Monday I woke up in a seedy motel in North Bay. It was great seeing my folks on Thanksgiving but I had to get back home to be at work Tuesday morn. Captain Paul drove me as far as Barrie and then I joined a very long line for the next bus to Toronto. Being the end of Thanksgiving weekend you’d think they’d have busses lined up at the ready…but no. I was lucky in the end, getting the second last seat on the bus. There were over a hundred behind me.
Tuesday I had lunch with Don Francks and we talked about a CD he is releasing from a brilliant series at The Top O’ The Senator. The concerts were the first time I’d seen Don perform live and I went four out of five nights, each time bringing new people with me. I still think he’s one of the coolest dudes this countries ever produced…as an actor, writer, thinker and jazz singer…he’s a human marvel!
I had an interesting meeting at Unsion Benevolent Fund on Wednesday. I sit on their board of directors and we are down to the final stretch of fund raising before we can launch. This must happen by spring but if we can raise about $150,000 between now and then we can launch earlier. This fund help those in the music industry facing a crisis…help lines, referrals and actual cash when warranted. I know so many musicians who appreciate our health care system (U.S. readers – don’t believe Fox – we’re fine, thanks) but that doesn’t pay the rent or feed the kids. For more info check out www.unisonfund.ca Thursday was banana cuckoo! I started with cocktails at the King Edward Hotel with Pamalot and Princess Heather…we talked about ways to plug Pam Hyatt’s show (with Peter Hill) at Hugh’s Room on Monday November 5th. We came up with many ideas and here’s one:
HEY EVERYONE. Why not go buy a ticket NOW for Pamalot at Hugh’s Room?! They are just twenty bucks and the show will be a scream. At 8:30 Pam and Peter will perform their entire CD. The second set will be Barbra Lica and I with a bunch of friends including Big Rude Jake, Roger Clown, Era Chorna and Mark Kieswetter on the grand piano, doing songs with humour. For those of you with work or school the next day (uh, I’m up at 5:30 every morn) you’ll be glad to know the show ends before 11.
After our meeting I walked down the alley to a nearby restaurant…BRAVI.CA at 40 Wellington (a few doors West of Reservoir Lounge) had terrific food and service…and wine! My God they had some fine wine! I’ve seen William Sperandei play his magnificent trumpet (a horn that literally makes one horny) on so many occasions I’m happy to have lost count. He just finished a CD with Amy McConnell called “Stealing Genius” and have a great CD launch at the Gladstone Hotel Ballroom at 8pm on November. 8th. Info at http://mcconnellsperandei.com/ After a great meal and perfect wine (thanks to Feisal Patel) I went to see Alex Pangman at Cherry Street Restaurant for a perfect set of timeless jazz…mostly songs from the thirties. Friday it was off to New York City for another International Jazz Safari. I had ten couples with me, plus Ross Porter and Jess Frohman from JAZZ.FM91. Flying with Porter Airlines is an experience unsurpassed…it was fast and friendly…not even a line up when we hit New Jersey.
A twenty minute bus ride and bingo – we arrived at our hotel near Times Square. I had lunch with a friend over at Sony Music and then took my crew to three clubs. It began at Blue Note with Dave Grusin and Lee Ritenour. I never noticed how much John Patticcui looks like Al Bundy from Married With Children…and Diane Schuur was a super special guest. She did a version of “Louisiana Sunday Afternoon” that totally rocked the house! We saw Bill Charplap Trio at Village Vangaurd and African jazz at Zinc Bar.
One donor was 93 and partied with me till 3am! The next day I walked the streets, sight seeing and shopping solo, and then hit a comedy gala with Jerry Seinfeld, Louis CK, Tina Fey and countless others. It was hosted by Jon Stewart.
Funny as it was, I had to split before it was over because I wanted to see a set from Chris Norton at Toshi’s Living Room and boy am I glad I went. It’s the new hotspot in New York – I’ll be back and next time I plan to stay at the hotel above the club!
Finally, a major bash at The Rum Room in The Edison Hotel. Some of my favourite New Yorkers and a handful of Toronto friends congregated for the booziest night I’ve had this year. Sunday I flew back with a major
hangover…c’est la Bee!
Saturday will be totally surreal! The Toronto Zombie Walk meets at noon at City Hall and Sun Ra Arkestra at Regent Park that afternoon… a free show. I’ll be dancing to trippy music as a Zombie…can’t wait!