PLEASE NOTE: All the great shots of Lula Lounge are by Don Dixon / Asylum Artists. (If not they will be identified.) It means so much to have great images and I am the first to testify on behalf of professional photographers who take photos and donate them to assist in promoting an artist…it’s a noble mission!
I find it easy to avoid the February blahs…by simply going out to see as many bands as possible in this month! Yeah it’s cold and taxis ain’t cheap, but aside from a few loft parties I try to leave my cozy abode on a regular basis.
As usual it was led by an all-star band that starred Robi Botos on piano, Dave Young on bass, Mark Kelso on drums and Tony Quarrington on guitar.
Also during the night special musical guests included saxophonists Rich Underhill, Gene Hardy, Peter Cheslie and Jacob Gorzhaltsan and guitarist Andy Mac!
I had such a riot singing with Don Francks…and Barbra Lica and Amy McConnell were brilliant as always.
Other highlights included songs by Cadence, Samantha Clayton, Maureen Kennedy, Ori Dagan and Carolyn Credico. Everyone had such a blast!
On Friday I hosted a “Classic Jazz Safari” and took 20 people to four jazz clubs, starting with Pam Hyatt at Dominion on Queen. She sang hilarious ditties – many were anti-love songs – and the audience lapped it up.
My date, Jessica Ferg and I enjoyed dejavu hitting the to Old Mill (she was my Valentine last year and we hit the same place) …
and then it was off to the Jazz Bistro for traditional Valentine’s Day classics… and finally to a new club at 669 College (East of the Mod Club) called Touche Martini Bar.
Alan Heatherington promised some serious Brazillian jazz and man; did he and his band deliver! We packed the little joint – and everyone was so friendly. We’ll be back!
Saturday night I hosted the Big Band Jazz Safari along with my special guest, broadcaster Glenn Woodcock, who has hosted The Big Bands on 91.1 for way over thirty years. Sheena Turcotte came in from Montreal and we painted the town, danced and even sang at our last stop. Once again we started at Dominion On Queen.
The food is remarkable for the price and parking is easier than Queen West – so it’s a logical place for a safari of 50 people to begin. The Big City Big Band provided top notch entertainment over dinner.
Serious charts, great grooves and some solid solos; most notably from trumpeter Howard Leathers. There are whispers they will record a CD soon…can’t wait! Next stop was Dovercourt House for The George Lake Big Band. The joint was jumpin…half the dancers were new and half looked like seasoned pros: It’s always one of the most popular stops on a jazz safari. Nobody wanted to leave!
We had a pit stop at Gladstone Hotel to see The Uptown Swing Band and I sang Mini The Moocher with the gang. It was great to see Daniel Guerrette at the show. He was a little kid playing drums with the JAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band at the age of thirteen and now four years later is “all growed up”.
We ended our Saturday night safari with Swing Shift Big Band at Palais Royale. The Palais is always classy and Sheena and I had a blast singing with the band. Four big bands and almost fifty musicians in one night. Wow!
Sunday I went out for dinner with Jessica Pelchat, her son Hayden and our hilarious pal Jennica. Big laughs and tons of Indian food…I’m still full a day later writing this. Skylark in Little India is one of my favourite restaurants but I have to admit there are so many good ones, like College Street’s Little Italy, it’s really hard to not have a perfect meal. After dinner I went up to sing at a Tribute to Tony Quarrington. (I have to admit, singing four days in a row is super rare for me.) I performed a song Tony wrote for me long ago called “Why Don’t They All Love Jazz?” Joe Hall followed…and then dozens of other people Tony has performed and recorded with took turns. He’s a brilliant musician who totally deserved the four hour tribute! Speaking of Tony Q; based on the feedback from our last few performances, Tony, Don Francks and I are planning to record a CD in the next few months. More on that next week…meanwhile get your tix for FEB. 27th (by making dinner reservations; otherwise you just show up at the door) at LULA LOUNGE. EARLY SHOW: Doors 6:30, show 7:30 over by 9:30!