Sunday, 22 December 2013

Barbra Lica Live To Air

A while back, while on one of Jaymz Bee's JazzFM jazz safaris, Handsome Man and I 'discovered' Barbra Lica. We had heard her music many times on Jazz FM but had never caught her live. We were quite impressed. So this past week, on December 19th 2013, when we were given the opportunity to attend a Live To Air broadcast featuring Barbra, we jumped at the chance. 

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Three ''Depends''- Worthy Broads (originally published in reviews)

Diane Leah, Heather Bambrick, Julie Michels

I have seen, and heard, Julie Michels, Heather Bambrick and Diane Leah all perform separately. And LOVED each of them. All three are incredibly talented, each balancing extremely well with the others musical gifts. More than that, they are consummate entertainers. Heather, Diane and Julie keep the audience entertained, not just with their musical ability, but with their fun-loving personalities as well. 

Together, they are Broadsway

And, to paraphrase Elaine from Seinfeld

THEY ARE ''Depends-Worthy''!

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

A night with Joey D, his phenomenal B3 and maybe a crystal ball!

Photo courtesy of Janet Jardine
For quite some time in the early 2000s I was an 'Orbit Room Girl'.The Orbit Room is one of the very FEW places anywhere that has an original B3 Organ. Its a musicians bar. Only those serious about music, and fun, go to The Orbit, and only the best play there. I hung out at Orbit A LOT. It was at The Orbit Room that I first saw Joey DeFrancesco dazzle on the keys. The LAST time I saw him, he was battling on the B3's with Brian Auger and his Bolivian Express at The Mod Club. That was WAY back in 2005. AWESOME night!!! Unfortunately,  I just haven't been able to catch any of Joey's other gigs since then. Something I have always regretted. But then JazzFM came along and convinced Joey D to perform alongside The JazzFM Youth Big Band as part of the Sound Of Jazz Concert Series at The Old Mill. Well,  actually, I doubt it took much convincing. Joey has always been incredible at encouraging the younger generations. Handsome Man had never seen Joey live so we grabbed tix right away. As usual we were Keeners, arriving second in line to only one couple. While waiting, Marty and the other new friends we made at the Dick Hyman Sound of Jazz performance showed up, and wonderful music discussions unfolded. But in reality,  we were all just chomping at the bit, waiting to get in to hear Joey. What we didn't expect, all of us that is except the first couple in line, was that Joey would be taking a back seat that night.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Anoushka Shankar at Koerner Hall

Handsome Man and I sat in front of the computer a few months back and grabbed tickets to some hot concerts at Koerner Hall, the exceptional Royal Conservatory of Music performance space. This past Saturday night, we were treated to perhaps the FINEST evening of music either of us have ever experienced. 

Friday, 15 November 2013

Take Off, Eh- link to Days of Whine and Rosè article about the Ford Brothers

I generally keep my tales on JazzBrat confined to music, whereas I write about family, autism and more in Days Of Whine and Rosè . But since 'Take Off, Eh!' is a comparison of the unfortunate similarities between the Fords and McKenzie Brothers,Rick Moranis' and Dave Thomas' alter-egos, and since Jazz Brat is MY alter ego, I thought I'd give you the link. I know, thin line of reasoning, but there it is!

Read my mini rant, and comment away, here

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Mike Murley at The Homesmith Bar...... and how I USED him!

Mike Murley at Homesmith Bar

Ok, I admit, I'm a Mike Murley groupie. That's NOT my confession, but just had to get that out there first. I've been catching his gigs for a decade now. I first saw him one Sunday afternoon when I popped into The Pilot for some afternoon jazz. I was blown away. He is one of the foremost Jazz Sax players around, and that's not just groupie-me talking. His music speaks for itself. One of my favourite CDs (wearing thin now!) is Mnemosyne's March, and Reflections is on my Christmas list. I have seen Mike at Montreal Bistro with David Occhipinti (still my fave gig of all time!), The Pilot quite few times, China House and various JazzFM Sound of Jazz concerts. But my favourite venue to see and hear Mike Murley is Homesmith Bar in The Old Mill Inn.  

