Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Out and About

Colin James sailed through town to promote his upcoming CD Release (featuring all the old blues classics that introduced him to the blues). The band was top notch - not sure if this will be the touring unit. He said this was their first time playing together in 2 weeks. Steve Marriner (Monkey Junk and just announced M.C of the Maple Blues Awards), Jesse O'Brien, Chris Caddell on second guitar, John Dymond on bass and I don't know who on drums, but I saw Gary Craig in the house - who is usually joined at the hip with Dymond. Would have liked to see Al Baby Webster on drums but nothing is forever. Last time I saw Colin it was a big stage/special event somewhere, and he had 5 or 6 amps all on wheels and tied together so the roadie just pulled the train onto the stage. Now CJ seemed comfortable with a single Matchless amp (which is a Rolls Royce of an amp). This was a rare occasion to see him close up and personal and as you can see from the video, I was pretty damn close. This was filmed on my iPhone SE and edited with the iMovie app on the iPhone. That's a first for me. Enjoy

Speaking of the video, I wish I could have shared a clip of Ramblin Jack Elliot who played Hugh's Room on Sunday Night but there were big signs posted "No Video Recording or photos" in addition to a personal appeal from MC/promoter Richard Flohil for "no recording" as he introduced him. I guess they were thinking that at 85 he might not always have a good night but this would count as one. I was so glad to meet him, and as they always say when you get up to that age, you never know if you'll get the chance to see him again. And I was able to get him my CD with my song about our mutual friend, Alice Brock. In fact, he joked about the first time anyone ever shouted "shut up and sing" it was Ray Brock at the venue that I think later became one of Alice's Restaurants. He sang plenty of songs and didn't "ramble on" too much. He had some great stories and ended by telling us he was about to get on a plane (more like 3 planes) to go to Arizona where Kris Kristofferson was to be honoured with some kind of Lifetime Achievement Award. They asked Jack to sing three of Kris' songs but he says "I only know one, Me and Bobby McGhee, so I guess I'll just sing it three times."

@stevemarriner ripping it up with @colinjamesmusic. Hot band. More tunage on my blog when I get home. Go Jays!

via Instagram @brianblain

Friday, October 14, 2016

LA maestro Roger Kellaway with Neil Swainson and Terry Clarke @JazzBistroTO. They play again tonight. Hear the whole tune at

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Roger Kellaway at Jazz Bistro

Back in the early 70s I met a couple of great musicians who had just moved to Toronto, Chuck Aarons and Jim Ackley, known as Aarons and Ackley. I was crashing at a hippie commune at 127 Hazleton and they lived at 119 Hazleton. They were signed to Capitol Records and were on the fast track to the big time. I remember Jim Ackley talking about a piano player in his hometown, LA, that he was totally hooked on. He had a couple of his albums and played them for anyone that came to 119. That piano player was Roger Kellaway, who had an impressive resume even back then and has worked with everyone from Ellington to Elvis, Dizzy Gillespie to Yo-Yo Ma and Joni Mitchell to Mancini.

Well when my friend Peter invited me to the Bistro tonight I recognized the name right away and sure enough was not disappointed. He is no doubt a jazz giant, even though in his long career he has ventured far beyond straight-ahead jazz but here he is playing with a couple of local "jazz giants," Neil Swainson and Terry Clarke. As they say, it doesn't get any better.