Chez Bee Salon

163658_996491266840_48903918_54739204_2327806_nI love my loft. It’s a three minute walk to the JAZZ.FM91 studios, I have rehearsals in it with my band Bonzai Suzuki and I host loft parties fairly often, that seem to keep getting better. I am so fortunate to have the most awesome neighbours anyone could imagine: Two of them…Cheryl and Nikki, act as co-hosts, hanging coats and making drinks…Dave provides some gear when necessary and Mike Schram reads his brilliant and clever poetry! Invite a couple dozen friends – along with those who live in my building – and I’ve got 30 or more droping in for an old skool salon once or twice a month. It keeps me warm and fuzzy in the cold months: I never host parties at my place in the summer – I’d rather be sailing or out riding my bike!

Now, it’s no coincidence that my loft is close to work as I believe a shortcut to happiness is to avoiding commuting whenever possible. The past three years at Chez Bee have proven to be the best for hosting mellow parties, early on weeknights during the winter months.

Before I go any further, I’d like to share some photos from December 2013 taken by Tibi Hegyesi, a wonderful painter and photographer. I think his photos have captured the vibe of my loft parties better than anyone!Chez Bee 1

Jaymz Bee and Allan the puppet: That's Irritainment!

Jaymz Bee and Allan the puppet: That’s Irritainment!

Chez Bee 2

From 20 to 50 people congregate once or twice a month during!

From 20 to 50 people congregate once or twice a month at Chez Bee.

(By the way I’ve always given my homes a handle. The Bee Farm, The Bee Hive, Timely Manor…but Chez Bee is my favourite home so far! I’ve lived in most neighbourhoods in Toronto, in all manner of dwellings and I can say without hesitation that this place is my fave! 

I had a nice empty loft to start with!

I had a nice empty loft to start with!

Friends helped me scrub the place down before moving in!

Friends helped me scrub the place down before moving in!

Because my place isn’t huge, I try (often in vain) to keep it to about 30 people. Cozy! 168578_996491182010_48903918_54739201_5985523_nIn my old loft, about six years ago, I had a huge place on top of Druxy’s (at Liberty and Mowat) and had guests like Kenny Rankin, Kurt Elling, Bob Dorough and pianists Steve Koven, John Sherwood, Robert Scott and Laurence Hobgood…very small parties for the most part.

Does this make us horny?

Does this make us horny?

That's Irritaintment!

I’d rather hear Denis Keldie on the accordion!

Mark Kieswetter and a bevy of beauties: Julie Michels, Gigi, Lyne Tremblay, Era Chorna, June Garber and Barbra Lica. They all sang together at the end of the night. Somebody get me a TV show!

Pianist Mark Kieswetter and a bevy of beauties: Julie Michels, Gigi Marentette, Lyne Tremblay, Era Chorna, June Garber and Barbra Lica. They all sang together at the end of the night. Somebody get me a TV show!

Gigi, swingin' with Russ Little and Michael Kasehammer

Gigi, swingin’ with Russ Little and Michael Kasehammer

IMG_0731

Jake Wilkinson, Waylen Miki, Asher Ettinger and Genevieve Marentette...making beautiful music at Chez Bee.

Jake Wilkinson, Waylen Miki, Asher Ettinger, Tony Quarington and Genevieve Marentette…making beautiful music

In my current digs I try to mix up the guest list. Singers, musicians, poets, puppeteers, acrobats and some close friends who are not involved in the arts in any way. Also, sometimes I’ll invite a few new acquaintances on a hunch they’ll dig it.

The Heavyweights Brass Band played a Mardi Gras Party at Chez Bee! Wild!

The Heavyweights Brass Band played a Mardi Gras Party at Chez Bee! Wild!

Dee Kaye and Barbra Lica sing heartfelt duets!

Dee Kaye and Barbra Lica sing heartfelt duets!

Jay Douglas is a welcome regular at my loft parties. Here he sings with Waylen Miki, Leslie Huyer, Mark McLean and Tony Quarrington backing him up.

Jay Douglas is a welcome regular at my loft parties. Here he sings with Waylen Miki, Leslie Huyer, Mark McLean and Tony Quarrington backing him up.

Russel DeCarle played to a grateful crowd. Alex Pangman and Melissa Shouldice in the audience would inspire any man to sing extra sweet!

Russel DeCarle played to a grateful crowd. Alex Pangman and Melissa Shouldice in the audience would inspire any man to sing extra sweet!

Mary and I with teen prodigy Anastasia Rizikoff...she sounds much better solo!

Mary and I with teen prodigy Anastasia Rizikoff…she sounds much better solo!

Waylen and Lyne getting sassy!

Waylen and Lyne getting sassy!

Allan and I perform with octo-groovy pianist Norman Amadio.

Allan and I perform with octo-groovy pianist Norman Amadio.

Sophia Perlman blows everyone away when she sings at my salon nights.

Sophia Perlman blows everyone away when she sings at my salon nights.

My parties remind me of sailing…there are so many changing factors at play…the experience is unique every time! I try to switch up the guest list often, make a theme occasionally and never know who will show up to play because even if someone says they are coming, the second a paying gig comes up they wisely take it. One time only singers and poets showed up – it turned out to be a beautiful and truly memorable evening. Sometimes five pianists show up. Tony Quarrington is an old friend and one of my few regulars. He plays all styles of guitar and loves the variety of single malt scotch I offer up – my kinda guy!

Sahra Featherstone and Andrea Ramolo!

Sahra Featherstone and Andrea Ramolo!

Waylen Miki, Ferg Marsh and Richard Underhill

Waylen Miki, Ferg Marsh and Richard Underhill

I love Florence K!

I love Florence K!

Mark Kieswetter, George Koller and Hisaka play some Japanese jazz.

Mark Kieswetter, George Koller and Hisaka play some Japanese jazz.

I have a nice neighbour!

I have a nice neighbour!

Peter Hill, Kevin Clarke, Chris Lamont and Chris Butcher playing New Orleans style jazz!

Peter Hill, Kevin Clarke, Chris Lamont and Chris Butcher playing New Orleans style jazz!

More pics to be added soon. Come on back!

One Response to Chez Bee Salon

  1. I want to speak to Allan the next time I’m over (…because SOMEONE should really warn him about you!… 🙂

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