2 years ago

Volume 27 Issue 1 - September / October 2021

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Blue pages and orange shirts; R. Murray Schafer's complex legacy, stirrings of life on the live concert scene; and the Bookshelf is back. This and much more. Print to follow. Welcome back from endless summer, one and all.

Clubs are as ready as

Clubs are as ready as they’ll ever be to get back to business, whatever that may look winners and nominees on any given night in Toronto). The second, closely tied to the first: the JUNO label must have been a help to the FACTOR application process, which, like all Canadian funding bodies, places an emphasis on Canadian content. And the third: allocating prime weekly time for one artist cuts down on the amount of administrative time that has to be spent coordinating bookings, which must make things just a little bit easier during this novel year. The JUNO Series started at the beginning of this month, with the incomparable bassist Dave Young bringing two different bands over four nights, then continued from September 8 to 11 with Sammy Jackson, a burgeoning singer whose debut release, With You, beat out albums from Diana Krall, Laila Biali, and more this year, to win Vocal Jazz Album of the Year. Jackson is joined by guitarist Tom Fleming, keyboardist Joel Visentin, bassist Mark Godfrey, and drummer Ian Wright, a seasoned band who have been a part of Jackson’s project for some time. From September 15 to 18, drummer Barry Elmes brings his quintet to the party, with trumpeter Brian O’Kane, saxophonist Mike Murley, guitarist Lorne Lofsky and bassist Pat Collins. Rex regulars will no doubt recognize the annual John Coltrane tribute shows, running from September 22 to 25; how lucky that bandleaders Pat LaBarbera and Kirk MacDonald are both JUNO Award-winners, though perhaps this is not such a coincidence. Finally, Peripheral Vision – the perennial passion project of Trevor Hogg, Don Scott, Michael Herring and Nick Fraser – rounds out the month and carries The Rex into October, with their sensitive blend of jazz, rock, and other influences. Jazz Bistro Elsewhere in Toronto, other notable musical events are on offer throughout the month. At Jazz Bistro, Adrean Farrugia’s UNICITY VANESSA PAXTON Sammy Jackson Dave Young Jocelyn Gould Hanna Barstow like as the fall progresses. DOUG DICKIN IAIN GEOGHAN band takes the stage on September 16. Joining Farrugia are saxophonist Kelly Jefferson, bassist Dan Fortin and drummer Ethan Ardelli, a stellar group of technically accomplished, musically intuitive bandmates playing in the modern jazz tradition. For those who missed Dave Young’s early-September performances at The Rex, he’ll also be at Jazz Bistro, on September 18, with pianist Brian Dickinson, drummer Terry Clarke, trumpeter Kevin Turcotte and saxophonist Perry White. And, for those looking for a vocal jazz hit: Hannah Barstow celebrates the release of her new album, Beneath, on September 22, also at the Bistro. Barstow – doing double duty on vocals and piano – is joined by bassist Reknee Harrett, drummer (and brother) Keith Barstow and saxophonist Mike Murley. The Jazz Room Outside of the GTA, live jazz has also made something of a return. The Jazz Room in Waterloo will host its Women in Jazz Series, a more-orless-weekly event featuring a wide range of musicians. Starting things off in September is the guitarist Jocelyn Gould’s quartet. Gould – who, like Jackson, also won a JUNO this year: Jazz Album of the Year, for her release Elegant Traveler – will be joined on stage by pianist Will Bonness, drummer Mark Kelso and bassist Mike Downes. The series continues through the year, with appearances in September and through October from Laila Biali, Denise Pelley and Teri Parker’s Free Spirits quintet. It is impossible to know, at this point in time, whether or not live music will continue to be presented throughout the winter. With the upcoming election, the return to schools, the Delta variant, and many other factors, nothing is guaranteed. So if, like me, you enjoy live music, don’t hesitate to go check out some shows sooner, rather than later. Remember: it’s either this or actually learning how to make that loaf of sourdough. Colin Story is a jazz guitarist, writer and teacher based in Toronto. He can be reached at, on Instagram and on Twitter. BILL BEARD 22 | September and October 2021

