Friday, May 23, 2008

2008_05_22 Lydia's in Saskatoon

I happened to be walking down Broadway, when I heard music. I have an ear for 'live music' and this was definately live - a keyboard. I turned and went up some stairs to a bar - Lydia's. No music. Then I heard it again, in a side door. Up another flight of stairs, and I saw Danielle French. hmm... Karen Kosowski was performing, Danielle and Rozalind MacPhail were waiting their turn. I snapped a few pics with my G9, and had to leave for a moment. I was back in 10 minutes. As I left, Danielle launched into her 'tribute to Tom Waits' tune, and it kept music in my head as I drove across town and back. When I got back, the same parking spot was still empty. I love Saskatoon!

Danielle, Rozalind and Karen are doing a cross country (well, Vancouver to Toronto anyway) tour. I had just happened on them by a fortunate chance. I managed to hear most of the (second?) set before they stopped to head off to Regina for a sleep before a performance in Winnipeg tomorrow.

Rozalind plays flute and guitar, and a strange computer beast - intersting sounds she gets from it. Karen on keyboards and vocals. Danielle on guitar and vocals. They took turns, with Rozalind often joining in with her flute to add some richness to their music.


Monday, May 19, 2008

Greg Cockerill and Pat Phillips at Earls on 16th

Live music at Earls? In Calgary? Who'da thunk it? We cruised into Earls and saw the flier advertising live music on Mondays. Hmm... I thought -- to bad it isn't Monday. We had just ordered our drinks when the distinctive sounds of live music came thru the din of workday done shooter contests. I guess it is Monday.

One of the booths was full of instruments and electronics. The music was well suited to a Calgary Earls. Guitar, drums, an occasional harmonica, vocals of mostly cover tunes. In the Early Mornin' Rain -- to I'm Still in Love With You. With two wide-screen tv's running behind, from football to wrestling -- seemed strangley normal for Calgary. A few customers were listening, but most seemed simply glad to be away from work on a long weekend.

One of the curious things I have noted about Calgary is the absence of children in 'public' places. Earls was full of 'twenty-somethings', not a single child and hardly anyone over 40. I felt a bit out of place. But the food was Earl's consistent. I generally have the Quesedillas - but decided on a burger this evening(with Stella of course). Excellent quality, consistent food and service -- and now, music on Mondays. Check it out.


2008_05_17 Céline La Coste at Beat Niq

I arrived a bit late at Beat Niq - more so because of the destruction on 9th ave, searching for a parking spot... Lucky for me, Céline delivered a long set, so I got lots of time to listen (and take pictures). Céline grew up French, and said she didn't learn English until the 4th grade - she sings in Spanish and Portugese (Jobim of course) as well. She was well supported by local musicians Egor Ukoloff on piano, Gerry Hebert on sax, James Bailey on guitar (nice solo), Mark Johnson on bass and Luis Angel on percussion. They were all enjoying the performance and the music.

Céline has a beautiful voice and fun stage presence. The club was full, and the crowd enjoyed her tunes and stage banter. As the set ended, she let the 'band' do a tune as she went out into the audience to say hello to old friends and to make new friends.


Saturday, May 17, 2008

2008_05_15 Jazz at Kit's on 16th - the manic thematic trio

Cindy Mcleod told be a few months ago that she was starting up some jazz on Thursday nights at Kit's on 16th. I arrived late on the 15th - after having a great dinner at Buon Giourno with family. Cindy was not there, but Mark D'Angelo gave me a friendly greeting.

I missed the manic thematic trio when they were in Edmonton, so it was nice to catch a bit of them at Kit's. On stage, Ralf Buschmeyer was leading with his guitar, supported by John Hyde on bass and Andy Ericson on drums. I always enjoy Ralf's smooth sound, and he is so hard working it seems I run into him every second time I'm down in Calgary -- and occasionally in Edmonton as well. Funnily enough I heard John Hyde the night before at Beat Niq's Swing Dance evening. As far as I know, I've only heard Andy once, when he played the 2006 C-Jazz festival with the Jeff Hendrick Group. He also works with a lot of other musicians in performanc and studio. The group was playing original music, but it sounded smooth and familiar - they were obviously having a good time as well. You can check out thier sound at CD Baby

Kit's jazz room is in the basement. A few weeks ago, I took in their Saturday afternoon Blues Jam - very loud! Jazz in the basement was much more 'listenable' - especially with this trio on deck.

If you're looking for a jazz fix on a weeknight, check out Kit's on 16th - downstairs, enter thru the back. You won't be sorry. Kit's on 16th website


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Piq Niq, Beat Niq - jazz, song and dance

I'm on the road for a few days, so Edmonton Stages will be 'stages visited by an Edmontonian'. Last night I visited Piq Niq restaruant - had the Steak Frites 'medium rare' - excellent food and service. Mari Jo de Waal sang jazz standards, with Kevin Smith accompanied on guitar, from a corner so small they had to take turns to get in and out.

Then I slipped downstairs to Beat Niq to catch a bif of the Swing Dance party. John Hyde, John de Waal, Derek Stoll and Gerry Hebert provide music for swing dance. It was nice to see some of the Juno banners still decorating the space. it was early, and the crowd hand`t gathered yet. The music was danceable, and when `Stars Fell on Alabama`. Two couples came to the floor to show us thier swing dance moves. It was getting late so I left them to party into the night.

