(Montreal and vicinity)
Despite people complaining that the Montreal jazz scene quiets down after the Festival ends there is plenty to grab the jazz fans attention here. September was a busy month and October is shaping up to be one of the busiest months in recent times. As I mentioned two sessions done at the historic Studio Victor wrapped up, Dorothee Berryman's second session as a singer and the third Susie Arioli date with the wonderful guitar of Jordan Officer and on some tracks, the equally awesome Michael Jerome Brown. There was some good fun music for both the musicians and the audience when Jean Derome, Normand Guilbeault and Pierre Tanguay did a weekend at Upstairs at the beginning of the month. That spot continues to be THE spot in town for jazz of the first rank and during the month, "The Gods of Taste", the Kevin Dean Quintet with Janis Steprans, Andre White, Alec Walkington and Dave Laing and Vancouver based singer Lorraine Foster with John Roney, Adrian Vadady and Jim Doxas all made memorable appearances. On September 6th, pianist Steve Amirault celebrated his 40th birthday at his regular gig at The House of Jazz [2060 Alymer] where his new trio of Kieran Overs and drummer John Fraboni can be heard in the early evening on Friday and Saturday. Overs, who's in Montreal to get his Masters degree at McGill, is being kept busy, one week he worked at Modavie and at 40 West as well as the trio gig with Steve. (On October 27, he'll be in Ottawa at Mother McGinty's with vocalist Karen Oxorn, pianist Mark Ferguson, bassist Denis Ouellette and tenorman Mike Tremblay). Vic Vogel continues to rehearse new material with his Nonet -- oops, Octet + One, apparently he doesn't like the word "Nonet". Both drummer Thom Gossage and Ranee Lee launched new CDs during the month and the Jazz Festival presented bassist Daniel Lessard's quintet of Yannick Rieu, Kevin Dean, Muhammad Abdul Al-Khabyyr and Andre White in the cozy Savoy room of Metropolis. Quite a month, and I only mentioned events that I attended. On a sad note bassist Jim McHarg of Metro Stompers fame and drummer Billy Smith died in Toronto and trumpeter Don Dunbar in Montreal. There will be a memorial for Don held at the Canadian Legion, 5455 deMaisonneuve W (Vendome Metro) at 3 pm on Sunday, October 26 and his arranger brother Wally Dunbar (who wrote "L'il Bro" for Don) will be in town at that time. Info: firstname.lastname@example.org
October is still young and we've already had three nights of Justin Time Record company showcases at Upstairs. That important label celebrated its 20th Anniversary by bringing pianist Jon Stetch in from Brooklyn to lead a house trio with Zack Lober and Doxas who were joined over the celebrations by the likes of Oliver Jones, Ranee Lee, Remi Bolduc, Eduardo Pipman, Coral Egan, Michel Donato, Dave Turner (on baritone), Chet Doxas (he and Jim are members of the Valentino Orchestra], a trio of ladies from the Montreal Jubilation Gospel Choir, Susie and Jordan, Francois Carrier, Jan Jarczyk and (in from Toronto) Denny Christianson. Most of the people who make the label run were in attendance and I also spotted Ms. Berryman, Kieran Overs, Artie Roth, Melissa Stylianou, Kevin Coady, Theresa Tova, Lynn Moore, Jeff Johnston, Irwin Block, Robin Greig, Arthur Kaptainis and Steve Amirault in attendance and the following Sunday night the trio of Donato with Roney and Jim Doxas was also heard. October 6 saw a quartet of reedman Alexandre Cote with Gordon Webster of Toronto on piano, Alex Bellegarde, bass and Vancouver-based drummer, Morgan Childs, appeared at the Quartier Latin. The same night at Bar Focaccia, Joe Sullivan presented his first class big band, one made up of Janis Steprans, Remi Bolduc, altos, Andre Leroux, Al McLean, tenors and Jean Frechette, baritone, the trumpets of the leader, Jocelyn Couture (lead), Ron DiLauro, Bill Mahar and Aron Doyle, Dave Grott, Kelsley Grant, Bob Ellis and J.N. Trottier, trombones and a rhythm section of Andre White, piano, Mike Berard, guitar, Alec Walkington, bass and Dave Laing, drums. The same week Mahar appeared at Pollack Hall with a quintet.