He was there last Saturday.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

And The Fifth Caller is.... ME! Live to Air with Jimmy Webb

If you know me, you'll know I'm an avid listener of JazzFm here in Toronto. You'll also know I NEVER win ANYTHING. But this particular time, I was really TRYING to win. Jimmy Webb was to be performing in the Long and McQuade Performance Hall within the JazzFm studios, a small venue, or a large studio, not really sure which description is more appropriate. The ONLY way to attend was to win tickets. And I WANTED to go! I kept calling in during Heather Bambrick's morning show, determined, but unsuccessful.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

What's Hallowe'en Without a Little Music?

Every October 31st, while handing out treats, I stick on some appropriate CDs and sip either Hot Chocolate or Sparkling Wine (depending on how harried my Hallowe'en is!). 
This year I thought I`d share some of my faves with you! 
Happy Hallowe'en everyone! 
Enjoy, and remember, leave some candy for the kids!

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Why was everyone surprised about Myley? Thats how Disney works

I refused to weigh in on all the furor over the Myley Cyrus scandal 
(which one? doesn't matter). 
I just sat back and watched. 

I really did not want to be part of THAT. 

Now that its died down somewhat I can say my peace. Not about Myley. But about everyone, once again, getting sucked in by Disney.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

'The Jazz Effect' - Why does Jazz make you H-O-T?

One of the first things I discovered about Jazz, and it wasn't difficult to figure out, was the actual physical effects it has on your body. 

Jazz is arousing.

Monday, 21 October 2013

OMG its OMD, and my discovery of musical diversity through Blondie

Originally published on Days Of Whine and Rosè 



Handsome Man, knowing Once an 80's girl, Always an 80's girl, surprised me a while back with tix to see Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark (OMD ) at Danforth Music Hall next week. 

I am so excited! But be forewarned, its made me nostalgic!

My parents were children of the 1920s and 30s, Jazz was their Pop music. While I was growing up, Dad was always humming or whistling some Duke Ellington tune or quoting Lady Day, and Mom was always tapping her toes to something on the radio.I'm the youngest of 9 children, and my brothers and sisters are much older than I am. They came of age in the late 50s and 60s, so their music, Beatles, Stones, Cars, Yes permeated my infancy and childhood. The 80s is when I discovered music that was mine. With the foundation of my parents and siblings music I was able to be open to anything and everything musically, and discovered myself as well as my musical taste in that much-maligned decade.

We Be Jammin'

Originally published on Days Of Whine and Rosè 


3 amazing women bringing open jams to a venue near you!

This Jazz Brat loves live music and I have found the best place to go for some jazz or funk is ANYWHERE there is an open jam session. Three of the best (and very different) jams in the city are all hosted by extraordinary women with wonderful tales to tell, and conveniently all on different days! I was able to get out to all three this past week and I'm still grinning ear to ear.

Donald Quan, Musideum, and Healing Through Music

Originally published on Days Of Whine and Rosè 



Donald Quan and his beautiful family

During the summer of 2010 I discovered an amazing, and at the time not very well known, music venue, Musideum. Donald Quan's gorgeous inspiration brought to life.

"MUSIDEUM is a magical room where music always passes from performer to audience with zero hindrance….as ripples and vibrations pass through water, music passes through the air and the soul with musical instruments being the means. Musideum is a place where music is always shared with all that are willing to receive."

If you've been lucky enough to catch a performance at Musideum you are sure to have met Donald. His infectious glee introducing any act leaves you addicted. From that point on you can never get enough of Donald and his beloved Musideum. When I began Days of Whine and Rosé I KNEW I would have to write about him. So I started to do some research. Donald is an accomplished musician and composer who has numerous awards and nominations to his credit. In 2008 Donald, noticing a lack of places to pick up world instruments, not centred on the musician, but on the instruments themselves, opened Musideum.

