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Volume 6 Issue 7 - April 2001

  • Text
  • April
  • Toronto
  • Theatre
  • Choir
  • Arts
  • Bloor
  • Orchestra
  • Symphony
  • Wholenote
  • Choral

Hear the colour of •

Hear the colour of • 16 Wholenote APRIL 1, 2001 - MAY 7, 2001 band working on a regular basis. So, what to do? Accept the fact that although you have one of the best big bands in the world, there is no place for that sort of excellence in today's world of twisted values - and you scale down. Benny Goodman had to do . it in the aftermath of the big band era. Count Basie had to do it; Artie Shaw had to do it. And Rob McConnell did it. That is why there is now the Rob McConnell Tentet. The Boss Brass became too much work for too little return. The big bands won't totally disappear, but neither are they coming back. So do yourself~ favour and get out to hear Rob's Tentet at the Top G°' The Senator this month. It's a great band, as if you would expect anything else from Rob. Meanwhile, things aren't exactly quiet over at the Montreal Bistro this month. There may be no such thing as perfection, but the closest thing to it will grace the Bistro bandstand this month when Dick Hyman will play one night of solo piano. It is followed the next evening by a duet performance with Peter Appleyard, and on the third night they will be joined by Dave Young and Barry Elmes. Peter rounds out the week with his quartet which features John Sherwood on piano. Other highlights_ at the Bistro in the month include the appe¥ance of the Sonny Greenwich Quartet and also the Gene DiNovi and Dave Young Duo. You may have noticed that we are talking about performances in clubs, rather than concert halls. But we are talking about artists of a calibre that, if they were · "classical" musicians, would appear only in concert halls. Perhaps in future I ought to refer to these venues as small concert halls with a liquor licence and ambient noise! · And let us not overlook that other hotbed of jazz in town, the Rex. If you want to make sure of· a lucky Friday the 13th, check out Archie Alleyne's "Koilage." They also have an interesting piano extravaganza on the 21st and 22nd, when they will ·:· CONCERT NOTES •!• JAZZ squeeze two grand pianos onto the stage and feature an array of top notch keyboard conquistadors. The 50 Plus Lifestyle & Travel Show 9ffers an evening on the 27th that will be just the thing for fans of traditional jazz. Jeff Healey leaves his blues band at · home and gets together at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre with New York trumpeter Dick Sudhalter, a couple of imports from England in the shape of John R. T, Davies on alto sax and trombonist Jim Shepherd, as well as two of hiS Toronto buddies, Reide Kaiser, piano and Colin Bray on string bass. Opening the evening will be that enthusiastic group of young hopefuls,. the Toronto All­ Star Big Band, under the direction of Zygmunt Jedrzejek. DON'T TAKE THE "A" TRAIN if you are thinking of attending the Duke Ellington Society's April 28th Salute to the Duke'.s 102nd Birthday, with the Ron Collier Big Band and singer Hazel Walker. If you don't have a ticket yet, I'm afraid you are out of luck. The concert has been sold out for weeks! I was totally underwhelmed by the response to my Cab Calloway "hep" definitions spot last month, but I shall give the answers anyway, if only to keep things · tidy. 1. An Alligator was slang for a jitterbug . 2. A Barbecue was a girlfriend 3. A Canary was a female singer. Undaunted, here are some more! Again the question is - do you know the meaning of the following according to the Cab Calloway dictionary? 1. Gabriels 2. Skinn-beaters 3. Armstrongs Answers.can be e-mailed to jimgalloway@the wholenote .com or faxed to me at 416.603.3787. Phil Dwyer Jazz saxophonist and pianist Phil Dwyer is the 2001 winner of the. K.M. Hunter Artist Award for music. Since his arrival in Toronto in 1987, Dwyer has distinguished himself as a performer, recording artist, composer and teacher. He has been nominated five times for Juno A wards, winning twice in 1989 and 1993, both times for "Best Jazz Album." You can hear Phil Dwyer in Toronto at the Senator from May 15 to 19 . mid$ummeJt music By tbe Lake Gloria Saarinen, B.Mu&, LR.S.M.,A.R.A.M. Artistic Director And International Guest Faculty August 20 - 26, 200 I I 0:00 a.m. - 5 :00 p.m. Tuition 0.00 plus GST held at The RCM in Mississauga; Adamson Estate on the shores of Lake Ontario, MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO SUMMER WORKSHOP *BACH & BEYOND *ALL INSTRUMENTS INDIVIDUAL & ENSEMBLE COACHINGS WITH FIRST CLASS PERFORMER-TEACHERS *COMPOSITION *IMPROV *JAZZ PERFORMANCE* PRACTICE TIME *RECORDING SEMINAR HERITAGE WALKS *RECREATION TIME *MAXIMUM 40 PLAY, PLAY, PLAY FOR THE FUN OF IT! At MidS1!ffiiner Music we ·work hard and we play hard! SPONSORS Drs. Ray & John Bozek, Orthodontists/ Frid & Russell/ Kelly Culin Insunmce Agency Ltd. Pocket Press I Royal & SunAlliance Financial For Information or Brochures: 905.825.1475 or 905.333.3357 Email hamoline@home.com Website: http://members.home.net/gsaarinen

