Not your average barnyard; not your average photos

I do my best to keep track of what's happening musically in Toronto, both within and outside of the jazz community. And, every once in a while, a couple of events crop up, sometimes even on the same day, which merit special mention. For example: this Saturday, February 2, you can catch two shows which deserve a closer look.

Saturday afternoon features the opening reception for "Syncopation: Life in the Key of Black - An historic photographic tribute to Canada’s legendary Black entertainers". Presented by the Archie Alleyne Scholarship Fund, the exhibition, as per the official press release, "celebrates the achievements, recognizes the struggles and salutes the underappreciated contributions of countless Black entertainers" to the history of Canada's music industry. The exhibit should provide a fascinating look into some of the less-known names who helped create the thriving Canadian music scene we enjoy today. As acclaimed author and jazz critic Mark Miller suggests, "The photographs assembled for 'Syncopation: Life in the Key of Black' stand as necessary and valuable reminder of the significant role African-Canadians played in the history of jazz and R&B in Canada. Some of these men and women will be familiar, many will be obscure. How fine it is to see them again, or better, for the first time. How fine it is to put faces to names, indeed, faces to legends." Saturday's reception runs 3:30 – 8:00 pm at the Daniels Spectrum, 585 Dundas East. Tickets are $10. If you can't make the opening reception, the exhibit will be on display in the Spectrum's 2nd floor gallery throughout February (Black History Month). More information here.

After an afternoon serving of Canadian music history, you can head over to the Tranzac Club on Saturday night to hear some of the musicians making exciting music now. There you'll find Barnyard Records celebrating the launch of two CDs: Towns and Villages, the debut recording by the Nick Fraser Quartet, with New York saxophonist Tony Malaby; and At Canterbury, a live studio recording of improvisations by Rainer Wiens, Frank Lozano, Jim Lewis, Jean Martin and Christine Duncan. I've been to two previous Barnyard Records release events and they are impressive affairs: outstanding music, great crowds, and a great vibe. I expect no less from this Saturday night's double-bill - these are some of the most interesting musicians on the local scene (or, in the case of Tony Malaby, the New York scene). You're bound to hear well-crafted compositions, great soloing, and explosive group improvisations. And not to pick favourites, but as a trumpet player, it's always a treat to hear someone like Jim Lewis, who has a big, beautiful sound and who demonstrates an impressive comfort in all ranges of the instrument. The Barnyard Records double CD release party start at 9 pm in the Main Hall of the Tranzac Club, 292 Brunswick Avenue. Admission is $20 and includes both CDs. More information here.

There's lots of other great stuff happening this weekend too - check your local listings!

Josh

P.S. - This blog's photo courtesy of the Barnyard Records website.

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