2 years ago

Volume 24 Issue 4 - December 2018 / January 2019

  • Text
  • Toronto
  • December
  • January
  • Jazz
  • Symphony
  • Arts
  • Theatre
  • Faculty
  • Musical
  • Performing
When is a trumpet like a motorcycle in a dressage event? How many Brunhilde's does it take to change an Elektra? Just two of the many questions you've been dying to ask, to which you will find answers in a 24th annual combined December/January issue – in which our 11 beat columnists sift through what's on offer in the upcoming holiday month, and what they're already circling in their calendars for 2019. Oh, and features too: a klezmer violinist breathing new life into a very old film; two New Music festivals in January, 200 metres apart; a Music & Health story on the restorative powers of a grassroots exercise in collective music-making; even a good reason to go to Winnipeg in the dead of winter. All this and more in Vol 24 No 4, now available in flipthrough format here.

Pirates of Penzance.

Pirates of Penzance. Music by Arthur Sullivan, libretto by W. S. Gilbert. St. Anne’s Parish Hall, 651 Dufferin St. 416-922-4415. ; (sr/st). Opens Jan 25, 7:30pm. Runs to Feb 3. Thurs/Fri(7:30pm), Sat/Sun(2pm). Also Jan 26(7:30pm). ●●Talk Is Free Theatre. Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Music and lyrics by Stephen Trask, book by John Cameron Mitchell. Five Points Theatre, 1 Dunlop St. W., Barrie. 705-792-1949. and up. Opens Nov 22, 7:30pm. Runs to Dec 1. Wed/ Thurs(7:30pm), Fri/Sat(8pm), Sat(2pm). ●●Theatre Ancaster. Chicago. Music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse. Ancaster High School, Theatre Auditorium, 374 Jerseyville Rd., Ancaster. 905-304-7469. ; (sr); (st). Opens Nov 16, 8pm. Runs to Dec 1. Fri/ Sat(8pm), Sun(2pm). ●●Theatre Aurora. The Drowsy Chaperone. Music and lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison, book by Bob Martin and Don McKellar. Theatre Aurora, 150 Henderson Dr, Aurora. 905-727-3669. ; (sr at box office); (st at box office). Opens Nov 29, 8pm. Runs to Dec 8. Thurs-Sat(8pm), Sun(2pm). ●●Theatre Aquarius. Elf the Musical. Music and lyrics by Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin, book by Thomas Meehan and Bob Martin. Theatre Aquarius, 190 King William St, Hamilton. 905-522-7529. and up. Opens Nov 28, 7:30pm. Runs to Dec 24. Tues-Sat(7:30pm), Sat/Sun(1pm). Note: also Dec 24, 1pm. ●●Theatre Passe Muraille/Tapestry Opera. Hook Up. Music by Chris Thornborrow, libretto by Julie Tepperman. Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace, 16 Ryerson Ave. 416-504- 7529. ; (sr); (st). Opens Jan 29, 7:30pm. Runs to Feb 9. Tues-Sat(7:30pm), Sun(2pm). Also Feb 9(2pm). ●●Theatre Sheridan. The Phantom of the Opera. Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Charles Hart and Richard Stilgoe, book by Lloyd Webber and Stilgoe. Macdonald-Heaslip Hall, 1430 Trafalgar Rd, Oakville. 905-815-4049. . Opens Nov 27, 7:30pm. Runs to Dec 13. Days and times vary. Visit for details. ●●Theatre Sheridan. The Threepenny Opera. Music by Kurt Weill, lyrics and book by Bertolt Brecht, English adaptation by Marc Blitzstein. C. Music Theatre Studio Theatre, 1430 Trafalgar Rd, Oakville. 905-815-4049. . Opens Nov 29, 7:30pm. Runs to Dec 9. Tues-Sat(7:30pm), Sat/ Sun(2pm). Note: no mat Dec 2. ●●Toronto Operetta Theatre. Die Fledermaus. Music by Johann Strauss. St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts, 27 Front St. E. 416-366-7723 or 1-800-708-6754. . Opens Dec 28, 8pm. Runs to Jan 2. Days and times vary, visit ●●Torrent Productions. Cinderella: A Merry Magical Pantomime. Royal Canadian Legion #001, 243 Coxwell Ave. 1-800-838-3006. ; (ch). Opens Dec 21, 7pm. Runs to Dec 30. Mon/Wed/Thurs/Sat/Sun(2pm), Thurs-Sat(7pm). ●●Tweed and Company Theatre. A Tweed and Company Christmas. St. John’s United Church, 26 Spring St. E., Tweed. . Dec 15, 7pm. ●●University of Toronto Faculty of Music. New Music Festival: Opera Double Bill - The Raven / The Maiden from the Sea (Futari Shizuka). Music by Toshio Hosokawa. Walter Hall, Edward Johnson Building, University of Toronto, 80 Queen’s Park. 416-408-0208. ; (sr); (st); free(UofT st). Jan 17, 7:30pm. ●●University