We are fortunate in Southern Ontario to have access to a large number of live-music venues. In the listings below, you will find over 30 clubs and restaurants that regularly present jazz and creative music, including Grossman’s Tavern, which celebrated its 70th birthday in September; The Rex, which has been in operation for over 40 years; and Burdock, which, having opened in April of 2015, is a mere three-years old. Mixed in among many exciting one-off events in these listings are a number of recurring gigs, most commonly once a week or once a month. These residencies form a vital part of the Toronto gig ecosystem, playing an important role for musicians, venues, and audience members alike.

To begin, a working definition: to qualify as a recurring gig for the purposes of this article, a gig must happen at regular intervals and feature the same artist(s); a one-off, two-or three-night run at a club does not qualify. A residency is also functionally different than a series, in which a presenter (not necessarily the venue itself) books artists who may be representative of a certain genre or theme. A residency, as the name implies, is about the creation of a kind of home base for musicians, a (hopefully) comfortable space in which they build a show and grow over time. As guitarist and York University instructor Robb Cappelletto puts it, a residency provides an opportunity “to try out new music, new players, new gear, [and] new approaches in a real-world setting.” Cappelletto performs regularly at Poetry Jazz Café with his trio, as well as at 416 Snack Bar with the group re.verse (with bassist Damian Matthew and drummer Chino De Villa).

There are a number of different residencies that take place in Toronto on a regular basis. In addition to a full calendar of (typically) standalone shows that take place in the late slots throughout the week,

The Rex has a number of different residencies every month. If you visit on a Friday at 4pm, you’ll hear the Hogtown Syncopators; on Saturday at noon, the Sinners Choir; on Sunday at noon, the Excelsior Dixieland Jazz Band; on Mondays at 6:30, U of T Jazz Ensembles (at least throughout the school year); and, on the last Monday of every month, the John MacLeod Rex Hotel Orchestra, which features many of Toronto’s more established musicians. The Rex also features month-long weekly residencies in early evening slots; often dubbed “Rexidencies” on social media promotional material, these short-term weeklies are unique in the Toronto club scene. In November, watch out for the Brodie West Quintet on Tuesdays, JV’s Boogaloo Squad on Wednesdays, Kevin Quain on Thursdays, and the James Brown Trio on Fridays.

Dan McKinnon. Photo by Jen Squires.Beyond The Rex, many other local venues support residencies. At The Tranzac, the JUNO-nominated band Peripheral Vision (Don Scott, guitar, Michael Herring, bass, Trevor Hogg, saxophone, Nick Fraser, drums) hosts the first Tuesday of every month at 10pm. As Peripheral Vision typically books a band to play an opening set, this residency is also something of a series, as there is a curatorial component beyond the musical work that the band undertakes. Bassist Michael Herring plays regularly on Wednesdays with a guitar trio at the tequila bar Reposado, which also features its house band – the Reposadists – on Thursdays and Fridays. At Poetry Jazz Café, in Kensington Market, artists such as the guitarist Luan Phung, vocalist Joanna Majoko, vocalist/pianist Chelsey Bennett, guitarist Robb Cappelletto and singer/guitarist Dan McKinnon play monthly gigs. The structure provided by regular performances can give musicians the opportunity to focus on growth and development in a manner that isn’t always accessible in one-off gigs. Having a residency at Poetry, says McKinnon, “was pivotal to my development as a musician, bandleader and artist. Since that first gig over three years ago, my group won the 2017 Toronto Blues Society Talent Search, the Amy Louie Grossman’s Music Scholarship, and recently put out a well-received album this spring. None of this would have been possible if not for the residency I had at Poetry.”

The issues: There are many positive aspects to Toronto’s many fine residencies, but they are not without their issues. The first, and most obvious, is financial: for most of the aforementioned gigs, there is no financial guarantee. Musicians are typically compensated by passing the hat, through a percentage of bar sales, and occasionally through a percentage of a cover charge. This is not to say that it isn’t possible to make a fair fee playing in a residency – it can sometimes be the case, on a good night, that a group earns more than they may have if they were playing for an average preset guarantee – but it is certainly not always the case. There can also be other, unforeseen musical consequences of playing the same music with the same people in the same venue over an extended period of time. Nick Teehan, who held residencies at The Cameron House and The Rex for a number of years, makes the point that while playing consistently “really cemented the sound of [his] band,” providing “a regular audience who knew what to expect,” it also, unexpectedly, made the recording process harder. It “took a lot of effort to re-configure the songs” for the studio, Teehan says, as “some of the energy we felt was propelling our shows didn’t sound so great in a studio setting.”

Even with these issues, however, residencies are an important part of any healthy live-music scene, and, for most of the musicians who spoke to me about this column, participating in a residency is an overwhelmingly valuable, positive experience that fosters the growth both of individual musicianship and of the community at large. So, this month: check out a residency! As an audience member, it may become your regular gig, too. 

MAINLY CLUBS, MOSTLY JAZZ QUICK PICKS

NOV 1, 9:30PM: Saxophonist Jeff LaRochelle celebrates the release of his new album Lenses Extend at Burdock; with opening set from singer/guitarist Sabine Ndalamba.

NOV 6, 10PM: JUNO-nominated modern jazz quartet Peripheral Vision plays at The Tranzac in the November installment of their monthly residency.

NOV 7 AND 8, 9:30PM: Leading alto saxophonist Dave Binney returns to The Rex for two evenings with his new quartet.

NOV 30, 9PM: Guitarist Robb Cappelletto brings his electric trio to Poetry Jazz Café as part of his monthly residency.

Robb CappellettoColin Story is a jazz guitarist, writer and teacher based in Toronto. He can be reached at www.colinstory.com, on Instagram and on Twitter.

For many, September marks a transitional period: we go back to school, back to work, back to a daily routine that can either feel welcome (structure! responsibility!) or unwelcome (structure! responsibility!), depending on the quality of our summer experiences. Whatever the case may be, the calamities of our collective re-entry into the real world usually resolve themselves by October, giving us all a bit more time to go out and enjoy live music, at venues both familiar and not. In addition to discussing exciting upcoming performances by the legendary jazz singer Sheila Jordan and the Afro-Cuban group OKAN, the focus of my column this month is on Burdock, a relatively new venue that may be a familiar name to some, but which, I suspect, may be unfamiliar to many readers. (In this month’s listings, you’ll find the full monthly schedule for Burdock.)

In a short amount of time – it opened in April of 2015 – Burdock has emerged as one of Toronto’s most important live-music venues. Located on Bloor, just west of Dufferin, Burdock is divided into two parts connected by heavy, soundproof double doors. On one side is the Music Hall, an intimate space that can accommodate about a hundred people, complete with its own bar, seating (depending on the show), and an excellent sound system. (Burdock consistently sounds great, owing, in no small part, to the talents of their live audio engineers, Aleda Deroche, Matthew Bailey and Jess Forrest.) On the other side is the brewpub, with a rotating tap list of beers, brewed in-house, and a full menu of seasonal food, including both small and larger plates, such as their summer tartine, crispy ribs and wild mushroom taco, all on the menu at the time of the writing of this column. As a brewery, Burdock has found a niche in the busy Toronto beer market by focusing on saisons, sours and wine/beer blends, such as their ever-popular BUMO series, brewed in conjunction with the Niagara-based winery Pearl Morissette. This decision has proven fruitful: by avoiding entering into the high-ABV arms race, Burdock’s brewery has found success at their bottle shop, their own bar, and on the beer list at many of Toronto’s best restaurants.

Through the double doors in the Music Hall, venue coordinator Charlotte Cornfield books acts from a variety of different genres. (Cornfield is an accomplished musician in her own right, touring and releasing music regularly under her own name.)

While many of the musicians who play at Burdock come from Toronto’s creative indie scene, Burdock also regularly features jazz and blues, as well as the occasional classical performance, including, in October, an installment of Haus Musik, presented by the Toronto-based Baroque orchestra Tafelmusik. (The concert will feature members of the orchestra and special guest percussionist Graham Hargrove performing music written by Italian composer Luigi Boccherini.) Beyond its regularly scheduled programming – which has recently jumped from one to two shows per day, due to increasing demand – Burdock also hosts a number of special events throughout the year. Their annual Piano Fest, which celebrated its third birthday this past January, is built around the simple premise of temporarily installing a high-quality grand piano on stage and booking piano-centric acts in complementary double bills; this year’s festival featured artists such as Joanna Majoko, Chelsea Bennett, Tim Baker and Jeremy Dutcher, the latter of whom would go on to win the Polaris Prize in September of this year for his debut album Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa.

AKKU QuintetIn addition to Tafelmusik’s show, there are a number of notable performances that will be taking place in October. These include a modern jazz double bill, with AKKU Quintet and Living Fossil, on October 2 (Living Fossil’s debut album NEVER DIE! was reviewed in our March 2018 issue.); a live recording of radio personality Laurie Brown’s Pondercast podcast, with music provided by Joshua Van Tassel, on October 9; jazz bassist Robert Lee’s Big Band, celebrating the release of the EP Blink, on October 14; and francophone singer/songwriter Safia Nolin, fresh off the release of her third album, performing on October 25.

It also seems important to note, for those who have not yet visited, that the Burdock Music Hall is an uncommonly comfortable venue that shifts its seating structure around to accommodate the needs of specific acts and their audiences, even when those audiences comprise a variety of different demographic representatives. In a recent show I attended at Burdock, the open area in front of the stage was flanked by a few narrow rows of chairs. While enthusiastic attendees danced, those audience members who desired a bit more comfort – some of whom, let it be said, were quite possibly related to the musicians on stage – sat and enjoyed an unobstructed view of the performance. At no point did this mixed setup feel divisive or contrived; as is typically the case at Burdock, the vibe was relaxed, inclusive, and fun.

Sheila JordanSheila Jordan at the Jazz Bistro

There are a number of excellent shows happening in other venues this month, not the least of which will be Sheila Jordan’s three-night engagement at Jazz Bistro, on October 4, 5 and 6. Jordan, now 89, has a storied history within the jazz community, studying with Lennie Tristano and Charles Mingus in the early 1950s, performing and recording with Herbie Nichols, George Russell and Lee Konitz in the 60s and 70s, and teaching, as artist-in-residence, at City College of New York, from 1978 through to the mid-2000s. Jordan – who was referred to as “the singer with the million dollar ears” by Charlie Parker – will be joined by pianist Adrean Farrugia and bassist Neil Swainson in an intimate trio format, whose instrumentation should prove well-suited to Jazz Bistro’s ecclesiastical acoustics.

OKAN at Lula

At Lula Lounge, OKAN celebrate the release of their debut EP recording on October 21. Co-led by Cuban-born, Toronto-based multi-instrumentalists Elizabeth Rodriguez and Magdelys Savigne – both of whom are veterans of saxophonist/flutist Jane Bunnett’s Maqueque group – OKAN fuses traditional Afro-Cuban music with jazz, pop and soul. In their live show, Rodriguez and Savigne find success both in the complementary chemistry they share as performers (Rodriguez typically stands and plays violin, while Savigne sits behind her congas; both sing.) and in their talent for deftly borrowing from various musical sources. At times OKAN’s music sounds distinctly Afro-Cuban; at other times, like pop-inflected R&B. Anchored by Rodriguez and Savigne, this month’s show should prove to be a worthwhile reason to visit Lula Lounge. 

MAINLY CLUBS, MOSTLY JAZZ QUICK PICKS

OCT 4 TO 5, 9PM: Sheila Jordan, Jazz Bistro. Accompanied by local mainstays Adrean Farrugia (piano) and Neil Swainson (bass), legendary jazz singer Sheila Jordan performs in this three-night run at Jazz Bistro.

OCT 14, 9:30PM: Robert Lee, Burdock. Upright bassist Robert Lee leads his big band in celebration of the release of his EP Blink, a collection of modern jazz pieces inspired by pop, folk and classical music.

OCT 25, 9:30PM: Safia Nolin, Burdock. Francophone singer/songwriter Safia Nolin – 2017 Félix Award winner for Female Artist of the Year – performs in support of her new album, releasing October 5.

OCT 21, 6:30PM: OKAN, Lula Lounge. Co-led by Cuban-born multi-instrumentalists Elizabeth Rodriguez and Magdelys Savigne, OKAN celebrates the release of their debut EP.

Colin Story is a jazz guitarist, writer and teacher based in Toronto. He can be reached at www.colinstory.com, on Instagram and on Twitter.

It’s September, and, for students and faculty members of the Toronto jazz community, it’s time to head back to school. While not all who play jazz in Toronto teach or study, the scene is still very much tied to the academic calendar, and, as the pervasive humidity of summer gives way to the first crisp whispers of autumn, everyone is suddenly back in town, venues return to their regular post-festival-season programming, and a variety of new musical ventures are suddenly at hand. September heralds the coming of a new artistic year, and, in the spirit of yearly reassessment and rejuvenation, September prompts the jazz community to undertake new projects.

Despite the persistent sentiment that performance opportunities for jazz musicians are shrinking by the minute, it is reassuring that the past few years in Toronto have seen new jazz programming efforts in festivals, clubs and other venues. These larger efforts reflect the ideals found, at the best of times, in post-secondary music programs: namely, that new opportunities and resources should be developed not for the gains of the individual, but for the betterment of the community.

TUJF: One of the best examples of this community spirit comes in the form of the Toronto Undergraduate Jazz Festival, now in its fourth year (having had its inaugural run in 2015), running from September 4 to 8. Helmed by David M.J. Lee, Dave Holla and Eunsang Edwin Yu – all of whom attended post-secondary jazz programs in Toronto – the festival’s mandate is to “bring attention to the younger generation of musicians” in Toronto, with an emphasis on musicians currently enrolled in (or recently graduated from) post-secondary music programs at the University of Toronto, York University and Humber College. This mission is commendable, as it can take a considerable amount of time for young jazz acts to establish themselves and book the larger shows necessary to the process of audience development; by programming a number of these acts together, the TUJF has created both a valuable opportunity for musicians and a compelling package for audiences who, in other circumstances, might not connect with these performers for several years.

With main festival grounds at Mel Lastman Square and additional performances at Jazz Bistro, Memorial Hall, and The Frog: A Firkin Pub, all of the TUJF performances and masterclasses are open to the public and free to attend. In addition to performances from young musicians, Toronto jazz mainstays Mike Downes and Larnell Lewis are also playing with their respective bands. (Both Downes and Lewis, it should be noted, are also prominent jazz educators, and are on faculty at Humber College.) In addition to these performances, highlights from the festival include The Anthology Project, playing at 8:30pm on September 6, guitarist Luan Phung, playing with his quintet at 6pm on September 7, and Montreal pianist Marilou Buron, whose sextet will be playing at 6pm on September 8. Other notable attractions, according to the 2018 festival map: food trucks, a VIP section, and multiple bouncy castles. Check out listings in this issue of The WholeNote and tujazz.com for full schedule and additional information.

The Heavyweights Brass Band return to this year's Kensington Market Jazz Festival. Photo by Tom Rose.The Heavyweights Brass Band return to this year's Kensington Market Jazz Festival. Photo by Tom Rose.

Kensington Market Jazz: September will also feature the third annual edition of the Kensington Market Jazz Festival, another relatively new enterprise started by local musicians looking to fill a gap in pre-existing jazz programming. Led by Molly Johnson, Ori Dagan, Genevieve Marentette, and Céline Peterson, the KMJF will take place from September 14 to 16, with a large number of different artists in various formats, from solo pianists (including Nancy Walker, Robi Botos and Ewen Farncombe) and guitarists (such as Margaret Stowe, Harley Card and David Occhipinti) to full big bands (including the John MacLeod Orchestra, the Brian Dickinson Jazz Orchestra and the Toronto Jazz Orchestra), with all manner of acts in between.

One of the most interesting aspects of the KMJF is its engagement with Kensington Market businesses in the creation of new performance spaces: while many shows will be taking place at venues that present music throughout the year, including Poetry Jazz Café, Supermarket and LOLA, a large number of shows will be held at businesses that are not regular music venues. Some, like the coffee shop Pamenar and the Hotbox Lounge and Shop, are venues that do host live events, although they do not usually present jazz. Other businesses, like the discount suit shop Tom’s Place, are functioning as special venues specifically for the festival.

Beyond the shows previously mentioned, highlights include Joanna Majoko, playing at 1pm on September 15, Tania Gill and Friends, playing at 5pm (also on September 15), and Anh Phung, who will be playing at 6pm on September 16. Please check out listings in this issue and kensingtonjazz.com for full schedule – and please note that ticketed events are cash only (although the festival features both free and ticketed shows).

Apart from new programming at emergent jazz festivals, September sees the return of post-secondary ensembles to the Toronto club scene, with representation from U of T, York and Humber: U of T jazz ensembles resume their weekly slot on Mondays at 6pm at The Rex, the Humber College Faculty Jazz Jam will be taking place at 9:30pm on September 18 (also at The Rex), and the York Jazz Ensemble will be performing in the matinee slot on September 22 at Alleycatz. Beyond school-associated acts, there are several other exciting shows taking place throughout the month, including Sam Kirmayer, at Jazz Bistro, on the 16th; The Rex’s Annual Birthday Tribute to John Coltrane, with the Pat LaBarbera and Kirk MacDonald Quintet, on September 20, 21 and 22; Christine Duncan, Laura Swankey and Patrick O’Reilly at the Tranzac, on September 23; and the Nick Fraser Quartet at The Emmet Ray, on September 24.

