Saturday, June 28, 2008

no more red carpet at the Rex

After a phenomenal show of guitartuosity from John Abercrombie, Mike Stern
and John Scofield in a 1-2-3 punch at the mainstage, I made my way over to
the Rex and for the first time ever I did not get waved in by the manager
but was expected to pay my $15 like everybody else. OK, maybe I had a slight
sense of entitlement after all these years of promoting that club in the
jazz and blues newsletters I produce...and they've always welcomed me (even
though they do not honour any jazz festival passes - all access, media or
otherwise). Well, maybe it's because of their war with my other client, the
Toronto Musicians Association. Boo hoo, I didn't get to see DMBQ

Monday, June 23, 2008

Jazz fest Day 3

Skipped the mainstage concert to do the rounds - first Pat Carey's CD
launch at the Orbit Room. Lots of energy on that stage. Michael Fonfara
doing a pretty legit jazz gig on the B3 organ - with bass player Garth Vogan
sounding exactly like the bass pedals would if Fonf was playing them. Ted
Quinlan, Toronto's go-to guitarist for any occasion was replacing Jake
Langley who had to rush out of town to be with an ailing parent.

Finally took the occasion to see Nikki Yanofsky and try to get some idea
what all the fuss is about. Sold out house - $40 ticket - and the audience
loved her. Who wouldn't? The kid delivers, but at the risk of sounding like
an old curmudgeon, it still didn't reach right into my soul. Neither did the
Billy Band, though they sure have something special. A bunch of Russians
playing Tom Waits songs. Go figure. Then before packing in it, I dropped
into Grossmans where I will be playing next Sunday afternoon with Roberta
Hunt. The double-steel man, Brian Cober, was playing his home-away-from-home
for the last 24 years. Actually he may now have more of a domestic life - he
just got married. Congratulations Brian!

Monday, June 16, 2008

They should call it Bluesville

One week after the Orangeville Blues & Jazz Festival and I'm back in this
great little town playing an organic cafe/bistro called Seasons. A couple of
the tables were people who saw me playing on the street the week before and
one couple had come back because they saw me at the festival film fundraiser
when I did a few tunes before the movie "Honeydripper." The great thing
about a small town like Orangeville is that a venue can put a poster in the
window the week before your gig and within a few days, the whole town knows
about the gig. After setting up, I took a little walk about and walked by at
least three establishments where blues music was wafting out the front. Then
when I packed up and brought the car around, I walked past 3 bars that had
live music going on - all pretty bluesy...and two of them were playing the
same song at the same time - That's Allright Mama! Larry & Bruce (Trouble &
Strife) were playing at another venu down the road and they dropped in while
they were on a break and sat in for a tune. A great listening crowd and a
re-booking on the spot. Who could ask for more.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A day at the Races

Finally a good-paying gig so I could call in The Blainettes. Colleen Allen
couldn't do the gig (she played baritone last time) but I got Gene Hardy
(who actually played on my first album...and I just remembered he was the
only person I actually paid to play on that recording - everybody else was
so anxious to support and encourage me that they played for free...that
doesn't happen very often!) When I started complaining that this was about
the weirdest gig I'd ever played, Gene said "Well, we're not wearing mascot
costumes, are we?"

We had to play between races, we were set up on the
apron right next to the track and we would play between races. We had a
minder who would signal when we had to start and stop - and when she
signaled "stop", we had to stop right at that moment - sometimes right in
the middle of a line. Anyway, it was a good payday. My Fender amp took a big
fall but seems to have survived

More Pics from Mohawk Racetrack