of Toronto Faculty of Music. U of T Opera: Opera Student Composer Collective - Who Killed Adriana? Sandra Horst, conductor; Michael Patrick Albano, director. MacMillan Theatre, Edward Johnson Building, 80 Queen’s Park. 416-408-0208. Free. Jan 20, 2:30pm. ●●VOICEBOX: Opera in Concert. Fierabras. Music by Franz Schubert, libretto by Joseph Kupelwieser. St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts, 27 Front St. E. 416-366-7723. ; ; . Feb 3, 2:30pm. ●●William Lavigne. Jack and the Beanstalk. Music and lyrics by William Lavigne. Telus Centre, Temerty Theatre, 273 Bloor St. W. 416-408-0208. . Dec 8, 3pm. ●●Young People’s Theatre. Mary Poppins. Music and lyrics by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman, with George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, book by Julian Fellowes. Young People’s Theatre, 165 Front St. E. 416- 862-2222. -. Opens Nov 5, 10:15am. Runs to Jan 6. Days and times vary. Visit for details. Featuring some of Toronto’s best jazz musicians with a brief reflection by Jazz Vespers Clergy Sunday, December 16 at 4:30pm Ellington’s Nutcracker with The Brian Barlow Big Band Sunday, January 13 at 4:30pm Tara Davidson Trio Sunday, January 27 at 4:30pm Tribute to J.J. Johnson Featuring Kelsley Grant on trombone Christ Church Deer Park, 1570 Yonge St. (north of St. Clair at Heath St.) Admission is free; donations are welcome. 416-920-5211 Beat by Beat | Mainly Clubs, Mostly Jazz! December Feast, January Famine? COLIN STORY The holiday season in Toronto – which begins, at least in some major retail stores, as early as November 1 – carries with it different meanings for different people. For some, of course, it is still primarily a religious occasion; for others, it is a chance to spend at least one morning drinking excessive amounts of rum and eggnog before having a recuperative nap on a disappointed family member’s couch. What tends to remain constant in our shared experience of December and early January is a celebration of community and a desire to enjoy, at least briefly, a sensation of abundance and plenty. For live music fans in Southern Ontario, this will not be difficult to achieve: December is one of the most exciting months of the year to hit the town and take in a show. This is true whether you enjoy the great canon of Christmas songs (they’re fun, and they’re basically just standards) or not (they’re “fun,” and they’re basically just standards); the true gift that December brings us is the sheer volume of excellent and unusual programming, much of which is not explicitly holidaythemed. So, while there will be plenty of opportunities to hear songs about inclement weather, precocious reindeer, and bearded paternalistic wizards who watch you while you sleep, there will also be an ample supply of non-holiday music to check out in a wide variety of venues. The Bistro: To begin: there are, of course, some really top-notch holiday shows taking place in December. On Saturday December 22, the pianists Robi Botos and Hilario Durán perform holiday classics, standards and more at Jazz Bistro, in what has become an annual tradition. It is rare enough to hear two pianists perform together, and rarer still to hear two pianists of Botos and Duran’s calibre in a club setting. Other holiday offerings from Jazz Bistro include Sam Broverman’s A Jewish Boy’s Christmas album release show, on Sunday December 16, and the Robert Scott Trio playing music from A Charlie Brown Christmas, on Tuesday December 18. Outside of the GTA, The Woodhouse performs at The Jazz Room in Waterloo with the help of singer Barbra Lica, who has joined the band in previous years for their annual run of holiday shows. Bernice: Another notable holiday event: Bernice, the dreamy, synthy indie project led by singer Robin Dann, will play at Lula Lounge on December 16 as part of Venus Fest’s Winter Market, which celebrates women and non-binary artists and entrepreneurs. The market runs throughout the day, with performances from Bernice and the group Kith & Kin to be followed by winter bingo, hosted by the singer Alex Samaras. The Rex: The Rex’s December lineup is perhaps its most exciting