September marks the beginning of a rich artistic cycle within the improvised music community that will play out through summer 2019. For the concert-going public – from the most casual fan to club regulars – September is a wonderful opportunity to become reacquainted with your favourite performers, check out a few new venues, and set the tone for the rest of the 2018/19 scholastic year, regardless of your own educational status. Enjoy.

MAINLY CLUBS, MOSTLY JAZZ QUICK PICKS

Pat LaBarbera (left) and Kirk MacDonaldSEP 7, 6PM: Toronto Undergraduate Jazz Festival: Luan Phung Quintet. Drawing from the work of Boulez and Schoenberg as well as the jazz tradition, guitarist Luan Phung brings his exciting quintet to Mel Lastman Square for a free show at the TUJF.

SEP 16, 6PM: Kensington Market Jazz Festival: Anh Phung. Equally at home playing orchestral music and the music of Jethro Tull, flutist and singer Anh Phung performs at LOLA as part of the KMJF.

SEP 20 to 22, 9:30PM: The Rex’s Annual Birthday Tribute to John Coltrane: Pat LaBarbera & Kirk MacDonald Quintet. An annual event at The Rex featuring master saxophonists Pat LaBarbera and Kirk MacDonald leading a world-class quintet, celebrating Coltrane’s life and music.

SEP 23, 10PM: Christine Duncan, Patrick O’Reilly, and Laura Swankey at The Tranzac. Leading improvising vocalist Christine Duncan is joined by guitarist Patrick O’Reilly and vocalist Laura Swankey for an evening of new music at The Tranzac.

Colin Story is a jazz guitarist, writer and teacher based in Toronto. He can be reached at www.colinstory.com, on Instagram and on Twitter.

HughsRoom bannerHugh's RoomIt’s a time of year when a distinct trend emerges insofar as traditional concert venues are concerned. A bunch of the year-round busy ones tend to go dormant. And places one might never have thought of as concert venues become the sky-lit backdrop for all kinds of music that more usually remain indoors.

A parallel syndrome manifests itself on the club scene – the mainstay, bastion venues (the “real listening rooms,” as we like to call them), concede defeat to the beach, the cottage and the patio. “You can’t fight patio syndrome. We’ll be back in the fall when you’re ready to get serious again.”

On the other side of the coin, dozens if not hundreds of other clubs, bars and restaurants, all over the map, get drawn into the ever-growing summer scene and buy into the music venue idea, for a brief and glorious explosion of musical activity. After which the potted plant gets put back on the piano, where it belongs, and the extra table or two gets put back in place where the temporary stage inconveniently was.

Festivals have a lot to do with this explosion of activity, of course: within Toronto, TD Jazz, Kensington Jazz Festival and the granddaddy of them all, the Beaches Jazz Festival, turn whole districts into summer postcard illusions of Basin Street. Music festivals all over (Westben, Montreal Baroque, TD Niagara Jazz and Music at Port Milford jump to mind) forge intricate partnerships with networks of eateries and imbiberies (to coin a phrase) that more usually primarily cater to other-than-musical appetites. It’s a win-win. Festivals get to add new audiences, and sometimes a broader range of music, to their usual fare. Eateries get to add music to the menu.

All of this is of course a huge generalization. Certain mainstay venues, like some of the regulars in these listings, are largely immune to seasonal vicissitude. But it’s useful background information to the interesting announcement that Toronto venue Hugh’s Room Live has decided this year to ramp up its programming rather than go quiet through the dog days of the summer. The Hugh’s Room battle to keep its doors open got a lot of press some 18 months back; relaunched cooperatively under the name Hugh’s Room Live, it has now successfully negotiated a full comeback year (including a complete makeover of its previously ponderous and predictable dinner menu in favour of an agile, sharing-friendly, tapas-style approach).

Derek Andrews (who among many other things in his curatorial career programmed memorable public stage lineups at David Pecaut Square for Luminato) is the programming lead for Hugh’s Room Live. For this particular venture, billed Summer Nights Festival, he has to date lined up close to 50 shows between June 15, when it kicks off with a Stevie Wonder Tribute show, and August 23 (We Banjo 3 from Ireland) when it officially ends.

In between, Andrews’ (and Hugh’s Room’s) creative eclecticism will be on full display: check out the recurring “Solo Piano Double” series (which brings together unlikely pairings like Robi Botos and Suba Sankaran, for example) to see what I mean. Look at a Hugh’s/Andrews’ lineup and no matter what your musical tastes are, you will likely not know half the names on the list. Chances are once you’ve heard them, you won’t forget them either.

