What a fast week! Time flies when you are having fun and there is no shortage of that…despite the weather being cold and wet.
Monday I enjoyed Scarlett Jane twice…they played Yonge-Dundas Square and Lula Lounge and if these girls weren’t my good friends I’d want to see them anyway as their songwriting is top notch and their harmonies are as gorgeous as they are!
On Tuesday I was treated to an amazing meal, thanks to Afrah Gouda, the Egyptian Love Goddess.
I met Afrah about fifteen years ago at a party and we’ve made time for each other once or twice a month ever since! She made some killer martinis, then we shared a bottle of fine wine and then went to Yorkville for sushi.
On Saturday morning the strangest thing happened…I rocked out with my old pals from the early nineties…it was a Look People rehearsal, the first since 1993…and we killed it! Kevin Hearn’s house serves as our H.Q. and it was a unique feeling to do complicated rock music with no sheet music or lyrics in sight. I purposely chose to do the first rehearsal from memory and the guys played tighter than I would imagine is possible.
We are doing a performance at The Electric-Eclectic Festival near Meaford Ontario in August and are discussing the possibility of doing one show around Halloween in downtown Toronto. For now, only the EE Fest is for sure! Get your tickets and info at:
I was a tad hungover at the Look People rehearsal but that was apropos because back in the day we were all hungover at rehearsals. We rocked hard till 1pm and then Kevin had to jump on a plane to Lou Reeds house. Yeah, I just said that. (Kevin plays in Lou’s band and they’ve become good friends. Both have had their health battles which I’m sure creates a friendship bond closer than most.)
Friday night I provided another tour for JAZZ.FM91 donors…and Melissa Bourne, an actress and singer I’ve known for about a decade was my special guest.
On Saturday night – you guessed it – another jazz safari and this one was with Mary B! Our night culminated with a dance party at Dovercourt House featuring Alex Pangman and Her Alley Cats!
This dance night on Dovercourt features different local swing bands every Saturday and is a ton of fun every time. You can get info at http://www.odd-socks.org
Sunday I was interviewed for a documentary about jazz drummer Aubrey Dayle and his recent kidney transplant…which reminds me to remind you: Did you go to http://www.beadonor.ca and fill out your organ donor card on your license? Save a life after you die, whydoncha?
After this I picked up Melissa Shouldice and we strolled over to Roy Thomson Hall for a classical concert…or so I thought!
Upon arrival, I realized the performance was up in North York so with no time to get up there we decided to go to TIFF Bell Lightbox and see a film. We didn’t know any of them but opted for “Around The World In 80 Minutes” cuz I imagined how sweet it would be to take this bona fide Goddess to a beautiful movie. It turned out to be a series of short films with everything from a Transexual non-love-affair (thankfully not violent) to a father who discoveries his son (with Down Syndrome) is gay for a local TV news weatherman. We couldn’t walk out – that would be politically incorrect! Awkward!
Suffice to say it was an unforgettable afternoon. To make up for it we had a great meal at Canteen and then to Jazz Bistro for champagne and a wonderful concert in celebration of Norman Marshall Villeneuve’s 75th birthday! And now…the best photos for last (thanks to DON DIXON who supplied the shots below)!!!
Thursday night I produced and hosted my 11th One Stop Vocal Jazz Safari, which benefits JAZZ.FM91.
80 donors, 26 singers and a killer four piece band (plus a few special guest musicians like Tony Quarrington and Danny Marks) led by pianist John Sherwood – all congregated for an unbelievable and unforgettable evening.
Having 26 singers in a show from 7pm-10:15pm seems daunting, but after years of this it tends to go off without a hiccup.
There are too many singers to list here but I’ve attached a few pictures to give you an idea how amazing this show is. The next is in late November…only people who donate $250 or more per year are eligible to come to it.
I won’t do the math but suffice to say with 80-100 at every show, this has made the station some good money.
The band are paid well, the singers get an honorarium and drinks for doing just one song and more than anything, we all get to hang in one room – music lovers and musicians – and celebrate our good fortune.
Toronto has an embarrassment of riches…there are still some singers who have never done this show yet.
I always book some singers who are well known but also draw 10 names from a hat of singers who aren’t famous but deserve to be included on a showcase like this. No weak links here – and tons of variety. It’s one of the things I love best about my job at JAZZ.FM91…producing concerts and events!
And a footnote: Barbra Lica sported three very different looks for each show this past week. Watch out…superstar on the rise…sez me! I expect by this time next year she’ll have a 2nd CD out that will blast her into the stratosphere!