Another full week in the big city! This past eight days I saw countless jazz concerts, hosted a One Stop Vocal Jazz Safari, a World Pride event, a speakeasy, retirement party, birthday bash and of course, sailing! I attended the launch party for “Lazy Afternoon” by Byron Belows, a charming gentleman I’ve known for decades. He’s a classical composer and beloved socialite – and you could tell from the size of the well-dressed crowd that his latest CD, “Lazy Afternoon” is going to be a big hit. I bought three copies!
Of all the shows I caught recently, a few are destined for the ol’ memory bank. I introduced HIROMI at Koerner Hall. She and her trio – Simon Phillips on drums and Anthony Jackson on bass – blew my mind.
As much prog-rock as jazz, it was the best of show I’ve ever seen from her. (But of course every show is incredible!)
After the show Sahra Featherstone and I beelined for Toni Bulloni to enjoy the last set from Sophia Perlman. I was really impressed how easy she made it look to play piano and sing. I’ve been a fan for ages but she’s always been standing at the mic.
I caught Don Francks Quintet at Dominion on Queen, Ian Shaw at Jazz Bistro and made it for the end of Manteca at Monarch’s Tavern… JOEY O’NEILL was visiting from Dawson City (yeah, Yukon!) and said it was great to remember what’s good about living in a big city.
Another triple-whammy began at The ROM where my buddy Jake Vanderham and I took in a concert that featured Julie Michels, Heather Bambrick, John Alcorn, Micah Barnes and Bill King (at the piano). After a set (with hors d’oeuvres and bubbly) we went down into the main party.
It was a dance party and museum adventure in one! We knew we were leaving before it peaked but there was a party waiting at The Horseshoe…Richard Flohil’s 80th Birthday! Richard is a wonderful story teller and a much-needed character in the Toronto music and entertainment scene.
His party was a OMG list of folk, rock, jazz, blues and gospel artists. I emceed the first set and Holger Petersen of STONY PLAIN RECORDS emceed the second.
Finally I raced over to see Scott Morin at his Jazz Sexy party. It was jam-packed and featured the usual assortment of local jazz greats jamming, as well as some musicians from Michael Buble’s band and wicked trumpeter Roy Hargrove as well! On Saturday after hosting my radio show at Nathan Phillips Square I jumped on my bike and beelined over to see Archie Alleyne performing his “last show”. He joked on the mic “I’m not doing club dates. But if you’ve got enough bread, call me and I’ll bring my kit over to your house and bang around!” Jackie Richardson toasted, roasted and sang with Archie and she was as relieved as I was to hear his retirement doesn’t mean he’ll never play the drums. Just waiting for the right circumstances and big bucks. At 81, he deserves to do whatever he wants!
I finally saw Irene Torres singing with her band THE SUGAR DEVILS and they were every bit as good as I’d imagined. I got a double-dose of Torres, as she also sang at the 14th One Stop Vocal Jazz Safari at Lula Lounge last week.
It was “the usual drill” with about 100 Jazz Fm donors enjoying a special concert that featured 30 singers in three hours with a stellar back up band led by Lou Pomani (piano) and featured Artie Roth (bass), Steve Heathcotte (drums) and Alison Young (sax).
Cadence wowed the house and then brought out their special surprise guest, David Clayton Thomas. Many in the audience, who had seen multiple “One Stop” showcases, said it was their favourite evening yet. Howard Laurie, the Lula Lounge soundman provided perfect fidelity and Lou ensured every vocalists came off brilliantly. These showcases are great fun to produce and host. The next is in February 2015.
A perfect sail occurred on Monday…Captain Paul and I met with friends and sailed all evening, getting back to our Harboufront slip just in time for the most impressive firework display I’ve ever seen in Canada. (It was like Thursday in Monaco!) OLG can take a bow for that … uh, but I am concerned with the environmental impact of so much smoke! Still, I ooed and ahhed with everyone else – the fireworks were so close (thankfully we were upwind) it was truly trippy!