A warm rich environment of aged wood and exposed brick is filled to the rafters with instruments of every sort, a truly zen-like atmosphere pervades. You can't help but feel at peace as you walk through the doors. Eventually Donald started to open his doors to musicians seeking a more intimate venue, forever beautifully changing the Toronto music scene. But as I continued my research, I came across stories that blew me away. I easily came to a decision. This story would not be about Musideum per se, it would be about Donald.

Most of who I am is a creator

Donald Quan

In August of 2009, Donald was playing keys for the Derek Miller band at the Kitchener Blues Festival. He felt his heart beat erratically. Then it stopped. Donald collapsed onstage. He was clinically dead for 17 minutes. Donald had suffered a heart arrythmia, a condition brought about by the gruelling physical and emotional stress endured as a touring musician (similar to a marathon runner). Unlike most who experience this extreme medical condition, Donald survived. His wife pregnant with twins and a world of music yet to explore, Donald was not about to give up. He was placed in a medically induced coma to enable his physical healing, but he suffered damage to his brain tantamount to a massive stroke. As a young child I watched as my once vibrant grandmother was taken away from us by the effects of a decade long battle with stroke after stroke. She fiercely battled back each time, in any way she could, until her body was too tired to fight any longer. That personal war she waged to heal her brain was always an inspiration. It takes incredible internal reserves, excellent care and a fair bit of luck to recover from a stroke. I guess thats why I have such unflinching admiration for those who win the battle, like Donald Quan.

With the help of The Toronto Rehab  Donald learned to walk and talk again, learned to balance his books, take the ttc, and all the basic life skills you need. But Donald isn't defined by his life skills. Creativity and music are at the core of Donald's being. As incredible as his practitioners were, that was a part of him they could not heal, and Donald would never feel whole without it. There was no way Donald could resume the life of a touring musician without his skills, he had to get them back. There were bills to pay and a creative need that couldn't be suppressed. Doctors warned Donald that the stress of touring was likely to cause another attack, and he may not be as lucky the second time. There are no rehab facilities that help you recover your musical talent so the clinicians tried desperately to get Donald to accept his physically and creatively restrained lifestyle. Luckily for us, Donald, a classic A-type personality would not take the lack of medical resources as an excuse to NOT heal this most precious part of himself, he'd find a way.

Prior to Donalds brush with death, being an actively touring musician, he had others running the day to day operations of Musideum. The problem with having a vision is rarely do others share it. The brilliance of Musideum, without his regular input, had fallen to the wayside. This was something that weighed heavily on Donald, but with his hectic schedule there was no other option. AFTER his brush with death, Donald was inspired. He'd "prove to the naysayers, challenge myself and make Musideum, and myself, BETTER than before!" Donald fought to bring back his technical skill, but what better way to rehabilitate his ESSENCE, his musical talent and creativity, then by taking Musideum back into his own hands, bringing the true vision to life.

Musideum is located in an historic building at 401 Richmond, one of the most successful re-imaginings of what had been dilapidated urban factory space anywhere. People come regularly from countries around the world to study the creative and financial success that is 401 Richmond. Donald had a long history there, one of the very first tenants in the building. "I'm going to show MYSELF I can hold these concerts". But how? Musicians do not have vacation time, get paid sick leave or qualify for EI. His finances had dropped to practically ZERO. HOW could he keep Musideum running, with no touring income to pay the bills all while rehabilitating his talent? As I'm sure you've figured out by now, Donald is a pretty exceptional person, and very easy to love. When Donald came to the decision he would unfortunately have to close Musideum, 401 Richmond would have none of it. His fellow tenants and management  did all they could to help him to re-establish himself, and Donald didn't disappoint them, or US! 

