Last week began with a visit from an old friend who is doing big things…JILL BARBER just released a jazz CD and it’s been going up and down the top of the iTunes charts for weeks now. It’s called “Chansons” and it’s all in French. Her CD “Chances” from a few years back is still in the top five…years later! We enjoyed a quick dinner at my loft and then she was off to JAZZ.FM91 to perform a live concert. As Jill split, Laura Desiree arrived and we drank wine while listening to Jill…then we watched some hilarious video shorts and chilled till ’round midnight.
On Tuesday, Alex Pangman came over for lunch and I showed her a new TV show starring Noel Fielding, who we both love so much in The Mighty Boosh, a BBC show that I suppose is a bit like Mick Jagger in Pee Wee’s Play House. This new show is called “Luxury Comedy” and while it is amusing here and there – it is more strange than funny – which we both agreed is probably because Noel doesn’t have his old partner, Julian Barratt to joke with. Still, it’s worth a look…but definitely check out The Mighty Boosh on DVD if you haven’t yet. (I ordered my box set from my fave little DVD shop, Eyesore Cinema, 801 Queen West on top of Rotate This. 416.955.1599)
I enjoyed hosting another jazz safari on Friday night. I brought 16 people to five clubs and as always, we enjoyed every stop and were happily pooped by the end of the night. We began with a brilliant guitar duo over dinner at HABITS GASTRO PUB on College Street. Everything was delicious – especially the octopus and onion rings. Then it was over to Alliance-Francais to enjoy Eric St. Laurent on guitar and Michel DeQuavado on percussion. They blended classical, latin and other world music into their jazz…and the audience went nuts for it. Check out their site for future shows…everyone is very friendly at ALLIANCE-FRANCAISE and I know I’ll be back for other events. Then off to THE OLD MILL INN‘s Home Smith Bar to see SAM BROVERMAN sing. He was joined by bassist Jordan O’Connor (who normally is the third member of The Eric St. Laurent Trio) and pianist Peter Hill. I have been a fan of his for years and I expect he’ll become renowned any day now as one of Canada’s best male crooners. I bumped into a Mick Jagger look-a-like while I was there and shared some Stones stories from my many adventures backstage and at events with the worlds most famous rock band.
We beelined to GATE 403 to have our asses nicely kicked by bluesman Sweet Derrick and his band…and wrapped things up with some solo piano at Pantages Hotel.
On Saturday I hosted the very first JAZZ.FM91 Loft Party! The idea was to recreate the vibe of the salon nights I host in my loft near the station, but by using our Long & McQuade Performance Hall and other rooms at JAZZ.FM H.Q. I could accommodate many more people. Performers included Mark Kieswetter, Tony Quarrington, George Koller, Big Rude Jake, Julie Michels, Pam Hyatt, Sam Broverman, and Roger Clown, among others. We had 100 donors show up and some very special guests including a Mentalist (BOBBY MOTTA),
DINA KOO provided the food, MILL STREET BREWERY provided the beer and we sampled some fine wines, red and white, courtesy ofCHURCHILL CELLARS . What a bash! Big thanks to ERIC BARNTESS who is the most talented lighting dude I’ve ever worked with.
His lighting in all the rooms added ambience and the light show he did for the Triodes was outrageously wild, especially considering how small and almost invisible the lights were.
On Sunday I went to Harry’s Restaurant with Hisaka and met up with my childhood friend Bazl for brekkie. After eggs, I took them to my place and showed them scenes from some crazy Japanese films including “Detroit Metal City” and “Big Man Japan”. Hilarious and strange stuff!
I spent the evening rather frustrated. I decided to stay in and because my building does not receive cable, I tried watching The Academy Awards on-line…streamed by CTV. I haven’t seen such crappy streaming in my life! The same three ads (whose products I can boycott easily) played every four minutes, often interrupting someone in mid-speech. It also froze and went-off line several times. They should hire a competent team or give up on streaming sez me! Anyway, I was happy for the winners in pretty much every category and loved Quentin Tarrantino’s speech the best. I was also glad Life of Pi picked up several Oscars as it was a remarkable film on so many levels. As for the host, Seth MacFarlane offended a little (as expected) but with not nearly as much edge as some of his younger fans might’ve hoped for. I’m sure it’s not a great gig: Knowing the media are likely to hate you the next morning must make it hard to know how far to take things. I was surprised that the media in general went after Seth and didn’t criticize the horrible mix of orchestra and vocals. Norah Jones, Dame Shirley Bassey and Adele all had their work cut out for them…only Barbra Streisand seemed more or less un-phased by the crappy orchestral playback.
COMING UP: Recording with Bonzai Suzuki this week, some theatre and of course another jazz safari!