Wednesday, July 8, 2009

gigs and gab

Brian and the Blainettes at The Silver Dollar Room, Saturday July 18 (showtime 8:00pm)
Looking forward to playing with two of the top sax players in town, Colleen Allen and Carrie Chesnutt. Colleen will be playing baritone, not her main axe but she loves the change and I love the driving sound of a baritone and tenor pumping together. If you've heard James Hunter, you know what I'm talking about.
I'm also delighted to bring the wonderful harp playing of Butch Coulter to the Silver Dollar stage. There's a lot of great harp players in this town, but you will hear right away that Butch doesn't sound like any of them. I'd like to say it's a "European" sound, but I think he always played like that. We're both from the Sherbrooke area and played together in a couple of bands in our youth. He's been living in Europe  for many years and loves it. I've done three European tours with Butch, two as a duo and most recently backing up powerhouse vocalist Kathi McDonald. Both were long standing band mates of Long John Baldry and I too can wear that mantle having subbed for Papa John King on a Baldry gig here in Ontario a few years back.
Colorblind Brian's Blues Campfire Every Tues (7:30pm) at Highway 61 BBQ
Some of you long standing Blainfans might remember my Thursday sessions at the Tranzac a few years back. That residency lasted about a year and just about every blues guy in town (and many visitors) guested with me. Since then I have hosted many blues "campfires" at the Ontario Council of Folk Festivals, Blues Summitt and the Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival in New Brunswick. Now we'll be doing it every Tuesday at the best BBQ joint in town (don't take my word for it, check it out). The location is 1620 Bayview. Come and join in the song circle or just sit back and enjoy some of the fine up-and-coming blues players in town…and maybe a few veterans will grace us with their presence.
Saab Story still has some traction
Jazz-FM has Saab Story on their playlist for the longest time…a couple of years. Once I had the opportunity to thank head honcho Ross Porter and wondered aloud  how long they play a track and he said "Once it's in the computer it stays there until someone takes it out". Well it must still be there, because I heard it was being played as a segue from the news items about the purchase/sale of the Saab car company. I knew I should have approached Saab with my song….I might try it yet if they're still making cars a year from now.

Jazzfest Adventures
Maybe I'll have a chance to relate some of my behind-the-scenes gossip in a future blog but suffice it to say it was ten busy days fore this old blues guy – Those ten days are the closest I ever get to a full time job. My discovery of the year was drummer Antonio Sanchez who just amazed me in his performances with Pat Metheny/Gary Burton and then with Kenny Werner…that is until the last night of the festival when I hear a young organist called Corey Henry playing with Kenny Garrett in the closing concert. I have heard DeFrancesco and Tony Monaco close up and I heard Coreay pull some sounds out of that B3 that I've never heard before…phenomenal. I never had an angle where I could see his feet annd asked him after the show if he used the pedals sometimes and he replied that he had used them on three of the tunes…and I never even noticed!
I was unable to make my usual appearance at the Jazz Festival Volunteer Party, because I was attending the Twilight Memorial service for Jackie Washington in Hamilton (what a beautiful gathering) but I did get a festival "Gig" of sorts, but it was not the Brian Blain we all know and love but rather my "dark side" ambient electronica persona pumping out loud aggressive beats with my son the DJ (COI) with the addition of Rob Gray and a couple of keyboard interventions by John Farah - a brilliant musician...and I think he knows it. He says he's headed for Carnegie Hall and I believe him. I don't know enough keyboard to say but I think this guy is the next Keith Jarrett or Chick Corea - with an nuclear arsenal of modern sounds to satisfy the dub-step demographic.
Overheard at an electronica venue -"Play us some sounds that we've never heard" - They're more interested in sounds than music. But at least they're interested in something! More audiences should be like that.
My favouriite show of the festival was the same night as my gig, and despite the protestations of my bioy Joel, I was not going to miss my hero Mose Allison and he fulfilled every expectation - he played a non-stop selection of tunes that he'd written interspersed with some blues, which he always credited.
I was overseeing the daily blasts about festival goings-on and the only one I wrote myself was about Mose, and wouldn't you know I didn't recognize the drummer and assumed he had come up with Mose. Well, I was immediately corrected by an astute jazz fan (darre I say "jazz police"??)  Look at what he wrote to me: "Codswallop, BrianB! John Sumner is as local as you can get – unless you want to invoke his Irish ancestry – living on Isabella St. and plays regularly with Mark Eisenman and Steve Wallace. Sheesh." Apparently Mose doesn't like to be hearing a lot of back-beat, and sure enough Sumner kept his brushes going and shuffled along quite nicely.
Meanwhile I at least knew who the bass player was - Neil Swainson...a most highly regarded player who could play anything I'm sure, but was that a bead of sweat forming on that brow? Mose had some great tunes I'd never heard - "Certified Senior Citizen" was one of them and there were several others just as funny and insightful as his well-known material. He certainly has his own approach to the blues - something I strive for myself.

I must jump now, try to get this out and do some preparations for another gig which I cannot tell you about "officially". I think I will need a new persona – "Slim-Something"…
Facebook Friends: I have created a "fan page" for folks who like what I'm doing musically and if you count yourself in that select group then please go to the link and "become a fan":

Quote of the Day: "I don't think, I just concentrate." (Jaco Pastorius)