
  • Orchestra
In this issue: we talk with jazz pianist Thompson Egbo-Egbo about growing up in Toronto, building a musical career, and being adaptive to change; pianist Eve Egoyan prepares for her upcoming Luminato project and for the next stage in her long-term collaborative relationship with Spanish-German composer Maria de Alvear; jazz violinist Aline Homzy, halfway through preparing for a concert featuring standout women bandleaders, talks about social equity in the world of improvised music; and the local choral community celebrates the life and work of choral conductor Elmer Iseler, 20 years after his passing.


RETROSPECTIVE NOTES IN THE NIGHT: The History of Toronto Jazz Clubs since 1946 KEN WAXMAN ALL PHOTOS: KEVIN KING They were as opulent and upfront as the Imperial Room at the Royal York Hotel, which frequently hosted internationally famous stars such as Ella Fitzgerald; or they were as grotty and out-of-the way as the Subway Room of the Spadina Hotel on King Street, where CODA magazine’s Bill Smith presented avantgarde improvisers in the early 1980s. Some like George’s Spaghetti House on Dundas Street E. operated for 38 years until 1994; others like Queen Street’s Matt Muldoon’s lasted barely a year in 1978, But what these clubs and about 75 other music spots did over the years was provide a place for Toronto’s jazz musicians to play, where fans knew they could go to see their favourite music. Notes in the Night: The History of Toronto Jazz Clubs Since 1946, on show at The Market Gallery until June 23, offers an audiovisual history of that phenomenon. To present a three-dimensional view of the scene, the exhibit includes more than 200 items on its walls, on standalone panels and in display cases. Not only are there rare photographs of the clubs and performers in their heydays, but also ephemera that take in club menus and table cards, match boxes, LP covers, tickets, advertisements and wall posters. Highlighting 19 major venues, one wall includes a poster of a kilt-wearing saxophonist Jim Galloway advertising an upcoming gig with pianist Doug Riley at the Montreal Bistro. In one display case is a vintage photo of Moe Koffman playing two saxophones at once during a performance at George’s; in another, pianist/singer Jay McShann leads Galloway’s Wee Big Band through its paces at the Montreal Bistro. A 1982 portrait shows drummer Art Blakey in front of Basin Street’s sparkling tinsel backdrop; and a 1960 photo from the House of Hambourg finds a band of young Toronto jazzers trying to impersonate New York junkies in a local version of the play The Connection. Another wall displays a 1969 Toronto Telegram photo shoot of the mock-picketing of the Savarin Tavern by local reed players demanding to be included in The Boss Brass. There’s also an evocative late-night photo of the Queen streetcar moving past the illuminated Town Tavern sign. Besides a continuous slideshow projecting 80 images otherwise not seen in the exhibition, are two audiovisual presentations: one monitor shows Toronto Jazz, Don Owen’s 1963 film classic, featuring performances by guitarist Lenny Breau’s trio and saxophonist Don (D.T.) Thompson’s quintet; another monitor captures musicians Don Vickery, Molly Johnson and Archie Alleyne discussing aspects of their careers on the local jazz scene. Toronto’s club explosion happened after 1946 when new Liquor Licensing Board of Ontario dining lounge rules allowed live music venues to sell liquor, explains Ralph Coram, guest curator for the Market Gallery show. “Pent-up demand after wartime austerity and later the building of the subway system facilitated the growth of burgeoning nightlife districts downtown.” All the clubs were in an area bordered by Bathurst and Sherbourne, Dupont to Front, often in rundown but historically important buildings. The majority of clubs allowed patrons and players of all backgrounds to mingle. So for almost every photo of well-dressed patrons drinking at tiny nightclub tables with a band in the background, there are shots of intense fans raptly gazing at the improvisation of among others, pianists Ray Bryant or Lennie Tristano. Most jazz clubs were set up and managed by hoteliers or restaurateurs who had an established operation that could be granted a liquor licence, notes Coram. “The pure music places tended to be the unlicensed after-hours clubs whose patrons 84 | April 2018

TS Toronto Symphony Orchestra Bernstein’s Candide Thu, Apr 26 at 8:00pm Sat, Apr 28 at 8:00pm Bramwell Tovey , conductor Tracy Dahl, soprano (Cunegonde) Judith Forst, mezzo-soprano (The Old Lady) Nicholas Phan, tenor (Candide) Richard Suart, baritone (Pangloss & other roles) Members of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir Bramwell Tovey leads a brilliant cast of vocalists, members of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, and the Orchestra in Bernstein’s enchanting operetta based on Voltaire’s satirical story about a guileless young man’s education in the ways of the world. SEASON PRESENTING SPONSOR TICKETS ARE LIMITED—BOOK NOW! 416.593.1285 TSO.CA

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