Beat Niq / Piq Niq photos
Piq Niq Slideshow Beat Niq Slideshow

Piq Niq is a quiet oasis of music and food a half block off the noise and drunkenness of Stephen Avenue. Beat Niq is the jazz club in the basement, you can enter thru the restaurant or thru the alley door. You can order Piq Niq food from Beat Niq if you are hungry -- or eat upstairs and slip downstairs afterwards for more jazz

Piq Niq / Beat Niq website

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

2008_04_19 Drew and Lindsey at Hulbert's

Drew and Lindsey are having a good time. It shows in the pics - and in their music. If you want to have a great time, check them out. The music is fast paced, energetic. They are a well matched pair - playing off each other's strengths, working and playing music they love.

I've caught Drew and Lindsey a couple of times before. The first time, I thought "who are they and why haven't I heard them before". I've caught them a few times since and the energy is always there. Lindsey Walker sings - loud, soft, fast, slow, rhythm, beat, ballad. Drew Malcolm plays guitar - soft, loud, slow, fast, he puts energy into Lindsey's tunes. You need to experience them to see how well two talented musicians can perform together. Drew and Lindsey are GMCC graduates - but I think they'll always be 'students of music'. Trying new things, re-learning or re-working tunes they know. It shows in the music.

Watch out for them, and maybe I'll see you - because I'm watching for them too. Drew and Lindsey are also part of the group 'West of Winnipeg'. I've not caught West of Winnipeg live yet, but myspace shows a similar sound, a bit more rich - more instrumentation. Thier myspace says 'blues, classic rock, funk', but I've also heard Lindsey swing over to a jazz tune.

You can hear a bit of Drew and Lindsey at their MySpace


Hulbert's webspace

2008_04_19 Bruce and Lori Mohacsy at Jeffrey's Cafe

After a late night of cruising around town, I slipped over to Jeffrey's Cafe for a cool Stella and a cookie. Bruce and Lori Mohacsy were in fine form this evening. Andrew Glover and Wes Yaciuk provided accompaniment. It was late, past my bedtime, but I couldn't help myself from staying for another, and then another, and another tune. I don't think they have a CD? But if you want to hear a few tunes, cruise over to Lori's MySpace

Jeffrey's Cafe has music on Friday nights - mostly jazz and blues. Get there early, there are not many tables, and it's often packed.


2008_05_05 Swinging Sisters Club at CBC Centre Stage

CBC's centre stage is springing forth with music every day this week. On Monday I dropped by to catch Kate Ryan, Bridget Ryan, and Beth Portman - the Swinging Sisters - do a preview of their upcoming show.

Like Mark Connelly the CBC host, I felt jealous when they sang "Oh, Johnny, Oh Johnny - how he could love". The swinging sisters delivered fresh new arrangements of old familiar songs under the direction of Roxanne Classen. I saw this show at the Fringe and enjoyed every minute.

The Swinging Sisters Club presents a Mother's Day Weekend Treat at Pleasantview Hall at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm on Saturday. Music from the 40's. Take mom - and gram. They'll both enjoy it.


Monday, May 5, 2008

2008_04_18 Shelley Jones CD Release at the Yardbird Suite

When I came into the Yardbird Suite, I first heard the drums. I was struck by the power of Jamie Cooper, before I saw him. Then I heard voices. Female voices? Who is singing with Shelley Jones?

Edmonton jazz vocalist Shelley Jones was accompanied by Andrew Glover, John Taylor, Wes Yaciuk and Jamie Cooper, and also joined by Rhonda Withnell and Lenka Slaba. Shelley's music ranged from smooth jazz, thru pop and blues to Carnival Ole in Rio - one of my favorites. Rhonda and Lenka joined in some pieces and stepped back into the darkness on others. If often hear Shelley working with Andrew and Wes. It was a real pleasure to hear a few more voices.

Shelley picked up a guitar for a while, and gave us a bit of call and response with John Taylor on bass. I think Andrew persuaded her to take up the guitar on stage. She collaborated with him to write and produce the tunes on the CD.

You can hear more of Shelley at Jeffrey's Cafe on May 9th, and at Fresh Start Bistro on June 13th. Maybe I'll see you there.


Shelley's website

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Yardbird All Stars tribute to Duke Ellington

I was one of the lucky few who managed to get to see the Yardbird All Starts over the weekend - both shows were totally sold out. We saw Senator Tommy Banks take the role of Duke Ellington to lead the group. At almost 9 pm a car pulled up and double parked -- I headed out to tell the occupant that we werre already sold out. "I have to see the show," he said "I've heard that the great PJ Perry is doing Johnny Hodges!' Of course it was PJ himself :-) Kent Sangster did Paul Gonsalves, Harry Carney was performed by Dave Babcock. Bob Tildesley replaced Cat Anderson's toilet plunger with a modern trumpet stopper. Craig Brennan was Lawrence Brown on trombone. Mike Lent was John Lamb on bass - and Rufus Jones was performed by Juno Award winner Sando Dominelli.

Everybody who was anybody was there. I was the 'volunteer house manager' for the evening, so I got a chance to talk to lots of 'old friends'. Many who have supported the Suite for decades. Board member Craig McGill was introduced by CBC's Jacqueline Janelle. CBC taped a live GO! program the night before, left the equipment in the Suite to tape this show for a summer broadcast. Listen for it in June on CBC radio.

Tom was in his element. Leading the cream of local jazz musicians, in front of an imtimate - and apprciative crowd. We got stories about the music, and jokes about the past, and today's politics. "Bush wants to run for another term. He's been told that you can only be elected for two terms - his argument? 'but I've only won once?".

I was tempted to come by on Saturday to listen to the show again, it was so good -- and it is hard to listen carefully when I am volunteering. But I checked ticketmaster, and Saturday's show was sold out earlier in the week.

The show ended with a standing ovation, requiring an encore from the band.

Yardbird Suite Website