since June, when it hosted the co-curated TD Toronto Jazz Festival concert series, due in no small part to the fact that some of the same artists are back, including the pianist Geoffrey Keezer and the duo, Paris Monster. Keezer – an alumnus of bands led by Benny Golson, Ray Brown and Art Blakey, in the final iteration of the fabled Jazz Messengers group – is both virtuosic and communicative, and has tremendous access to the jazz piano tradition. His performance, which takes place on Sunday December 16, will feature the singer Gillian Margot, who sung on Keezer’s recent trio album On My Way To You, and the drummer Jon Wikan, a longtime Keezer collaborator. When Paris Monster played at The Rex in June, their performance became one of the most talked-about breakout shows of the whole jazz festival, in part because of how surprising it was that such a full band sound could be produced by just two people. The duo consists of Josh Dion, who simultaneously plays drums, keyboards, and sings, 72 | December 1, 2018 – February 7, 2019

Kirk MacDonald and the bassist Geoff Kraly, whose effectsheavy playing fills out the middle in a way that has more in common with shoegaze-inspired electric guitar playing than it does with traditional electric bass playing. (Dion often plays bass lines on his keyboard.) Beyond their unique performance practice, however, it’s the music itself – a combination of rock, synthpop, and jazz fusion – that is at the heart of Paris Monster’s compelling project. Paris Monster plays two consecutive nights at The Rex, on December 8 and 9. The Rex will also be hosting a different two-night residency, on December 19 and 20, as Kirk MacDonald, one of Canada’s pre-eminent saxophonists, celebrates the release of his album Generations, his 15th as a bandleader. Generations features MacDonald’s contemporaries Neil Swainson and André White, as well as the American pianist Harold Mabern, who, at 82-years-old, is one of jazz’s prominent elder statesmen, and the clarinetist Virginia MacDonald, who, at 23, represents the next generation of jazz both figuratively and literally. (Kirk MacDonald is her father.) Virginia MacDonald, who is becoming an important presence on the Toronto jazz scene in her own right, will also be playing at The Rex on December 18, one evening before joining her father for his two-night stint. She is joined by the bassist Dan Fortin and, keeping the family theme intact, by the siblings Lucas Dann and Nico Dann, a pianist and drummer (respectively) who share a sister in Robin Dann, the aforementioned singer in the group Bernice. Burdock: While December is typically one of the best months of the year in which to see live music, January is one of the worst, for a variety of reasons. There is usually an expectation that people don’t go out as much, both for reasons financial (it’s time to start paying down that credit card) and caloric (those resolutions won’t keep themselves). The success of Burdock’s annual Piano Fest, however, has given both artists and audiences a reason to get back into the swing of things following the holidays. Taking place from January 21 to 28, this eight-day festival sees the temporary installation of a baby grand piano in Burdock’s Music Hall and, traditionally, double bills featuring complementary acts. Past performers include Joanna Majoko, Chelsey Bennett, Michelle Willis, Jeremy Dutcher and Tim Baker, amongst many others. While the full schedule has not yet been released, check out Burdock’s website for full listings when they become available. MAINLY CLUBS, MOSTLY JAZZ QUICK PICKS !! DEC 18, 9:30PM: Virginia MacDonald, The Rex. The night before she joins her father Kirk MacDonald on the same stage for his album release show, clarinetist Virginia MacDonald leads her own accomplished quartet at The Rex. !! DEC 16, 8PM: Venus Fest presents Bernice with Kith & Kin, Lula Lounge. As part of Venus Fest’s Winter Market, watch Kith & Kin perform before a very special holiday set by Bernice; followed by bingo. !! DEC 22, 9PM: Robi Botos and Hilario Durán, Jazz Bistro. Leading pianists Robi Botos and Hilario Duran present a holiday-themed show in a rare