Monday was my last day in New Orleans after a fun-filled weekend. I am not exaggerating when I say every time I go to New Orleans I have a better time than the trip before. How much better can it possibly get?
I know that JAZZ.FM91 will offer another Jazz Safari to NOLA in our fall campaign at www.jazz.fm and I can’t wait to take another 15 donors to paint the town.
Early this week I organized a video shoot to capture some of my favourite poets at The Chapel in The Old Mill Inn. The crew worked really hard, the extras (audience) were super patient and the word jazz artists will end up with some terrific footage.
In the fall I plan to release an Internet TV show that includes spoken word, cabaret, burlesque, various genres of music and comedy. More on that down the road…thanks to Robert Saxe for taking photos for us!
I love my loft! Also this week, the beautiful girl next door (actually there are many beautiful girls in the warehouse) organized a movie screening by Martin Heath of CineCycle Fame.
(http://www.super8porter.ca/CineCycle.htm) CineCycle is located in an old coach house down the lane behind 129 Spadina Avenue. Martin has been showing films (8mm to 35mm) for 21 years and has hosted some of the wildest parties imaginable. My driveway was turned into a giant screening room and the weather was perfect for the fifty-plus who attended.
It went into the wee hours…and then of course, back up at 5:30 to head into JAZZ.FM91 to co-host the morning show with my pal Heather Bambrick. Sleep? That’s just being lazy!
Thursday I hit Yuk Yuk’s with Captain Paul Barbour. I don’t think we’ve laughed so hard in years! The long list of A-List comics – hosted by Ralph Benmergui – all donated their performance to help raise money for Mike MacDonald, one of Canada’s most brilliant stand-up comedians. Mike has some serious health issues and Mark Breslin’s Yuk Yuk locations across the country have set up nights to raise money for him. What a sweet thing to do – Mike says he feels like Jimmy Stewart in the movie “It’s A Wonderful Life” which I can say with certainty is the first time he ever felt like Jimmy Stewart!
I know I post a lot of stuff about sailing but in the summer – well, I just can’t help it! Genevieve Marentette is back in town for a couple months and I expect we’ll get a whole lot of fresh air and sunshine in July. We had enough wind to sail halfway to the U.S. before heading home. It was a perfect afternoon!
Saturday was a day I will always remember. I travelled by RV to Muskoka the night before so I would be feeling fresh for the arrival of the S.S.Keewatin; an Edwardian-era passenger steamship that was launched before the Titanic and has a track record of zero deaths.
It spent four decades in the U.S. but Gil Blutrich and Skyline Investment purchased it and had it come home to Port McNicholl (near Midland). Upon arrival I was pleased to be invited to observe the ship from the air…and then go back just before it docked.
About a thousand locals gathered – there was a huge choir, natives dancing, bagpipes playing and some heartfelt speeches by people from Skyline and local folk who once worked on the ship back in the day. I felt like an extra from the movie “So Dear To My Heart”…everyone in this pretty small town were so excited and friendly. As much as I love Toronto, sometimes it feels so good to get away for a couple days!
The TD Toronto Jazz Festival is on now and I’ve been racing around town seeing live jazz, and will continue all this week. Last week the most outstanding shows included Genevieve Marentette, Hiromi and The Bad Plus.
Genevieve (or Gigi as she is called in Asia) put together an all-star band for a show at Lambton Golf & Country Club. The place was packed and incredibly attentive. Her repertoire went from torch songs and ballads to swing, bebop and bossa nova. The band were having as much fun as the audience, and I can only hope she’ll record with this band while she’s in Toronto for the summer.
Hiromi: The Trio Project blew the roof off the tent at City Hall on Sunday night. While she might have technically been the opening act, after her set there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that it was a double bill! The crowd insisted she do an encore and her last song was so playful I can only compare it to Yello Magic Orchestra, which was Ryuichi Sakamoto’s pop project in the early 80’s. Hiromi has been called “the Jimi Hendrix of the piano” and I can see why! The crowd adored her and I hope she returns to Toronto later this year for a show. Somebody put her in Massey Hall please!!! My gorgeous date, Laura Desiree really enjoyed The Bad Plus.
The band has been around over a decade but always as a trio. Adding Joshua Redman to the mix, they played up-tempo ballads (drummer David King keeps things moving along so even a ballad is never sleepy) and were remarkably tight considering how new the material was. It was a perfect night of 21st century jazz.
COMING UP THIS WEEK:
So much jazz! Check out www.torontojazz.com for all the listings.
Melody Gardot has a show that is not part of the festival and is totally sold out, but most other places I’m hitting this week will have tickets for sale. The George Lake Big Band will hold a special concert featuring June Garber on June 29 at Hugh’s Room. June is leaving for Florida at the end of the summer and we’ll all miss her. Show is at 8:30 Friday and you can get tickets at the door or in advance at http://www.hughsroom.com. On Saturday, after I host my radio show Jazz In The City live from City Hall (come say hi!) I will beeline to The Blue Dot Gallery in The Distillery District to see Genevieve Marentette again. The concert includes dinner! For ticket info visit www.thebluedotgallery.com