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About "james-reaney"

James Reaney has covered everything from operas to Neil Young concerts to baseball's World Series in more than 30 years at The London Free Press. These days, he concentrates on London entertainment in his Saturday Today section column and Forest City lore in Monday's My London column. He is the host of two weekly lfpress.com videos, Reaney's Pick, most often a one-take vehicle for London performers, and It's On, a guide to the best of the local scene. He also keeps a blog http://blogs.canoe.ca/brandnewblog/ about the London arts scene & his place in it.

Becky Shaw. Rose Bowl. Yay.

- April 15th, 2014

Becky Shaw Rose Bowl

Becky Shaw on Friday night at the Rose Bowl . . . courtesy of Wilma van  Berkel 

Still hoping to add to our LFP coverage of the 2014 London Kiwanis music fest champ Becky Shaw, 19, and a Western Don Wright music faculty undergrad. Guitar hero Becky sent along this fine photo taken by her teacher, Wilma van Berkel.  A great moment . . . for a quick quiz, how many guitarists have won the Rose Bowl? Can you name them? