“I’ve lasted. I guess I’m sort of successful now, but I worked for nothing for years, and I cried for ten years straight! (laughs). Nobody helped me. They’d say, too bad, so sorry! I used to want to quit every day, then it was every week, then monthly and now it’s maybe once a year.”
To know who’s being quoted in the lines above, you’re going to have to turn to Ori Dagan’s “Free Times Thirty Five” (on page 52 in the September print edition). Safe to say, though, if we had ten bucks for every musician, idealistic publisher or arts dreamer in town who can relate to the quote, we’d have had way less trouble raising the dollars to pay this month’s print bill!
The title “Ten Years Straight,” coincidentally, would also work just fine as a reference to now-nonagenarian columnist Jack MacQuarrie’s remarkable ten year tenure as our Bandstand columnist (page 36). In this month’s column, MacQuarrie points out the fact that composer/arranger Howard Cable was featured in the very first column he wrote for us, and is featured again in this one, albeit for poignantly different reasons.
Composer/arranger Howard Cable, a towering figure on the Canadian musical landscape, is also affectionately and entertainingly remembered in this issue by guest writer Michele Jacot (“The Unstoppable Howard Cable,” page 52). Although their professional association was relatively brief, it was also, as you will read, unforgettable.
Interestingly, another Cable collaborator, Martin Loomer (who worked with Cable as his copyist for decades, literally until the day before Cable died) also features, if somewhat indirectly, in this issue. Loomer, you see, is now music director of the Jim Galloway Wee Big Band. For Toronto jazz lovers, Galloway’s name is synonymous with the Toronto Downtown Jazz Festival, of which he was the longtime artistic director. WholeNote readers in particular will also remember Galloway as our 14-year “Jazz Notes” columnist, and a tireless advocate for live musical performance.
All this to say, on September 15, the Wee Big Band, under Loomer’s direction, will reconvene, for the second time in the Garage - the performance space at 720 Bathurst Street, home-base of The WholeNote. Presented by the Ken Page Memorial Trust in support of the Trust’s educational scholarship fund, it promises to be a rousing musical evening in celebration of Galloway’s life. (Details can be found in a little ad on page 37 of this magazine.)
I’ll hope to see you there! In fact, if you tell me you found out about the event by reading this column, I’ll even let you buy me a drink!
Fools rush in: For those in the know, September 15 (date of the aforementioned Galloway gig) is a pretty brave time to be scheduling a live musical event in Toronto. In fact any day between September 8 and 18 this year runs the risk of falling into the media shadow of TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival), one of the largest festivals of any description on the Canadian landscape.
As WholeNote managing editor Paul Ennis can attest, TIFF precipitates an annual loyalty crisis for any WholeNote reader with a passion for film. Fortunately, Ennis comes to the rescue with “Music Lovers’ TIFF” (page 12), his fifth annual guide to films of musical significance at the festival.
Kensington Jazz: Also daring to tiptoe into the TIFF lion’s den this year is a brash 2016 festival upstart, the first annual Kensington Market Jazz Festival (KMJF), scheduled to run September 16 to 18, TIFF’s final weekend. Far from being daunted, Molly Johnson, the KMJF’s artistic director actually relishes the challenge. She has somehow roped in nearly 100 musicians who read like a Who’s Who of Canadian jazz. (See Bob Ben’s “A Kensington Jazz Story” on page 15.)
The WholeNote traces our earliest roots, in the early 1990s, to a column called “Pulse” in a little independent community newspaper called The Kensington Market DRUM. This new arrival on the festival scene brings our own history full circle, in a rather fine and dandy way.
So, I’ll hope to see you there too. In fact, if you tell me you found out about the event in this column, I’ll even let you buy me a drink!
Not ready for fall: Blame it on climate change, if you will, but this September issue it’s been even harder than usual to let go of writing about what we all did with our summer vacations, and to settle into the serious business of the musical seasons ahead.
A case in point is guest writer Peter Goddard’s “Aix Marks the Spot” on page 8, which deals with an important summer opera festival in the south of France. It’s not all hindsight, though; as Goddard explains, there’s an interesting explanation for how and why what shows up at Aix in the summer may well show up at the Canadian Opera Company in the fall (and a serious object lesson, based on Brexit as a case study, as to what can happen to the cultural community as a whole, when individual entities within that community decide to go it alone.)
And if all this isn’t enough on the festival front, Wende Bartley (“In with the New,” page 26) and Andrew Timar (“World View,” page 35) both zero in (albeit for refreshingly different reasons), on yet another festival that is a new kid on the block – “in/future” at Ontario Place from September 15 to 25.
Reading between the lines, “in/future” looks to me like a profoundly important attempt to establish artistic squatters’ rights to a profoundly important social and cultural public space otherwise ripe for the wrecker’s ball. So check it out!
(If I see you there, I’ll buy you a drink.)
The inside view: One of the things that make this magazine a bit different from many is that a number of of our regular writers are players (literally) in the music scene they write about here. Bartley, for example, is an active participant in in/future, the festival her column revolves around this issue. And harpsichordist David Podgorski, whose ““Early Music” column (page 34) is, in the main, an entertaining discourse on the renaissance of the fortepiano, wraps up by referencing a concert by his own period ensemble, Rezonance, that like the aforementioned Wee Big Band gig takes place here in the Garage at 720 Bathurst Street, on September 25. (Mention to him that you found out about the concert in this column, and I’m sure he will let you buy him a drink.)
Speaking of the inside view, this issue also includes the 12th installment of former CBC Radio Producer David Jaeger’s ongoing series on the Golden Years of CBC Radio (page 78), over the course of which he has taken us from the early years of Glenn Gould’s association with CBC Radio through to the apparent end, in 2008, of the CBC’s commitment to the nurturing of the music that fills these pages.
Now that the overall terrain of the story has been surveyed, it will be interesting to discover, in this next go round, where he chooses to drill down!
Welcome (and welcome back): With the upcoming October issue, “the season” gets off and running in earnest. Both on stage and behind the scenes, we’ll hope to be your companion through its twists and turns, highs and lows.
Start your engines.