Monday, March 1, 2004

Sunday - Well that was a great way to say goodbye to February - The Toronto Blues Society Guitar Workshop was held on Sunday afternoon, the 29th (yeah, Leap Day!) I was the host with the most and my guest were formidable guitar players, Michael Jerome Browne, Adam Solomon and Teddy Leonard and Norm Robinson doing a fascinating demo on amps & tubes & bias...

Because we did it like a country-style "guitar pull" it was very different than previous workshops, which were more like showcases with 4 short sets. It was a beautiful, warm Sunday afternoon and I bet a lot of folks would have rather been outdoors than a basement blues bar but we had a good turnout.

By the end of the workshop, probably getting the Afro vibe from Adam, we were all doing songs with one chord. I always said I needed a change from thaose same old 3-chord blues so it was great fun to explore the possibilities one *one* chord.

Friday Night was a night of many chords - first from legendary jazz guitarist Marty Grosz who was playing at the Downtown Jazz Party, a gathering of swing-meisters from the old days...some of them in their nineties. Jake Hanna was there playing drums, he's played with all the greats.

I snuck out of the jazz party to catch Robben Ford at the Horsheshoe - He played a phenomenal set. I was knocked out. A perfect example of how every tune is a showcase and takes you on a little trip - even songs that were nothing more than R&B standards, but he tore them inside out. He was hot and I found out later he was hot off a long tour, so that might explain it. After Robben, I slipped over to Healeys to hear Tinsley Ellis, who hasn't been in Toronto for nine years. I only caught the last few tunesm but he was on fire too - more predictable than Robben, though.

On Thursday, I did a live radio show on CIUT with Steve Fruitman. That was a gas - I used up the whole hour myself, rambling on about my musical life. I even brought steve an old 45 I recorded in 1972 - he got a kick out of that.

Wednedsday I got a call from Fred, the president of my label NorthernBlues. I've delayed my CD so much that I thought this was it - he's going to tell me that it's over and he's found some other great blues artists with finished CDs, but no, he was patient and committed. It will be worth the wait.

Tuesday was the National Jazz Awards - big gala evening. Here was Ole Colorblind starring at a pair of socks trying to figure out if they are black or brown. This is a dressy affair and I want to have black socks with my black (or are they blue) pants. I see lots of familiar faces at the awards evening and there was some great music played, a beautiful guitar trio tribute to Ed Bickert who received a special award. The CBC was broadcasting live so they kept things moving along at quite a clip but the minute their broadcast was over, the whole thing fell apart - there was a long gap and half the audience cleared out, most thinking that it was over. I think they better put the off air stuff on *before* the broadcast next time - that is, if they're still speaking to the CBC