8 years ago

Volume 8 Issue 6 - March 2003

  • Text
  • Toronto
  • Theatre
  • April
  • Jazz
  • Arts
  • Musical
  • Orchestra
  • Symphony
  • Gould
  • Glenn
  • Annalee

JAZZ. ~ NOlES by Jim

JAZZ. ~ NOlES by Jim Galloway Ides.&. Seek When Ted O'Reilly was on air, he used to end each show by saying, "Think nice thoughts." I would like to take it a step farther. Take a few minutes, even once a week, to speak some nice thoughts, whether it is someone whose work you admire, someone you like, someone you Jove - Jet theII\ know it. Someday it will be too late. The passing years do not necessarily bring wisdom, . but they do diminish the circle. What brings this on? Well, the past few months have seen the passing of some acquaintances whom I admired and some friends whom I shall miss. And when they are gone, it is too late. Cliff "Kid" Bastien was not a close personal friend, but he was someone whom I respected and admired. And I ~ever told him. His idol was Thomas "Kid" Valentine, a New Orleans trumpet player and Cliffs funeral service was on St. Valentine's Day. Several hundred people came out to pay respect to someone who touched their Jives with his music - people of all ages, many of whoni, I imagine, might never have spoken to "Kid" Bastien. But he spoke to them through his trumpet. He was not a renowned musician. His great Jove was the jazz of New Orleans as it was ,played in the early part of the last century. He was uncompromising, one might almost say .narrow minded - but his playing was honest and sincere and when he played, it was from Cliff "Kid" Bastien the heart, and in doirig so, he touched the hearts of others. Lots of them, judging by the numbers who turned out to say their goodbyes. I have a moment from that day which stays with me. I was ·Standing at the back of the church which was more than filled to capacity and towards the end of . the service a mailman walked in, snow on his shoes and his empty mail sack over his shoulder. But he had come to say silently that Cliff Bastien meant something to him - had given him something that enriched his life. There were people of all ages and many nationalities. There were tears; but there was also joy in the celebration of his life and the music he loved. The occasion was a reminder of the power of music to· transcend borders and reach into the secret worlds within all of us. At the end of the service the Magnolia Brass J Christ Church Deer Park presents

JAZZ. PROFILE as they say, goes on. DENNY CHRISTIANSON is Humber's Director of Music. In his 20-plus , Laila Biali years in Montreai, Christianson by Wally Wood toured extensively with his big band "SHE HAS THAT Glenn Gould thing!" in Canada and throughout Europe. said Don Thompson, trying to de- . He has performed and recorded with scribe what makes his former Hum- people like Michel Legrand, Oliver ber College star student Laila Biali Jones, Guido Basso, and others. so special a musician. "Total (mu- AtHumberworkandplayareususic) recall, a photographic memory, ally the same thing, Christianson says. perfect pitch: all the things that nor- ' Students are taught rigorously, but inal musicians don't have. She hears ~ith the express purpose of preparmusic (in passing) and she remem- ing them to perform professionally: hers it in detail. It is weird. She is to earn a living; "But, music is more music smart. And everything else!" than just a consumer product," says Known internationally, Don Christianson. "It is the most elemen­ Thompson himself is an exceptionally accomplished player (piano, vibes, bass and drums) and composer/ arranger, based in Toronto for more than 30 years. For ten 'of those 30, he has been teaching music at Toronto's Humber College_:_ Advanced Jazz Studies. Thompson was named the Instrumentalist of the Year in Canada's Nationai Jazi Awards, recently; in Toronto. At the same gathering, Laila Biali was given the Rising Star A ward, sponsored by Galaxie, the C.B.C. 's continuous music network. MANY SOUNDS OF JAZZ spill out of nine classrooms in Humber College's South Campus, on Toronto's Lakeshore Boulevard .. Minims and quavers and semi-quavers and demisemi-quavers slide under door after door, permeating a wing of the building with music. Open one door and a blast of brass strikes one between the ears, fortissimo. Open another and the embrace of vocal close har~ mony draws one in. The jazz program at Humber College is among the very best. Of the 700-plus students that apply for the three-year jazz course, a few more than 100 are accepted in a given year - 70-plus young men and 30- plus young women, at a cost of about ,000 each. That makes 300- plus students from all over the world, Japan and Korea fo South America. It makes a potent stew: 41 student ensembles, from a big band to small groups to vocal aggregations; youhg men and women cradling guitars, trumpets, trombones, keyboards, saxophones, flutes, clarinets, dragging double basses. along on runners. And then there are 44 staff members to add to the mix: 11 fulltime, 33 part-time! Many are stars in the Canadian jazz firmament: Pat LaBarbera, Dave Restivo, Trish Coulter, Hilario Duran, Ted Quinlan, Alex Dean, Mike Murley, Brian · Dickinson, Terry Promane, Pat Collins, and Don Thompson. The list, March 1 - April 7 2003 ta! part of human experience." HUMBER AND LAILA BIALI were good for each other. "She is an exceptionally versatile performer, and mature beyond her years," says Christianson. "She's going to do some amazing things. She has the potential to be a world-class writer." Biali in turn is unreserved in her praise of Humber, and particularly Don Thompson·, whom she calls·"incredible as a musician, mentor and friend" and a superlative composer. With the confidence and forcefulness of youth, she threw herself into the Humber mix unreservedly. For her final recital at Humber College last year, she wrote a suite entitled "The Road Less Travelled By ... ", which she says was "searching music, with a classical feel, a little dissonant, like the course of my life, but it piece that ended on a peaceful note." Then, diploma in back pocket, she went to teach music at a jazz workshop last summer at California's Stanford University (and has been invited to return there this summer). Returning to Toronto "the centre of jazz in Canada" she formed and leads the Laila Biali Octet jazz group, including saxophonist, Alex Dean and bassist Jim Vivian. If you're quick off the mark this month you can catch them at Toronto's Mantreal Bistro on Monday, March 3. She is also composing: pieces for the Hum- Laila B'iali ber College and U of T big bands. She was a featured player at the 30th annual conference of the International Association for Jazz Education; in Toronto, this past January, after appearing in ft Sisters in Jazz sextet at the group's annual conference in New York City in 2001. . With I.A.J.E. backing, she has appeared all over the United States and Europe. Last year, she was one of four Canadians (with Tara David-' son, Karine Chapdelaine and Joann Blondin) in a Sisters in Jazz production in Lima, Peru. Tara Davidson, who graduated from U of T last year is "amazing", according to Biali, probably the best young alto sax player around. Biali and Davidson, along with bass player Brandi Disterheft and drummer Sly Juhas were honoured last November when they were invited (along with five other North American groups) to play in professional workshops at New , York's storied Carnegie Hall, and will record together in early May at the Stone Church in Sonya. It should be quite a gig. "A beautiful voice," says Thompson, of his protege. "A natural: nothing missing, .... And, really, really nice." It probably says a lot about what Humber (and Biali) are all about that she still considers herself first a composer (and arranger), then a pianist, then a singer. In all of these capacities she is definitely one to watch. Dave Snider Music Centre 3225 Yonge St. PH (416) 483-58'.!5 eMai I: snidcrmusic (i!J snidermus ic .com w w,,1.s n idcrmusi r.: .c o m One of Toronto's Oldest Music Stores ... With The ,Best Selection of Pop, Jazz & Broadway Sheet Music in the city - For Beginners and ProfessioHals - Come in and browse over 25,000 sheet music publications. We have a wide array of Woodwind, Brass, Keyboards, Guitars and Accessories. Music Lessons offered on site. Hear the colour of •

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