It’s been a couple of weeks since my last post. I intend to do this weekly, but as this is more of a “dear diary” than a job (uh, nobody pays me for this blog) I refuse to feel deadline pressure. This summer has been busier than any summer I can recall: Between hosting jazz safaris, researching some new hotspots and booking/promoting a bunch of concerts for JAZZ.FM91, it’s been a whirlwind and I can’t believe The Ex (signalling “end of summer”) opened just now. Wow.
I’ve had some good times in the past couple weeks, including seeing a ton of concerts! Most of these shows were at the Newport Jazz Festival; part of the JAZZ.FM International Jazz Safari to Rhode Island.
There is no way I can pick a favourite act: Gregory Porter, Trombone Shorty, Jon Baptiste and Ceclie McLorin Salvant all gave stellar performances – and legends like Dick Hyman,
Lee Konitz (with Grace Kelly) and Ron Carter were as magical as ever. I was surprised how many tricks John Zorn had up his sleeve…he held a marathon concert with a diverse ensemble and went from experimental to mellow soundtrack music to progrock…it was really exciting!
The most memorable show was at the Tennis Hall of Fame…where Deedee Bridgewater and Wynton Marsalis held “court”. The venue was gorgeous, the weather was perfect and the music was unforgettable.
I rented a bike and cycled all over Newport…I enjoyed checking out some of the mansions and also had the best tuna steak of the past five years at a place called 22 Bowden’s Wharf.
Normally after a trip I have a day to decompress but not on this occasion – I returned to Toronto to stage manage (and often emcee) five shows in a row at Hugh’s Room for The JAZZ.FM World Music Festival.
Abdoulaye Alhassane Toure put on a remarkable show! He had a delay at the border so the band had to rehearse three hours before the show and they nailed everything! Complex rhythms don’t scare Mark Kelso, Artie Roth or Ernie Tollar. These musicians are as fearless as they are talented. Wonderful concerts from Minor Empire, Lorraine Klaasen and Nomadica followed. Finally to wrap up the series, Harold and Ruy Lopez-Nussa came up from Cuba for a show.
They were joined by bassist Roberto Riveron and blew the roof off of Hugh’s Room. I’m so happy they are coming back to do three nights at Jazz Bistro (www.jazzbistro.ca for tickets) in October cuz everyone wanted more! I’d met them in April when I booked them for Jazz Lives (the biggest JAZZ.FM concert of the year) and invited them to stay at my loft instead of a hotel.
That included a free breakfast at 25 Liberty, sailing and a BBQ with my neighbours. The brothers performed in my loft before heading to Niagara Falls and then back to Cuba.
more live music…
and also coming up this week…MORE SAILING!