I began my week sailing with friends on a sunny Monday afternoon. Sahra, Roz and Andrea have plenty of “sailing points” racked up with me and Captain Paul but on this occasion I brought along Andy Perez, who is head publicist with Cavalia’s Odysseo which is on now in the worlds largest tent in Toronto’s Portlands.
Andy has a wicked sense of humour and everyone had a blast.
I popped by The Underground at The Drake Hotel early this week to catch a set by a young pop singer named Andria Simone. Music publicist Jane Harbury suggested I check her out and I always do what Jane tells me. Her band reminded me of the back-up band Elise LeGrow used in the same venue a few months back: Young hipsters who knew how to play a variety of musical styles and had some moves to boot. The show wasn’t quite as polished as Elise and crew but Andria is a promising singer I will certainly keep my eyes out for another show soon.
Many people tell me they find it strange that I can go out to a club at night and still bounce out of bed at 5:30am for my morning radio gig at JAZZ.FM91. I’ve been doing this for so long that it doesn’t seem odd at all to me, and the fact that I work with Heather Bambrick and Tim Keele every morning makes me happy to get out of bed: We laugh all the time! I also love seeing my little buddy Jess on a daily basis.
She is our head of promotions and comes in before everyone else. Her dad is Lorne Frohman; one of my best pals and one of the funniest guys I’ve ever met, (he has won Emmy’s as a comedy writer). His warped sense of humour has rubbed off on her just fine. Jess helps me plan and orchestrate International Jazz Safaris to places like Havana, Chicago and New Orleans. Currently we offer a trip to New York, since our excursion to The Monterey Jazz Festival is totally full. Safaris are for high-end donors to JAZZ.FM, a not-for-profit enterprise that I have been working with for almost a decade now. Anyone can get info at www.jazz.fm
The Markham Jazz Festival happened this past week and I spent three days checking out all kinds of great music. Thursday was a blues concert at The Markham Theatre that featured Harrison Kennedy, Fathead, Shakura S’Aida and more.
The organizers asked me to fill time while they changed the set around so I broke into some comedy with lame impressions, name that tune on Kazoo and one really good joke. It was really fun and I think I’m itching to emcee a few shows at Yuk Yuk’s soon.
Friday I took two of my favourite blondes out to lunch at Barberian’s Steakhouse. (I love this restaurant so much there is a separate piece on it in my “For Foodies” section of my blog.) Seared tuna all around! Jessica Pelchat moved here from Montreal last December and her company, www.EcoChartreuse.com, does everything from producing big scale charity and corporate events to designing websites. My site, www.jaymzbee.ca will be up by this time next week! Jessica has done a great job! My other lunch date, Pam Hyatt, is a singer/actor and comedienne of the highest order. I am helping her create a CD of her live show PAMALOT, which features songs and anecdotes…it’ll be coming out first thing in November! The meal was perfect and after it I bee-lined to meet Audrey Nesbitt, who has worked with me in PR, most notably for www.bullhorn.ca
I rarely get to see her though, since much of her work takes her to the U.S. for long periods. We met at the boat and joined Captain Paul and Elise LeGrow. Another great afternoon!
This was my sixth year as emcee; therefore I have figured out how to see every act, even if it’s just for a song or two. Most of my time was spent at the Millennium Stage, which was just fine with me since it had the best PA system…kudos to Fronteir Sound & Lights for doing a bang-up job. One minute there is a sixteen-piece band and the next a trio.
Tough gig for a two-man sound team but everything flowed beautifully. I felt spoiled by having a super friendly dude named Patrick as my personal driver for the weekend. He drove a BMW and enjoyed the music I provided from Thursday to Sunday. Yet another new friend in the Markham area! Michael Occhipinti did a great job booking diverse styles of jazz that included world music and some blues. Best of all: for the first time in years Mother Nature blessed us with pretty much perfect weather.
When I checked into my hotel room in Markham on Saturday night I noticed the toilet paper rolls were uneven. I laughed thinking “oh, damn, I almost had a perfect weekend and now I find that housekeeping didn’t prepare my room properly!” If that’s my biggest problem of my week, I must be living next door to Paradise!
COMING UP THIS WEEK
I’m going to The AGO to see the Picasso exhibit. I’ve got some jazz safaris so that means at least ten bands to check out this weekend and on Tuesday (tomorrow) I will emcee a benefit for Performing Artists Lodge (PAL) featuring Pam Hyatt, Peter Hill, Sam Broverman, Lisa Particelli, Andrea Koziol and Ian DeSouza. The show is at 110 The Esplanade and starts at 8 sharp. Info at firstname.lastname@example.org