MUSICIANS IN OUR MIDST: Ron Collier . by Merlin Williams Composer/arranger Ron Collier has written for almost every combination of instruments imaginable: solo flute with piano, strings, woodwind groups, brass groups, full orchestra, concert band, big band, studio orchestras - the list goes on. Many other writers have worked with similar groups, but few have had the opporfunity to write for Duke Ellington and His Famous Orchestra. Ron Collier got his start as a trombone player with the famous Kitsilano Boys Band under the direction of Arthur Delainont. He later studied writing with.Arthur's son, Gordon Delamont. He toured Canada with Mart Kenney and His Western Gentlemen, and also played with the National Ballet. Ron's jazz group was featured at Expo '67. Ron was the first musician in the jazz field in Canada to get a Canada Council grant, which he used to further his studies with composer and theoretician George Russell, and orchestrator Hall Overton. When the Stratford Festival started producing a summer jazz concert series in the '50s, one of the · featured Canadian groups was Collier's. Unfortunately, Ron notes, the jazz concerts in the summer at Stratford are no more. Even though Collier had seen Ellington's orchestra in concert in Vancouver in the late '40s, and . · worked at the Stratford Festival . in the ; 50s when Duke was giving concerts there, the two didn't actually meet until 1967. Louis Applebaum put together a project to feature the work of three Canadian composers: Norm Symonds, Gordon Delamont, and Ron Collier. Applebaum approached Duke Ellington asking if Duke would be willing to be exploited on behalf of the Canadian writers. Duke agreed, and the recording came about. The album, which is still available on Attic Records (ACDM 1425) contains two of CQllier's compositions: Aurora Borealis, and Silent Night, Lonely Night. A year later, Collier conducted an orchestra with Ellington as guest soloist in Detroit in a performance of Aurora Borealis. Sometime after that, Duke called Ron to see if he '.d be available to write the arrangements for an album he was doing with his own band. Ron did two charts for the record, and recalls that trombonist Lawrence Brown, one of his inspirations on that instrument, looked at the part and.announced, "I'm not gonna play ~t! I don't have the chops!" The solo got reassigned to altoist Johnny Hodges, and the record got made. Ellington again called on Collier when he was putting together a concert at a Benedictu;,e monastery in Oregon. Ron arranged the music, and conducted the orchestra himself. Later, Collier did the orchestrations for Ellington's ballet suite The River. Ron recalls his occasional frustration with Puke's working methods. Ellington would give him single melody lines with chords - Ron would ask what he wanted. Duke would reply, "You know what to do! Listen to the recording by the Detroit Symphony of River Suite on Chandos CD 9154." :_Duke was right! In 1972, Ron became the composer in residence at Humber College in Toronto. He later became the arranging teacher, and led many award winning ensembles. Collier's connections with Duke led to Ellington's.visit to the.college in 1973. Quite an auspicious first guest for the music program! After Ellington's death in '74, the college named the scholarship award for "Best Arranger" in Duke's honour. Collier wrote prolifically for big band while at Humber. Part of tLis was necessity - material had to be written to fit the smaller ensembles at the beginning of the program. He also wrote as a creative outlet, and produced such works as The Humber Suite, Four Kisses, Gentleman Harry (a tribute to baritone saxist Harry Carney, of the Ellington band), and Mr. C.M. (m honour of Charles Mingus) to nan:ie but a few. One of his most stunning arrangements from this period, Scrapple From The Apple, was recorded by Rob McConnell and the Boss Brass, on the CD Brassy & Sassy (Concord CCD-4508). Ron's students from Humber College include many of the busiest and most creative musicians on the jazz and commercial music scene in Canada today. Since retiring from Humber College, Ron has kept busy with writing projects. In 1997 he completed an enormous undertaking: a version of Oscar Peterson's Canadiana Suite for jazz orchestra. The eight movement work, Duke Ellington with Ron Collier an hour long, is breathtaking. It was premiered in Vancouver in '97, and performed again at the Toronto and Ottawa jazz festivals in '98. Sadly, it has not been recorded. Continued page I 8 APRIL 1, 2001 - MAY 7, 2001 Wholenote 17

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