The Jazz Festival presented vocalist Carole Therrien (a driving force behind Effendi records) at Salle Gesu on October 4.
UPCOMING OCTOBER EVENTS
You'll need some kind of chart to keep track of the many events scheduled for the rest of the month.
Set for appearances at UPSTAIRS, Theresa Tova, a superb singer (Yiddish and English) backed by a Jeff Johnston trio (October 10-11), Johnston's trio (October 12), Kevin Dean organ quintet with both John Nugent [from Brooklyn] and Mike Murley [from Toronto] joining K.D. on tenors (October 17-18), more organ with Doug Riley ("Dr. Music") joined by Jake Langley and Terry Clarke (October 24-25) guitarist Greg Amirault's trio (October 26) and Dave Turner's Quartet (October 31 - November 1). Denny Christianson will appear here in November with Pat LaBarbera on board.
The October(jazz)fest that occurs every fall at Maison de la Culture Frontenac, begins on October 16th and continues through October 25. This is edition #13 of the "SILENCE EN JAZZ" series put on by Radio Canada producer Daniel Vachon and this year's event features a particularly strong lineup. The interesting is as follows: October 16, pianist Michael Kaeshammer (8pm) and "Kollage" with drummer Archie Alleyne and tenorman Doug Richardson (10pm). Richardson was a member of Alfred Wade's "Stablemates" back in 1958, the group that introduced guitarist Nelson Symonds to Montréal; October 17, vibraphonist Matthias Lupri's quartet will be joined by U.S. reedman, Greg Osby (8pm) [On November 20th, Lupri will appear on the same stage as Montreal born social commentator Mort Sahl, that's at the American Jazz Institute, situated East of L.A.] Lupri is followed by a marvellous duo of pianist Bryn Roberts and tenorman Seamus Blake [10pm]. Blake ranks as one of the top ten tenor players presently being heard on the jazz scene; October 18, Music from Fred Astaire films will be interpreted by the "Top Hat Trio" and the "Astorias" - Denis Plante, bandoneon, Stephane Allard, violin, Marc Villemure, guitar and Daniel Lessard, bass (8pm) followed by the Michel Donato trio with John Roney and Jim Doxas (10pm); October 19, in a not to be missed double bill of trumpeter Ingrid Jensen & "Project O" with Seamus Blake, Gary Versace on organ and piano and drummer Jon Wikan (8pm) and sister, saxophonist/composer Christine Jensen with [ex-Jazz Messenger] pianist Geoff Keezer(10pm). Keezer, has a brand new CD, "Falling Up" [MaxJazz] which features Ingrid along with Claire Martin, Joe Locke and Steve Wilson; October 22, spotlights "iks" with special guest, baritone saxophonist Charles Papasoff (8pm) followed by multi-reedman Michel Dubeau with a quintet including drummer/tabla player, Guy Thouin (10pm); October 23. a guitar lover's dream, the Jake Langley trio with Doug Riley and Terry Clarke (8pm) and the solo playing of Harry Manx (10pm); October 24, the series hosts a pair of lesser known groups, saxophonist Chris Gale's quintet (8pm) and pianist Laila Biali's "Without Words" Quartet (10pm); October 25, closing night has vibraphonist Jean Vanasse's Quartet [Sylvain Provost, Normand Guilbeault and Pierre Tanguay] joined by tenorman Yannick Rieu (8pm) followed by a salute to Hoagy Carmichael with vocalist Cindy Church with Joe Sealy, piano and George Koller, bass (10pm).
Sunday, October 26th will be a busy one, besides the activities at Frontenac and at Upstairs, there's a tribute to John Coltrane by Jennifer Bell's large ensemble "Altsys" featuring Pat LaBarbera at Oscar Peterson Concert Hall and a benefit for bassist Skip Bey at the Lion d'Or as well as the afternoon Don Dunbar memorial.