configuration. !! JAN 21 TO 28: Various performers, Burdock Piano Fest. Burdock Music Hall. Burdock presents its fourth-annual Piano Fest, featuring a variety of performers in complementary double bills that make good use of a beautiful (and well-tuned) baby grand piano. Colin Story is a jazz guitarist, writer and teacher based in Toronto. He can be reached at, on Instagram and on Twitter. D. In the Clubs (Mostly Jazz) 120 Diner 120 Church St. 416-792-7725 (full schedule) All shows: PWYC (- suggested) Alleycatz 2409 Yonge St. 416-481-6865 All shows: Call for cover charge info. Mondays 8:30pm Salsa Night with DJ Romantico with free lessons No cover before 10:00pm. Tuesdays 8:30pm Bachata Night with Weekly Guest DJ with free lessons Ladies free before 10:30pm. Wednesdays 7pm Midtown Blues Jam hosted by Andrew “Voodoo” Walters. Thursdays 8pm Canadian Discovery Series. Fri & Sat 9:30pm Funk, Soul, R&B Top 40 cover after 9pm. Sat 3pm-6pm Matinee Jazz. Dec 1 Gyles Band. Dec 7 Lady Kane. Dec 8 Soular. Dec 14 Lady Kane. Dec 15 York Jazz Ensemble (matinee), Sound Parade (evening). Dec 21 Parkside Drive. Dec 22 Gyles Band. Dec 28 URequest Band. Dec 29 Gyles Band. Dec 31 New Year’s Party w/ Gyles Band. Jan 4 URequest Band. Jan 5 Lady Kane. Jan 11 Blonde Ambition. Jan 12 Soular. Jan 18 URequest Band. Jan 19 Soular. Jan 25 Graffiti Park. Jan 26 York Jazz Ensemble (matinee), Lady Kane (evening). Artword Artbar 15 Colbourne St., Hamilton. 905-543-8512 (full schedule) The Blue Goose Tavern 1 Blue Goose St. 416-255-2442 (full schedule) Bloom 2315 Bloor St. W. 416-767-1315 (full schedule) All shows 7pm 19+. Call for reservations. Burdock 1184 Bloor St. W. 416-546-4033 Ticket prices vary by show, but typically -; check website for individual show prices. Dec 1 6:30pm Quirks, 9:30pm Big Lonely w/ Huttch, The Bandicoots. Dec 2 6:30pm Jesse Parent w/ Lucas Stagg, 9pm On Healing – A With/out Pretend Event. Dec 3 6:30pm Elliot Maginot w/ LeRiche, 9:30pm The Hope State. Dec 5 7:30pm Confabulation presents: Family, 9:30pm Eamon McGrath, Will Whitwham & Joyful Joyful. Dec 6 6:30pm Ben Rosenblum Trio feat. Sam Kirmayer, 9:30pm Jesse Matas. Dec 7 6:30pm David Krystal. Dec 8 9pm Gabriel Kahane Dec 9 9:30pm LUKA & Jenny Berkel. Dec 10 9:30pm MONEYPHONE & Jonah Yano. Dec 12 9:30pm Vince Maccarone’s Los Variants. Dec 13 9:30pm The Lesters Holiday Show. Dec 14 9:30pm Jessica Moss, Völur & Qarafa. Dec 15 6:30pm Dumb Angel & Special Guests. Dec 16 6:30pm Stewart Legere & Kim Harris, 9:30pm Stefan Hegerat Album Release w/ Laura Swankey & Karen Ng. Dec 17 9:30pm The Old Salts. Dec 18 9:30pm Construction & Destruction / Steven Lambke. Dec 21 6:30pm Clara Engel, 9:30pm Debi Botos Quintet. Dec 22 6:30pm Braden Lam & Brooklyn Doran, 9:30pm ELJAY. Jan 11 6:30pm Shanika Maria. Jan 12 9:30pm Akage No Anne & TV SETS. Jan 13 9:30pm Naomi Froese. Jan 15 9:30pm Chelsea and the Cityscape. Jan 23 6:30pm Alexandra Stréliski. Jan 21-28 Burdock Piano Fest 2019 – check Burdock website for complete listings when available. Cameron House 408 Queen St. W. 416-703-0811 Castro’s Lounge 2116 Queen St. E. 416-699-8272 (full schedule) All shows: No cover/PWYC C’est What 67 Front St. E. (416) 867-9499 (full schedule) All concerts are PWYC unless otherwise noted. Dec 1 3pm Thelonious Hank, 9pm Jacques Russell Trio. Dec 2 7pm Chris Bjorkquist, D.B. Buxton. Dec 7 9pm Big Rude Jake. Dec 8 3pm The Hot Five Jazzmakers, 9pm Julia Tynes. Dec 9 7pm Kristin Lindell and Friends. Dec 14 9pm Metronome Chomsky. Dec 15 3pm Victor Monsivais Trio, 9pm Richard Malouin. Dec 22 3pm The Hot Five Jazzmakers, 9pm Jack Walker’s Festivus Miracle. Dec 29 3pm Thelonious Hank. Jan 5 3pm The Hot Five Jazzmakers. Jan 12 9pm Julia Tynes. Jan 13 7pm Bob Wegner. Jan 19 3pm The Hot Five Jazzmakers. Jan 26 3pm The Boxcar Boys. Jan 31 9pm Shikha Sehgal, Bernadette Connors. Emmet Ray, The 924 College St. 416-792-4497 (full schedule) All shows: No cover/PWYC Grossman’s Tavern 379 Spadina Ave. 416-977-7000 (full schedule) All shows: No cover (unless otherwise noted). Every Sat 4:30pm The Happy Pals Dixieland December 1, 2018 – February 7, 2019 | 73

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