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Volume 28 Issue 6 | Summer 2023

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Fast start to the summer and it just keeps going: Luminato walks with Little Amal; the Historical Organ Society comes to town; composer Carmen Braden is keeping busy; Phil Nimmons turns 100; TSM's metamorphosis; and check out live links in ads, listings and our easy surfing directory of summer festivals. See you August 30 for Volume 29 no.1

BACK IN FOCUS Previously

BACK IN FOCUS Previously covered in The WholeNote, and topical again VINTAGE NIMMONS compiled by Jack Buell As jazz writer Colin Story explains elsewhere in this issue (page 30), on June 3 this year Canadian jazz giant Phil Nimmons reaches an enviable milestone – his 100th birthday, and to celebrate the occasion, The Nimmons Tribute will release a new recording – Volume 2 of their musical project to celebrate the living legacy of the Canadian jazz giant. The Nimmons Tribute Volume One: To The Nth was released in early 2021, when for some reason there wasn’t a whole lot of live music happening. Good new recordings helped keep us hopeful, and gave us little things to celebrate. To the Nth did both of those things. (Yoshi Maclear Wall’s February 2021 review of the disc still rings fresh and true, and is included here.) ➜ Volume 2, Generational will be released on June 23. It includes some “vintage Nimmons”, and two new compositions by Nimmons’ grandson – pianist, arranger and composer Sean Nimmons. Visit Galloway interviews Nimmons In December 2005, (The WholeNote, vol. 11 no.4) Jazz Notes columnist Jim Galloway sat with Nimmons for a wide-ranging, still topical chat. Here are a couple of excerpts. JG: Why clarinet? PN: When I think back on those days, radio ... you’re fooling around the dials or something, I can’t remember anything specific, but according to Jane, that’s my sister, she said I was smitten with Benny Goodman and I wanted to get a clarinet and so that’s how that came about …. I think having a highly motivating and inspiring relationship to what you’re hearing on the radio is something ... eventually I The Nimmons Tribute Volume One – To The Nth Kevin Turcotte; Tara Davidson; Mike Murley; William Carn et al Independent n/a ( Forgive the tired expression, but Phil Nimmons needs no introduction. As far as contributors to the Canadian music landscape go, it would be hard to find many as seismic as Nimmons. I am sadly too young to have appreciated him first hand, but his legacy at 97 is such that I can still get a sense of his transcendence both through his music and through his countless talented former students who constantly found out when Benny Goodman was broadcasting on the Camel Caravan (or Artie Shaw), and those were both influences on me. Recording JG: How do you feel about playing in a studio as opposed to before an audience? PN: Oh, I’d much rather play before an audience. I feel that they are a part of the formula with the performer and that they are a part of the whole process. God, you’ve got to have a conversation, it’s not only with yourself. JG: Well, it’s the same for me. I would rather record before an audience and I would accept flaws in the recording, because of the other pluses. PN: I have always felt that – right from the beginning. There are people who really dig going into studios, that’s another approach. This is just my opinion: when I listen to the live recordings over the years opposed to ones from studios, for me, I could keep listening to the live recordings always, always. The other ones start to pall, I think they don’t have the same ambience, but that’s me, you know. I sing his praises. Case in point is this new tribute album that combines the best of both aforementioned worlds. Featuring an astonishing roster, spearheaded by Nimmons’ grandson and accomplished pianist Sean Nimmons, this album is a fitting tribute full of heart and brilliance. Sean’s arranging and production are a highlight, as this record’s pristine sound allows for a modern, yet faithful, interpretation of his grandfather’s music. Another bright spot is the sample of Nimmons’ work selected for these recordings. Some of his finest compositions are featured spanning across multiple decades, which goes a long way to showcase the sheer scope of his prolific output. The Sean Nimmonscomposed track Rista’s Vista is the one outlier here, and serves as the album’s centrepiece. Dedicated to his grandfather, it’s a love letter to a man who continues to inspire. Yoshi Maclear Wall don’t know whether my philosophy affects my listening as well (laughs) because life is not perfect, so why do we try and make it perfect? JG: What about singers? PN: I have the greatest respect for the human voice because I think that it is the primary human instrument. I have always wished that we could put all of our jazz programme students into a choir and make all of the instrumentalists sing, because it is one of the most profound experiences that I ever had when I went to study at Juilliard. They put all the instrumentalists (we sat out in the theatre, there must have been about 700 of us) in a choir. I had just arrived from Vancouver you know, and was there to study, and (laughs) here I am, singing. I never sang before in my life. To make a long story short, we gave a performance of the Bach B Minor Mass and I was one of 100 basses. You can find the full article by visiting and navigating to Vol 11 No 4. The interview begins on page 14. 78 | Summer 2023

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