For those who wrote to ask where the blog was last week…I try to do this weekly but once a season I just get too swamped to get it up, per se.
Alex Pangman usually sings the first Thursday of the month with her band at Reservoir Lounge and on this particular Thursday I was extra happy to be available for her 7-9pm show. First of all, I love her voice, her band and her unique repertoire and I really love the staff at The Reservoir…it feels like my living room in there!
My date Zeynep and I beeline to a Robbie Rox concert at Lula Lounge after Alex, and witnessed some incredible talent…from folk to rock, blues to jazz…and I was asked on stage to testify about how much I love Rob Rox…so I did some spoken word to the packed house and told everyone how much positive influence Robbie has had on my career.
He’s such a positive loveable dude with such a foul, funny mouth.
I also recently saw Sam Broverman sing with a stellar bunch of musicians at his CD launch which took place at Paintbox Bistro. The venue needs to work on their stage lighting but the food was quite amazing (especially if you consider the reasonable price) and he sounded fantastic.
Sam gave us the stories behind the songs and featured all the members of his band…such tasteful solos! After Sam Broverman entertained the masses, I beelined home early (for a change) because my neighbourh had a party to celebrate the release of his short film called “Shooting Oliver”.
Tadhg MacMathuna is a brilliant actor…and while I admit that might be a recent discovery, I shouldn’t have been surprised since EVERYONE in my whareshouse is brilliant, whether they are a painter, poet, film maker, musician or whatever they set their mind to.
I’ve raved about my loft-mates (uh, we all have our own lofts,; but we do share an old building) and after seeing this film all I can say is if Spinal Tap ever need a new Nigel…you’ve got one in Tadhg MacMathuna. Watch the film here! SHOOTING OLIVER – THE SHORT FILM
Mantecca have a new CD “Monday Night At The Mensa Disco” and all I can say is if you have never bought a Manteca CD, there is no time like the present. No…seriously…this band is incredible and after selling over 100,000 albums (the new disc is their 11th) they’ve never sounded better. The show was at Monarch Tavern and they took over a ton of real estate…with the rhythm section in one-half of the room and the horn section on the “black and white” stage. At $20 cover, it’s the best deal in town and they have one more show on December 13th…then expect to see them in theatres, halls and jazz festivals.
Diana Panton sang at The Old Mill for the JAZZ.FM91 Sound Of Toronto Jazz Series. Don Thompson put together a stellar band, which reminded me YET AGAIN why I love my job at Jazz FM so much! I take Remembrance Day seriously and hearing the band play timeless tunes (most from the “war era”) gave me goosebumps.
Another great day was spent with my new friend Israel…who took me on a tour of his “properties” downtown, as ell as an old church. He’s like my soul brother…and if I was as successful as Is is, (yup, I just said Is is)…I would likely be following his “shit turns to gold” method! Funny, but not ironic, that I met him through another totally successful man and one of my best friends, Gil Blutrich. Israel and I are now talking about throwing a party/concert in a church he bought in Alton…there’s got to be a great idea in there somewhere!
After our tour we stopped by Raaw Sushi in Liberty Village for a feast. I couldn’t help but notice the lighting made some strange shadows in the men’s room.
Last week I hit The Drake Hotel for The Purple Party with Brazilian singer Julianna Capuleto. Food, drink and friendly conversation helped raise over $100,000 for Childhood Cancer Treatment and Research.
I hosted a loft party last week that was so amazing I never thought to take a pic! What??? The salon nights at my place are always magical as anyone who has attended will attest; and maybe it was because I had actual cameras rolling for the first time…but I never thought to take out my camera once! (so here’s some old pics to illustrate; kinda sorta)
Don Francks blew everyone away when he sang “Smokin’ Reefer and Viper Man” with Steve Hunter at piano. A bunch of the usual suspects performed but it was an extra special treat to have Lyne Tremblay in from Montreal to sing and even Ron Sexmsith got up to croon a tune. The night ended with a little “Irritainment” from me and my puppet friend, Allen.
Last Friday I had one of the best nights of many moons…taking Mary B. to The Carlu for the second year in a row…the Arnold Party is a fantastic event every year and this one was jam packed with a Toronto’s Who’s Who list…Gordon Lightfoot and Ron Sexsmith enjoyed the festivities…Molly Johnson hosted and the after party featured a kick-ass set by Saidah Baba Talibah. Mary and I danced our legs off and it renewed my deep respect for the organization, Business For The Arts.
Philanthropy isn’t dead (as I know from the generous perpetual donors of JAZZ.FM91), it’s just really hard to find, so an organization like this is essential in the twenty-first century.
A fun party for a great cause! Mary B and I had a little dejavu, as we had attended the same event at the same venue – almost to the day – last earlier. After the party we beelined to my loft where I indoctrinated her into all things Ian Dury. Mary loves jazz but is not afraid to rock – years ago she told me how much she loved early records by The Stranglers…one of my faves too! As you may have noticed in previous posts (and as you are about to read) I have been on a Blockheads kick for a few weeks and I’ve booked LULA LOUNGE for a date in March where I will present my interpretations of Ian Dury with a band To Be Announced. (I rarely discuss upcoming projects on this blog – treating it more like a photo diary for my mom – but I’m too excited to keep shush. More soon.) My weekend was full of more Ian Dury praising. After the on-air Fund Drive at JAZZ.FM91 Alex Pangman came over and we discussed my idea of a tribute concert at Lula. We dug deep in You Tube to come up with videos of Ian Dury and The Blockheads we hadn’t seen yet. Sunday after brunch my pal Mel joined me for a quick Dury blast on the big screen and in the evening Jessica Pelchat joined me for dinner and even more Blockhead flumdummerry followed by a screening of Young Frankenstein. (I wish Marty Feldman made way more movies!)
It’s been a busy couple of weeks and the merriment will continue with my noble mission of raising money for JAZZ.FM91.
Did you know:
JAZZ.FM91 is a not-for-profit, registered charity? An Arts Organization that not only broadcasts at 91.1FM and www.jazz.fm but also provides education through our Jazz For Kids, Youth Big Band and Jazzolgoy programs and gives away scholarships and bursaries, working with organizations like The Archie Alleyne Scholarship Fund, The Peter Appleyard Scholarship Fund and The Ken Page Memorial Trust.
Become a member, will ya? When you do, make sure I know about it – it means a lot to know my friends but their money where their ears are. If it weren’t for people donating, there would be no 24 jazz radio in Canada!
All the info is at www.jazz.fm
And finally…I just found out a truly brilliant and kind friend has passed away. Almost everyone who knows the jazz singer June Garber also knew her husband Bob. He was one of the most romantic devils I ever met. He adored June and it showed. Women would constantly say “look how he looks at his wife when she sings…he’s sexy!” I even knew one young girl who decided her new boyfriend wasn’t worth staying with because he never looked at her that way. He set the bar high! He also designed my Bee Ring and said “June and I think that with Gino Empry’s passing there has to be somebody in town with a big tacky ring”! The Sunday Brunches by the pool are moments I’ll never forget.
Sahra Featherstone and I were blown away by the hospitality and I always looked forward to spending time with the two of them every summer, until they moved to Florida a couple years ago. I never thought for a moment I’d never see Bob again. My heart goes out to his Goddess. She has a thriving career in Florida so I doubt she’ll move back, but I hope she’ll visit soon because there are hundreds of hugs waiting for her by her many friends and fans.