Talking about when Summer Nights officially ends is a bit like talking about when summer itself “officially” ends, because the whole point of the venture is to emphasis that places like Hugh’s are neither fair-weather friends nor just a shelter from the storm. They are part of the necessary musical fabric. Live. Local. Musically intentional.

As for the fair-weather venue phenomenon mentioned at the outset of this story – there’s maybe a bright side there too. How would it be if each year even a few more of the venues that come on board for music during summer festival times decided to stay the course for the rest of the year? And, as important, what would the neighbours think?

Food for thought.

Hugh’s Room Live’s Summer Nights Festival runs from June 15 to August 25, 2018.

David Perlman can be reached at publisher@thewholenote.com.

In the February issue of HalfTones, our between-print-issues e-letter, we ran a story by Sara Constant on this year’s recipients of the TD Toronto Jazz Discoveries Series Awards, now in its eighth year.

As described in that story, the series started in 2011 as a part of the TD Toronto Jazz Festival’s outreach to local performers creating original work, and to year-round, multi-venue jazz programming in the city. “Each year, an assembled Toronto Jazz Fest jury selects four projects to receive support and funding from the festival. Over the last eight years,” the story continues, “the series has accumulated an alumni list that serves as a veritable who’s who of local jazz innovators –[helping] transform the festival from an annual affair into a year-round showcase of local music-making.”

It’s not hard to see how this year’s four recipients fit the bill: Harley Card’s Sunset Ensemble at Lula Lounge, March 1; the Heavyweights Brass Band at Lula Lounge, March 29; Adrean Farrugia and Joel Frahm at Gallery 345, April 27; and a show curated by Aline Homzy titled The Smith Sessions Presents: Bitches Brew at Canadian Music Centre, April 28.

Just as interesting as the alumni, from the perspective of this column, is taking a look at the venues that have been the most active participants in this initiative over the years, both the ones you’d expect to find mentioned regularly here, and also the ones you might not usually associate with jazz.

The Heavyweights Brass BandLula leads: of the usual venues you’d expect to be involved, Lula Lounge leads the pack, starting with the series’ first-ever concert, a Fern Lindzon CD release in April 2011. Since then the Dundas St. W. venue has hosted series concerts by Jaron Freeman-Fox in February 2013, a Heavyweights Brass Band CD release concert in March 2014, Alexander Brown in March 25, Sundar Viswanathan’s AVATAAR in March 2016 and Chelsea McBride’s Socialist Night School CD release in January of last year. And this year the beat continues with Harley Card, March 1 and The Heavyweights in a return visit on March 29.

The Rex and Jazz Bistro: as you might expect, the city’s two premier mainstream venues are both in the running for silver and bronze, with three appearances each over the eight years. The Rex has been venue of choice for a Barry Elmes Quintet CD Release in March 2011, a Nick Fraser double-CD release in May 2016, and The Further Adventures of Jazz Money (Dillan Ponders, Apt and Ghettosocks) in March 2017. And the Bistro has hosted a Beverly Taft Meets the Nathan Hiltz Orchestra CD release concert in April 2014, a first big gig for the Alex Goodman Chamber Quintet in April 2015 and Robi Botos’ Movin’ Forward CD Release in March 2015.

Gallery 345: When you get past those three obvious choices, though, you’re entering some interesting territory – venues with audiences more often in other genres but offering fertile ground for jazz. Gallery 345 on Sorauren heads the list: Mike Downes in March 2012, Shannon Graham and The Storytellers in April 2013, and the Nancy Walker Quintet in 2014. Adrean Farrugia and Joel Frahm (April 27 this year) will actually push Ed Epstein’s little-gallery-that-could ahead of its more storied mainstream colleagues into the silver medal spot.

The Best Rest

Space doesn’t permit the same level of detail for the rest of the venues used to date for the series, but the point is that there are venues out there for putting on shows for audiences that are there to listen. The Music Gallery, previously at St. George the Martyr Church on John St., and its new housemates at 918 Bathurst Cultural Centre have been used four times so far. Small World Music Centre, Alliance Française, the late-lamented Trane Studio, the Lower Ossington Theatre, Knox Presbyterian and Beit Zatoun have also all been used. This year the Canadian Music Centre on St. Joseph joins the list.

If the series continues to encourage adventurous venue hunting as much as it does adventurous music-making, it will continue to serve a worthwhile purpose.

publisher@thewholenote.com

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