Happy New Year Indeed! The end of 2013 was brilliant and 2014 has certainly started off with a bang! A few days before New Years Eve I hosted a salon night at my Liberty Village loft and it was a memorable night with tons of phenomenal musicians and wonderful singers.
Many friends are either entertainers or are working on New Years Eve so this was like a rehearsal…in many ways it was just as fun as the actual night!
I enjoyed a long lunch with Jessica Pelchat to end the year. She designed my website http://www.jaymzbee.ca and I recently discovered she can sing and act too. What a girl! Adventures in February to follow!
On December 31st I acted as musical director (my ninth year) of the Massey Hall Comedy Extravaganza, hosted by Jeremy Hotz.
This was the fourth year in a row that Bonzai Suzuki provided some warm-up tunes, stings for the comics and Auld Lang Syne at the end. Dave Howard, Sahra Featherstone, Barbra Lica and Great Bob Scott were all in stitches enjoying the stand-up; sitting on stage throughout the night…and our special guest, tuxed0-clad Roger Clown recited “Miss Jackson”, originally by Outkast and featured on an old CD I did with Dave Howard from the turn of the century called “Sub Urban” by Jaymz Bee & The Deep Lounge Coalition.
As usual, every comic killed…Mark Breslin (founder of Yuk Yuk’s) really knows how to pick ’em. After the packed Massey Hall show (which ended at 10:30) a bunch of us bee-lined to my loft for countdown. It wasn’t a party per se, just a dozen friends drinking champagne for a couple hours…but it was a perfect mellow way to ring in the New Year.
After a few very cold days, it was time to get on a SUNWING plane and hit Panama City for their 11th annual jazz festival. Ross Porter (Prez and CEO of JAZZ.FM91) joined me and 26 donors for a week in this exciting, friendly city.
We checked out some great jazz concerts while making sure to take time to do some sight-seeing. A tour of the Panama Canal was fascinating and relaxing…we partied in the Old Town at night and all of us were invited to the opening night VIP Party of the jazz fest which featured a huge group of young dancers, percussionists and singers.
Probably my favourite moment of the trip musically was the group of students from Berklee who showcased three times during the fest.
The show at Danillo’s Jazz Bar was like cinematic bebop…and I saw the club two days earlier and it was still full of sawdust and drywall…amazing how fast it was completed! The people of Panama are very sweet and the temperature ranged from 23 to 30 degrees for our entire stay.
I had invited Sahra Featherstone to join me in Costa Rica (our third year in a row in paradise) – and then realized she could just do both, a week in Panama and a week in CR. Two-weeks-in-the-sun might seem like an extravagant birthday present, but after almost two decades of best-friend-ed-ness, she deserves it! We travel so well together!
Sahra and I loved our time in Panama but as we were in the city the entire time, we are now really looking forward to time in Costa Rica. Our mutual pal, Melissa Shouldice, is coming to join us for a few days and we’ll get down to Jaco Beach to party with Lalena who we make sure to hang with every year when we hit CR.
Next blog…way more photos from our adventures in Panama (the best shots were taken by OPC’s…Other People’s Cameras) and a whack of Costa Rica pics.
If there is one thing about the beginning of 2014 I can say: I am grateful. Having such memorable adventures with my best friend is not something I take for granted. Time slows right down here and Sahra and I are having a ton of laughs, eating healthy and doing a lot of hiking and swimming. More stories to follow!