As a lifelong composer and musician, Donald had always been troubled by the treatment artists received while touring. Venues that were inadequate from a technical standpoint, booking agents who treat the talent as less than human, etc etc. He was determined to make Musideum into an artists' paradise, thereby allowing true creativity to thrive and be SHARED. Musicians and artists of all genres are treated with respect at Musideum. From a technical standpoint, the place is incredible, better than most studios. Donald works with the artists, but never hinders them. All of the artists I've spoken with have said the phrase they hear most often from Donald is "This place is here for you as much as for me". He provides studio time, advice and a venue to artists who put as much into their own careers as he puts into his. He has incredible respect for artists committed to their work. To date since opening the re-visioned Musideum after his collapse on stage, Donald has been host to over 450 performances. Shows are booked 3 months in advance, and as a frequent audience member I can tell you performances sell out quickly. Donald's stress levels, now that he is actively involved in Musideum, have dropped to practically nil and he is happier than ever before. Able to be with his family and fulfil his creative needs all while operating a successful business. A business that brings wonder and joy into the lives of so many. Artists adore him!
"I have have had the pleasure of performing and recording a XMas concert at Musiduem and it was magical. Also, Donald was beyond gracious when hosting a Benefit concert for former Ten Feet Tall owners: Carin and Andy. He is a lovely soul with a deep respect for musicians and their struggle to survive in a world that depreciates artists. He is a music encyclopedia and a giant talent himself. He IS the real deal. " Pat Murray
"I've had the distinct pleasure of performing at Musideum upon several occasions. From the excellent piano to the ambiance of the space to the music audiences that Donald attracts, it is an experience that I cherish."  Rita di Ghent 

Always a giver, and inspired by his friend Talia Wooldridge who was there before, during and after the crisis, Donald is now sharing the power of music through Music Can Heal. An incredible collective of musicians who provide soothing spiritual music at the bedside of critically or terminally ill people.

Near death and extreme brain damage can't keep Donald from being the compassionate talented man he is. All it did was enable him to reset the dial to zero and create the life he was meant to lead.

On July 23, 2013, Donald Quan announced to the world that he had repaired his brain to almost 99% of where he was prior to the attack. He has recovered his musical talent and composition skills. No, not just 'recovered', he has progressed creatively far beyond his pre-arrythmia days. As a thank you to Toronto Rehab, Donald composed and recorded an album, appropriately titled "17 minutes of Silence ", a musical expression of his new found lease on life. The CD is due for re-release early in 2014, but you  can get a taste of Donald's musical brilliance here


Donald, the journey of discovery I took while researching and writing this post is one I shall never forget. It has been my GREAT honour to share your story

Just Call Me Julie.....My Evening With Dick Hyman

Originally published on Days Of Whine and Rosè 


Just Call Me Julie.....My Evening With Dick Hyman


Sunday, 20 October 2013

TD Jazz Fest 2013 and how amazing Jazz can be tainted by Age-ism

Originally published on Days Of Whine and Rosè 

Fear Not The Sneer 
One of the truly wonderful things about living in T-Dot is the abundance of festivals during the summer months. Go away for a weekend and you're sure to miss something incredible. The last week of June (June 20th-29th) was the ever increasingly amazing TD Jazz Fest. Major headliners like Smokey Robinson paired with Martha and the Vandellas (FREE CONCERT!), to Willie Nelson,Steve Martin and Nikki Yanovsky, fabulous well known local talent such as Ori Dagen , Mike MurleyDanny MarksNorman Marshall Villeneuve along with amazing out of towners and up and coming locals made for a fabulous run. 
Montreal, I have incredible memories of The Festival International de Jazz de Montréal but look out- you may be de-throned as King of the Canadian Jazz Festivals in the near future!

Jazz Fm Jazz Safari

Originally published on Days of Whine and Rosè

I have never had a lot of money to throw around, but that 1/16 of me that is Scottish knows how to use the  little I have to the most advantage. My children never go without, I've learned to make incredible gourmet meals from nothing (regular quote from Handsome Man 'Really? I had all these ingredients in MY fridge?' ), I find a way to enjoy music and the arts without breaking the budget, and I find a way to SUPPORT the arts that in their way support me.