A jazz feast

I'm writing from home this evening. A hectic schedule over the past few weeks means I'm doing a bit of catchup. It's a good arrangement, though - a nice cup of decaf, Freddie Hubbard's First Light on the stereo, and lots of jazz happenings to report...

Before going any further, I'd like to wish everyone south of the border a Happy Thanksgiving. I hope the weekend brings great food, fun and family.

Here's a quick update on what's happening here in festival-land. Planning is in full swing (HA!) for the 2011 festival. Last week I was in Montreal to finally meet the artistic directors from eight other jazz festivals across Canada. It was a great opportunity to put faces to names, discuss artists, and get an impression of what works and what doesn't in the various markets. This past Tuesday night I hosted a meeting of various stakeholders in the jazz community to talk about how to improve this city's profile in the greater jazz world. And next Tuesday I'm off to Amsterdam for the Dutch Jazz and World Meeting - a chance to get to know a bit better what is happening with jazz in Europe and in The Netherlands in particular.

There are a few things on the go in the city and beyond over the next few days I wanted to bring to your attention.

This weekend, the Jazz Performance and Education Centre is presenting a concert featuring pianist Fred Hersch and vocalist Norma Winstone. It should be a great show - one set solo piano, one set duo. Saturday, November 27, 8 pm, Glenn Gould Studio. Tickets and information at www.jazzcentre.ca.

Also happening this weekend - all weekend - is a visit to Toronto by Hammond B3 organ great Tony Monaco. Chalker's Pub is hosting Tony along with Ted Quinlan on guitar and Vito Rezza on drums Friday through Sunday nights at 7 pm; cover is $30 and well worth it! You can also catch Tony in a clinic setting - on Saturday (November 27) afternoon, 2-4 pm, he's presenting "The Mighty Hammond in Modern Music - A Crash Course". There's a $15 cover for the clinic. Complete information can be found at www.chalkerspub.com; you can find out more about Tony Monaco in the Artistic Director's Guide to Jazz.

South of the border, there's something very cool brewing...and you don't even need to leave home to experience it. On Monday night (November 29), SearchAndRestore.com is holding a fundraising event at Le Poisson Rouge in Manhattan. SearchAndRestore.com was created in 2009 to be the go-to website for New York City’s jazz scene and they've launched an ambitious fundraising campaign to support a comprehensive, year-long video documentation of the jazz scene in that city. Why am I telling you about a project in support of another city's jazz scene? Well, because it sounds so cool, and you can watch it live. Check it out: Monday, November 29th at Le Poisson Rouge, 10 pm EST - A Night of round robin improvised duets to benefit Search & Restore, featuring: Don Byron (clarinet), DJ Logic (turntables), Ben Allison (bass), Steven Bernstein (trumpet), Ralph Alessi (trumpet), Josh Roseman (trombone), Jason Lindner (keys), Tim Lefebvre (bass), Reid Anderson (bass), Dan Weiss (drums), Mark Guiliana (drums), Brandon Ross (guitar), Roswell Rudd (trombone), Matt Wilson (drums), Avishai Cohen (trumpet), Theo Bleckmann (voice), Henry Grimes (bass), Andrew D'Angelo (sax), Dave Binney (sax), Andy Milne (piano), Hal Willner (turntables). You can watch at home by going to watchitoo.com. For more information, visit SearchandRestore's Kickstarter page.

Back in Toronto, I encourage you to support the fundraising efforts of Ryerson's campus radio station, CKLN 88.1, Tuesday November 30 at the Trane Studio. Tien Providence, host of CKLN's Jazz Zone, has organized a special screening of The Miles Davis Story, with all proceeds supporting the station. Campus radio continues to play an important role in supporting local jazz talent, so this is a good opportunity to return the favour. Doors open at 7 pm; JP Hodgekinson does a comedy set at 8 pm; the film starts at 8:30 pm. Suggested donation $10. For more information go to tranestudio.com.

Finally, I wanted to call your attention to a track just released by Jane Bunnett and her African/Cuban Blues Summit Band. Called "War on Poverty", the track features an all-star lineup - all of whom donated their time for the recording - performing in support of The Stop's "Food with Dignity" program, which seeks to raise awareness of and help to fight against poverty and hunger across Canada. You can check out the tune and a short video about the project on YouTube.

Of course, there's lots more excitement out there in the world of jazz, so make sure you get out and see something live!

Whether you're eating turkey or not, have a great weekend. I'll be in touch again upon my return from Amsterdam. Until then, enjoy the jazz feast on offer!


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