Mondays are always very busy at JAZZ.FM91, so there is nothing I like better than to have a friend over for dinner in the evening…and last Monday it was a special treat to have Genevieve Marentette and Melissa Bourne over to enjoy a feast from Thai Elephant who always have delicious food and prompt delivery. The next day I bee-lined to see Genevieve singing once again at Shangri-La Hotel. The service was much better than the previous week and music was even more amazing…Gigi was backed up by Mark Kieswetter on piano and George Koller on bass…she did a lot of rock and pop classics with a jazz twist. Tons of mutual friends showed up and I met a bunch of new folk who also loved the music; one gal even said “why don’t they just book this girl in here every day? This should be her living room!”
Wednesday I took the brilliant and bee-ootiful Shereen to Barberian’s Steakhouse for lunch and as always, it was perfect!
After lunch she snapped shots of Pam Hyatt and Peter Hill for the CD cover of PAMALOT that will be released on November 5th. I know it’s far away, but I encourage you to get tickets for the show soon…especially if you are a fan of Bea Arthur, Blossom Dearie or Libby Morris. She can be sweet, bawdy, hilarious and vulnerable…all in one song!
After Pam’s show Barbra Lica and I will perform some fun, quirky songs. Tickets for the November 5 show are at www.hughsroom.com (and while you are at it, pick up tix for Barbra Lica’s CD launch on October 2nd!) After a truly successful photo shoot I went to meet a great sax player named Bobby Hsu. I always love this guys playing, especially with Alex Samaras or Kingsley Etienne. Bobby heard about my fund raising project (taking 400 photos of people wearing my sunglasses) and wrote to me to say he had a great idea for a shot. As you can see, his idea was truly original.
I have now set up a Facebook file on my Jaymz Bee Fan Page of everyone…I’m only at about 130 photos into my 400 photo charity project so far…the first collage will be auctioned off at The JAZZ.FM91 tribute to Count Basie, November 12 at The Old Mill Inn. SUNGLASSES PAGE
Friday began with one of my favourite jazz musicians – the always suave, sincere and exuberant Russ Little. Russ wrote, performed and produced the theme to Second City’s SCTV…did you know that trumpet part was actually a trombone sped up? That’s not a need to know, but it is a nice to know. Russ joined the Canadian Jazz Quartet in a perfect, tasty set of jazz standards including a personal fave, “Green Dolphin Street”. Next stop was The Rex for The Maisies who sing three-part harmony, something similar to The Andrew Sisters. We crossed town to hit The Old Mill Inn to see Melissa Sytlianou who was up from New York. Melissa has a truly fantastic new album called “Silent Movie”. After a set we headed back downtown to The Reservoir Lounge for Dee Dee & The Dirty Martinis and finally to The Pantages Hotel for Kory Livingston. It was great to have Mike Theodore (brother of my ol’ buddy ROBBIE ROX) on the jazz safari. It was a perfect night on the town!
Saturday proved to be even wilder night on as I had two busses and shared tour guide duties with Heather Bambrick. Heather and I hang every morning on 91.1 and I’ve known her since she went to scale school at U of T. We toured North America together with The Royal Jelly Orchestra when she sang with The Beehive Singers. She’s a riot and is one of the few people I can think of perfectly suited to host a Jazz Safari. Heather had one bus of donors, I had another and we criss-crossed the city, ending up all together at The Flying Beaver Pubaret for some a live sing-song with Lisa Evans & Lyne Tremblay, accompanied by pianist Adrean Farrugia.
Also on Saturday, my loft was abuzz with excitement. It began with a yard sale some of my neighbours organized. Then there was an afternoon concert by a group of cyclists, who played a heartfelt version of St. James Infirmary. I loved that the vocalist sang out of a Megaphone. There was a bike show in the afternoon and a film screen in the parking lot at night.
As always, the party went into the wee hours although I admit I was thankful it was quieter than our last warehouse party as I had to get up the next morning and head out at 9am for Brantford to host the last day of their jazz festival. Frank DeFelice and his crew do a bang-up job of this annual festival and I know that it only looks easy to pull off an event like this because of serious planning, hard work and awesome volunteers!
The four acts on the main stage were marvellous: Michael Danso, Moda Eterna, Shuffle Demons and Buckwheat Zydeco. All in all, this past week I saw 22 bands. What a life!
I’m off to Monterey Jazz Festival this Thursday. In the evening I’ll be at a dinner event with Clint Eastwood. Then concerts by Melody Gardot, Tony Bennett and tons more! Come back next Monday and I can promise some tall tales!