This Friday, October 10th, there will be a concert at Salle Claude Champagne of the University of Montreal featuring people like Ron DiLauro, guitarist Reno DeStefano, pianist Lorraine Desmarais and Michel Donato in a program of Gershwin ["Porgy and Bess"], Duke Ellington, Desmarais, DeStefano and Poulenc [the wonderful "Concerto for Two Pianos"]. Bluesman Bryan Lee appears at the Spectrum on the 17th in what will be part of a Justin Time DVD filming--admission includes a can of non-perishable food which will go to Sun Youth. On the 18th, La Va et Vient [3706 Notre Dame W] presents "Evidence" (Derome, Tanguay and Pierre Cartier) in an evening of Monk's music.
In the Montreal International Jazz Festival's "All Year Round" series, the Yves Leveille Sextette appears at the Savoy Room of Metropolis on October 15. The concert coincides with the release of his third CD on the Effendi label, "Quantique". The Brad Mehldau trio appears on October 25th at the Spectrum, the Gotan Project on the 26th and 27th at the same location and the trio of bandoneon player Dino Saluzzi is at Theatre Outremont on October 27
Two very different evenings are set for Sala Rosa [4848 St. Laurent], on October 17 it's "The Three Crooners" featuring John Labelle, George Evans and John Alcorn. The following night it's reedman Joe McPhee, bassist Domenic Duval and percussionist John Heward and in the "Evolution 2003: Le Nouveau Piano" series at La Chapelle historique du Bon Pasteur [100 Sherbrooke E] you can hear Marilyn Crispell on the 16th and Vancouver's Paul Plimley on the following night and jazz continues on a nightly basis at Upstairs, Modavie Restaurant [St. Laurent and St. Paul] and at The House of Jazz.
Dutch reedman Ab Baars appears on October 27th at the Mercury Lounge in Ottawa with bassist Wilbert de Joode and drummer Martin van Duynhoven. Toshiko Akiyoshi gives a final big band concert at Carnegie Hall on October 17 -- she will continue to play solo and in small group contexts. Also on October 10th in Kingston, N.Y. at the Uptown Club [33 N. Front] there will be a "Monk's Birthday Bash" featuring former Montreal bassist John Menegon, singer Teri Roiger, pianist Francesca Tanksley and drummer Bob Meyer. It's also John and Teri's anniversary. Another Monk salute takes place on the 18th at the Cornelia Street Café [29 Cornelia Street] in NYC featuring the voices of Roiger, Judi Silvano and Sarah James with John DiMartino, Menegon and Meyer.
SOME NOVEMBER EVENTS
The annual Montreal Drum Festival will take place at Salle Pierre Mercure [Ontario near St. Denis] on November 8 and 9 with Vera Figueiredo; Paoli Mejias, Javier Oquendo and Marcos Lopez Ayala; and Sergio Bellotti on Saturday and
Antonio Sanchez as well as Gary Novak with bassist Dave Carpenter and pianist David Kikowski on Sunday. Eleven year old pianist Matthew Savage, who played the Festival jam sessions here three years ago, appears with his trio at the Blue Note in NYC on Monday, November 3. My favourite living jazz vocalist Sheila Jordan celebrates her 75th birthday at the Jazz Standard in NYC on November 18th Watch the stores for a pair of new Canadian releases in November -- "Blue Browne" by Montreal-born pianist Brian Browne and bassist Paul Novotny and "P.S. I Love You" by Dorothee Berryman with a group including Eric Harding, Greg Clayton, Dave Watts and Camil Belisle.
Bassist Greig Stewart Jackson, better known as "Chubby" died at the age 84 on October 1st. The Gazette ran an obit by one Matt Schudel of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel which contains a number of errors. Chubby was heard with Woody Herman on, but did not write, "Caldonia" and "Lemon Drop". They were written by Fleecie Moore and by George Wallington. He did write "Cryin' Sands" and "Four Men On A Horse" which were recorded by Herman and is also remembered as the man who talked Lennie Tristano into moving to NY from his native Chicago in the mid 40s.
© Len Dobbin 2003
Montreal, Quebec, Canada