Saturday, November 1, 2003

End of October

Signing off for October. What a music-filled month. Last night, to cap it off, I went down to the Senator to see a guitarist called Doug Wambal. He can do it all, and he gives the audience a taste of everything.

The night before was my first house concert at Downtown Jazz this year (I'm doing two more - Nov 20 and Dec 13). I've got to promote these a little better. There wasn't more than 20 people - a small but illustrious audience including the head of the music section at the Canada Council, a pioneer music publicist, head of a benevolent trust for musicians and artistic directors of five Canadian jazz festivals including my own boss, Pat Taylor of Downtown Jazz. This was totally unplanned, but it turned out the house concert was the same day that all these AD's were in Toronto for the big Sponsor announcement. I was at the media launch at the Design Exchange - when they rolled out the new logo, they had bright lights, loud noises and the room filled with confetti. After they picked the confetti out of the piano, Molly Johnson did a couple of tunes. One festival director from the prairies couldn't wait to get out of Toronto, so I didn't expect to see her.

Lily and I had a great time playing the house concert, but I won't expect any of those festival guys to remember too much. They were mostly talking in the kitchen, - they were not "on duty" - in fact, they were distiinctly "off duty". I captured some footage of one of the guys trying to play "Stairway to Heaven" on my guitar - I thought it might make good blackmail material if I ever need a gig in his town.

On the 29th, I had the pleasure of opening for Harry Manx at Hugh's Room. Harry is getting amazing media coverage these days - everytime I see him, he's juggling interviews. That may have something to do with the fact that he's playing in a different town every night - and each one of those towns has a paper that wants a story. One interview that was apparently right down to the wire went on and on - I couldn't believe how long they talked. Somebody's going to have to edit that!

As I was setting up I was chatting with a couple of CBC guys who were there to interview Harry for "The Blues" radio series. Harry left his harmonica rack back at my place and had to drive across town to get it - he probably had two phone interviews while he did the run.

I heard a little preview of Harry's next album, and it is quite phenomenal...meanwhile, I'm still working on my album, hoping to wrap it up for a Feb release - having fun doing guitar overdubs and brightening it up a bit. Still don't know how we're going to deal with the mixing and mastering.

This little flurry of gigs reminded that my guitar playing gets easier and sharper when I've had the chance to play for a couple days in a row.

Tonight I'm off to see David Rotundo at Grossman's and Popa Chubby at the Silver Dollar. Monday I head to Stratford for a couple of dates with Harry... and November here we come!