I swear I’m trying to post a weekly diary for family and friends…and maybe a few fans or stumble-uponners…but this is a crazy season and I am one busy Bee…and since nobody’s paying me for a blog, (HINT HINT?) I’ll occasionally go two weeks before I post.
My pal Israel took me as his guest to a Hockey game at the ACC and I joked with the couple beside him saying “I know for a fact the Toronto Maple Leafs will get five goals and win the game tonight”. I only said this because I like the number five (as testified in the song “Five” by Look People). I have to admit I was as surprised as anyone when they actually did it! Israel got me a puck from the game as a souveneir. I know a ten year old kid who is about to be very happy!
Israel and I talked about the potential for a new club I intend to assist-with called “The Sandbox”. If it goes according to plan, sometime in 2015 there will be a new place to create and showcase music and art. And a whole lotta Don Francks. Stay tuned!
I have been seriously busy on the air at 91.1 (jazz.fm) recently…I do about four hours at a stretch, explaining how JAZZ.FM91 is a not-for-profit arts organization and not just a radio station. During our Fund Drive one morning ex-Mayor David Miller dropped by and helped us raise big bucks for the love of jazz. He avoided politics entirely and that said plenty. David is now President of World Wildlife Foundation Canada. I encourage you to visit his site: World Wildlife Foundation
Chris Norton was in town for two shows. One was at Lambton Golf Club which also featured Barbra Lica. Chris used Alex Pangman’s Alley Cats as his back-up band.
When offered the gig at Lambton he asked me to “hire that killer band from your birthday at Palais Royale”. It was a phenomenal show that reminded me of Louis Prima and Keely Smith from some hilarious old 50’s videos on YouTube.
Chris also appeared at the 12th One Stop Vocal Jazz Safari, a showcase of 24 singers in three hours with a stellar back up band. The band are really the heroes because they have to play in all styles: Latin, blues, bebop, swing, ballads and more. The band this time around was led by Adrean Farrugia on piano and also featured new-to-the-safari-saxman Michael Stuart and veteran one-stoppers Mark Kelso on drums and Ross MacInytre on bass. They all nailed it! Lula Lounge has been the host of these vocal shows every time and we’ve got it down to a science now. Howard Laurie is one of the best sound technicians in the country and the room is so cozy I can imagine hosting this anywhere else. (Uh, maybe The Winter Garden one day…)
The shows are only open to JAZZ.FM91 donors who contribute $250 or more in a year. It’s one heckuva thank you gift. A night never to be repeated and one nobody forgets. Some singers go on to do big things and some are already big. Molly Johnson, Errol Fisher, June Garber and Big Rude Jake have all appeared in the past. Here are some great shots from the night…thanks to Janet Jardine…I was too busy hosting and stage-managing to take any pics…and hers are always SO MUCH BETTER! 🙂
Last Monday I produced a show with Jazz FM at The Old Mill that featured Joey DeFrancesco with the JAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band. Sahra Featherstone and I enjoyed dinner, loved the concert and finally had time to catch up since she’s been off on tour for a couple months.
After some big band music, Sahra and I beelined to The Underground at The Drake Hotel where I did a short set with
Clay Tyson and Bazl Salazar. We were called The Bee People in 1984 and this is only the fourth or fifth time we’ve played since then. I have no idea what people make of it…but it’s punk fun! Seeing Groovy Religion, Neil Arabic, Tony (Bloo) Burgess and Frank Nevada was brilliant! Everyone had such great energy – it was truly a magical evening!
I had a wee loft party last week and was so happy that Brandi
Disterherft was in town! She’s been based in NYC but we’ve done tons of jazz gigs (and she played bass on the debut Bonzai Suzuki CD) and I really miss her. It was another perfect party where I had so much fun I didn’t remember to take photos!
Bob Dorough came into town Saturday and I took him club hopping which included Massey Hall (The Women In Blues Review), The Jazz Bistro (Steve Koven Trio blew the roof of the joint with a wild Monk tune), The Reservoir Lounge (with Tyler Yarema and his rhythm whooping it up) and finally over to Pantages for a night cap and some music from pianist Mark Eisenman. The next day I cooked dinner for Bob and Barbra Lica…Colleen Allen and Glenn Anderson joined us, and they ran some tunes for a sold-out show that happens the following day. I also took him to Lula Lounge to celebrate Holly Cole’s 50th. Upon entering Bob said “I’m a fan of Holly Cole but I don’t know her personally. Still, I didn’t expect to walk into a square dance in a Cuban nightclub!” It was full-on square dancing for a while, then some live music…a really nice vibe and a ton of well-known musicians who all made a fuss over Bob Dorough. (He was even stopped at Pantages by Jann Arden who asked him if he enjoyed being in Toronto.) Bob is turning 90 in a couple weeks and he inspires me to no end…Google him if you don’t know him already!
Don’t forget to get your tickets now (they are half sold out) for PALAIS ROYALE on December 20…a Friday night swing party with Alex Pangman and her Alley Cats with special guests Terra Hazelton, Roger Clown and Drew Jurecka. I emcee! Ticket info at http://www.palaisroyale.com