David Braid and Phil Nimmons in 2010. The “Champions’ Cabaret” at The Music Gallery celebrated the induction of Nimmons and several others as new Champions for Music Education, by the Coalition for Music Education.On June 3, 2023, the clarinetist, composer, bandleader and educator Phil Nimmons celebrated his 100th birthday. Born in 1923 in Kamloops, Nimmons has been a major force on the Canadian jazz scene since the 1950s, when – following his formal music education, at both Juilliard in New York and at Toronto’s own Royal Conservatory of Music – he formed his much-venerated Nimmons ’n’ Nine group, with which he would go on to record nine albums, embark on innumerable tours, and perform regularly on CBC broadcasts.

Read more: As The Music Heads Outdoors

Laila Biali. Photo by Edith Maybin.The Rex: On April 12, guitarist/vocalist Jocelyn Gould plays The Rex in a four-night run with her quintet. Originally from Winnipeg, Gould came to Toronto by way of the University of Manitoba, where she did her undergraduate studies in jazz, and Michigan State University, where she earned a Master’s of Music. A Benedetto endorsee, Gould plays in a traditionalist style, with the athletic bebop lines, octaves and bluesy flourishes of her cited influences (Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass, Kenny Burrell, Grant Green) on full display.

Read more: Familiar Venues and a Brand New Festival

Lula Lounge, photo by Jesse Milns.

This month, a rosy cherub will emerge from the snow, cock its heart-shaped bow and let loose its velvet arrows somewhere in our general direction. Not everyone enjoys Valentine’s Day, of course. For those not in relationships, it can be a grim reminder – at such a cold time of the year – of the bleak overwhelm of enduring solitude (this writer’s advice: the Internet is vast). For those whose love boat is floundering on stormy seas, February 14 can be a tricky obstacle to navigate. (Helpful hint: it is probably not, as one might assume, a propitious time to send one’s partner that article about trying an open relationship.) For the lucky number of you, however, who are looking to hit the town and celebrate your love by listening to some live music, possibilities abound.

Read more: February 14 - it’s Clubs and Hearts

Queer Songbook Orchestra. Photo by Roya Delsol.In case you’ve forgotten, at the beginning of December of last year, as a tumultuous 2021 came to a close, the season was looking tentatively merry and bright: indoor gatherings were once again possible, venues seemed to have definitively reopened, and life was returning to, dare we say it, some semblance of normalcy. And then, of course, we were back in lockdown, first in the ten-people-or-fewer, please-don’t-sneeze-on-Santa version of mid-to-late December, and then, come January, in the full dress-shirt-and-sweatpants version.

Read more: A Toast to Amnesia as the Music Goes Live (Again)!

Koerner Hall is, most assuredly, not a club. Completed in 2009 as the centrepiece of the Royal Conservatory’s massive mid-2000s renovation, the venue’s plush seating, acoustic clarity and ligneous splendour have made it a major destination for all manner of art music. Unlike the venues normally covered in this column, typical club activities – hooting at the stage, drinking in one’s seat, posting shaky Instagram clips of instrumental solos with fire emojis in the middle of a song – are frowned upon, though still possible (other than drinking in one’s seat), with a little determination and disregard for concert-hall decorum.

Read more: Decorum Be Damned! Jazz in the Concert Hall
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