Features

The Jazz Performance and Education Centre – A New Vision of Jazz in Toronto

LA3

By Bill McDonald

Keeping jazz not only alive, but flourishing, is a common challenge in many cities across North America.  Despite our rich music history, world class musicians, and great education programs, this is equally true in Toronto. 

This is the basis of an exciting, new initiative, the Jazz Performance and Education Center (JPEC) - a not-for-profit and charitable organization dedicated to the preservation and continued development of jazz music in Canada.

The Toxic Avenger

Cover October 29, 2010

By Lenny Stoute

The Danforth isn’t a hipster ‘hood; it has a boho quotient and vivid nightlife but it’s mostly about families; both the freshly married and the Greek bedrock which gives the ‘hood its name. Both of these types could be seen looking quizzically at the Danforth Music Hall in recent months as the vintage soft-seater underwent a radical makeover.

Being that the makeover involved lurid lighting, Day-Glo transfers splattered across the sidewalk and drums of toxic waste, teetering on the edge of the marquee’s roof, it might have been hard for the locals to see the improvement. For sure, all were curious as to just what the souvlaki they were getting up to in there. And why’d they have to treat that fine old building so?

Rick Plester - From Hockey Sticks to Guitar Licks

Rick Plester

By Bill Delingat

Born in Drumheller, Alberta, Canada with a population of 15,000 people, Rick Plester, like most young Canadian boys first love was hockey. At the age of four years old, Rick and his family moved to Calgary and he loved country singer Johnny Cash and by elementary school he was exposed to The Beatles and the Rolling Stones by his teacher and soccer coach, Mr. Davis whose open mindedness led Plester to the school radio station and later on community radio. Plester found hockey here in the mid west and as an up and coming goal keeper at the age of 16 played with the Williams Lake Mustangs with a goal to be in the NHL. After being an MVP and an All Star starter Plester tried out for every team ,but always got the wrong answers ”too young or too short”.

Other Voices, Other Echoes: The Wisconsin Baroque Ensemble

By Rob Tomaro

Wouldn't it be something to hop in a time machine and walk into a candlelit concert hall in Vienna in 1738 just in time to see Johann Sebastian Bach perform his new smash hit "Ach das ich Wassers gnug hatte"?   The crowd goes wild.  Play it again, Johann!

The next best thing is to walk into an old stone chapel in Wisconsin a few nights ago and hear pretty much exactly what his music sounded like that night in Vienna so long ago.

Lee Everett Birthday Party - The Big 60!

Lee Everett

This weekend Niagara Falls shook to the sounds of Country Music as Lee Everett had a round up for his 60th Birthday.

Lee Everett started singing as a young boy of 5 years never forgetting his grandfather’s favourite song “Mom and Dad’s Waltz”. This led to a musical career that put Everett on tour of North America from 1971 -1985 until an accident sidewinded him in the Yukon, postponing his schedule. His journey back led him to studios in Nashville, Florida, Los Angeles and Toronto Canada. In 1991 he was topping the “Cashbox Charts” with ‘First Comes The Fire” Lee Everett is still currently on Cashbox Records with his new CD “Reach Out To Me”.

He Shoots He Scores – Orin Issacs & Battle of the Blades

Cover October 21, 2010

By Bill Delingat

BATTLE OF THE BLADES is the brainchild of Kevin Albrecht with development by Sandra Bezic. BATTLE OF THE BLADES executive producers are John Brunton, Barbara Bowlby and Kevin Albrecht. It is produced by Insight Productions in association with CBC Television.

Matt Anderson is Piggybacking His Latest CD From Coast to Coast

Matt Anderson

By Tristan Stagg
Photo: Mark Logan

East Coast Canada’s guitarist Matt Anderson is leaving his audience electrified whereever he performs.  With a blend of the blues, jazz and rock, added with the passionate sound of his voice, Anderson is unmistakably a very rare and predominate asset to the Canadian music industry.  Accompanying Anderson’s busy touring schedule of having over 200 live shows a year, he has released his 6th album to date, “Piggyback”. Partnering up with harmonica player and friend Matt Stevens, creating an album consisting of 12 original songs, co-written by both Anderson and Stevens.

“This one is a lot more stripped down then the other ones have been. The last two have been full band with backup singers; drum kit, bass, the whole bit. This is just me and Mike, which is a lot more of how I’m used to playing; solo kind of shows, a lot closer to what my live shows are like.” He explains to me during an interview.

Miracula: Jose Antonio Abreu and El Sistema

Jose Anton

By Rob Tomaro,  Classical Music Editor for Cashbox Magazine

Once upon a time, in 1975, far away in the impoverished land of Venezuela, there was a strange little man who had a crazy idea.  He thought if he could create a national network of student orchestras, it might prevent thousands of kids from falling into a desperate cycle of gangs and drugs.  Replace the needle with the flute.  Replace the spray painted gang signs with pages out of Mozart. Did he just fall out of the sky, this mooncalf?   Was he as loopy as Baron Von Munchausen, this naïf? Thing is, he did it.

His name is Jose Antonio Abreu (pictured right).  He is an economist and amateur musician.

His El Sistema now has 125 youth orchestras, 30 full symphony orchestras and 250,000 kids enrolled in its programs. Its wunderkind conductor Gustavo Dudamel has just been appointed Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Prior to this, he has appeared on the podiums of all the major symphonies of the world.

NAWTIKS

Nawtiks

Pronounced Gnaw-Ticks

By Bill Delingat

Nawtiks is the culmination of a lifelong collaboration between Nik Mutta and Randy Kahlon. Starting out as DJ/Producers and vocalists, the original concept for the group was to take Indian musical elements and mash them up with whatever styles would go along with it. The duo of Nawtiks has now grown into a trio, with a unique sound they bring onstage. Nawtiks' performances consist of: live vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards, drum machines/synthesizers, and laptops. Refusing easy classifications, Nawtiks take on any genre of music and make it their own. They move freely between the musical spectrum: Hip hop, Drum n Bass, House, Techno, Alternative, Acoustic Rock, Acid Jazz, Breaks, and R’n’B, Bhangra, and Triphop... all mixed with their Indian flair.

This Is What?! Michael Jackson’s new tune not so new, and it has CANCON!

Cover October 16, 2010

By Bill Delingat

Canada ‘s number one crooner Paul Anka stepped forward this week with a threat to sue Jackson's estate for proper credit and his share of royalties of the supposedly new Michael Jackson song “This Is It”.

The administrators of the estate quickly acknowledged that songwriter Anka did co-write the song with Jackson and has granted him 50 percent of the copyright publishing. This would be a huge windfall for the 68-year-old Canadian crooner who also wrote the famous Sinatra song “My Way” as well as the theme song for The Johnny Carson Show.

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