JAZZ NOTES Something Else! + Watch it Burn! at the Bay Series Hamilton, Ontario September 25, October 2, October 9 STUART BROOMER Since 2014, The Zula Arts Collective and director Cem Zafir have been programming the further shores of jazz and improvised music in Hamilton, from an annual festival to various concert series throughout the year. Now, with the lightening of COVID-19 restrictions, Zula launches a series of festive Saturday performances: each presents four groups – some local, some travelling, some interdisciplinary – and, following a dinner service, concludes with a film that’s intimately involved with improvised music. September 25 Film: Imagine the Sound In 1981, Toronto filmmaker Ron Mann (creator of Grass, Altman and Comic Book Confidential) and musician/writer/producer Bill Smith undertook a significant project to document some major figures of the free jazz movement, producing a mix of performances and interviews with Cecil Taylor, Paul Bley, Bill Dixon and Archie Shepp that retains its power today, including some extraordinary footage of Taylor’s end-to-end piano runs (7pm). Ron Mann is on hand for a Q&A (8:30pm). The film and Bill Smith’s career are also apparent in other performances. Trombonist Scott Thomson presents a solo set of music inspired by Bill Dixon (5:15pm). Hamilton’s Lee/Palmer/ Bennett (bassist David Lee, guitarist Chris Palmer and saxophonist Connor Bennett) presents music performed by the Bill Smith Ensemble in the 1980s when Lee was a member (5:45pm). Another Ensemble veteran, the brilliant guitarist/singer Arthur Bull, performs as part of Spokes with longtime collaborator drummer Bob Vespaziani. The duo is then joined in by Lee/Palmer/Bennett to form a blues/rockabilly band called The Five Spokes (3pm). Brodie West Quintet In the midst of his artful compositions, alto saxophonist Brodie West creates improvisatory puzzles that resolve in surprising ways, carried forth on his laconic lines and subtle timbral shifts. His Toronto quintet includes pianist Tania Gill, bassist Josh Cole and drummers Nick Fraser and Evan Cartwright, with West making fine use of the possibilities afforded by two drummers (4pm). October 2 The focus is on Toronto bands with highlights on the piano, from the opening trio of pianist Bill Gilliam, soprano saxophonist Kayla Milmine and drummer Ambrose Pottie, a hive of spontaneous invention (3pm) to pianist Adrean Farrugia’s trio with bassist Jon Maharaj and drummer Ethan Ardelli on drums, creating subtle harmonic weaves (5:30pm). So Long 7 creates multicultural music from Ravi Naimpally’s tabla, Tim Posgate’s banjo, Neil Hendry’s guitar and William Lamoureux’s violin (4pm). Dancer Megan English is accompanied by Dale Morningstar (5pm). Voc Silent Film Harmonic, led by bassist Ted Harms, provides live accompaniment for a silent film, The Unknown (7pm). October 9 Ochs-Robinson Duo Tenor saxophonist Larry Ochs is best known for his work with ROVA, the saxophone quartet that has, over its 44-year history, collaborated with everyone from John Zorn to Terry Riley, but Ochs and drummer Don Robinson have been working together for three decades, achieving maximum expressive power with minimal means, whether playing with the economy of elemental blues or the unrestrained passion of free jazz. Their recent CD, A Civil Right, is at once manifesto and tour de force (6pm). Film: New York Eye and Ear Control, Michael Snow 1964. For the soundtrack, Snow enlisted a New York free jazz supergroup, including saxophonists Albert Ayler and John Tchicai, trumpeter Don Cherry and trombonist Roswell Rudd, then instructed the band, contrary to their usual practice, to just improvise collectively, no themes, no solos, later mating the music to his flow of New York images. The result? A major film that’s also a significant creative contribution to the history of improvised music. (7:30pm) Also: Composer/guitarist Pete Johnston’s song project Stranger Still matches his own transit from rural Nova Scotia to Toronto with that of poet Alden Nowlan, setting Nowlan’s subtle, rugged words amidst traditional English song and acoustic takes on progressive rock, all realized with bassist Rob Clutton and singers Mim Adams and Randi Helmers. Trumpeter Nicole Rampersaud and pianist Marilyn Lerner are Brass Knuckle Sandwich (5pm), playing music as spirited as the name, though often far more lyrical. Eschaton is the improvising Hamilton duo of Aaron Hutchinson on trumpet and electronics and Connor Bennett on saxophones, bass and vocals (4pm). Something else, indeed. Events take place at the gazebo in Bayfront Park, 200 Harbour Front Dr, Hamilton. Admission is pay what you can with a suggested donation of -25. For complete information, consult Stuart Broomer writes frequently on music (mostly improvised) and is the author of Time and Anthony Braxton. His column “Ezz-thetics” appears regularly at ALLANAAAAAAA September and October 2021 | 23

Volumes 21-25 (2015-2020)

Volumes 16-20 (2010-2015)

Volumes 11-15 (2004-2010)

Volumes 6 - 10 (2000 - 2006)

Volumes 1-5 (1994-2000)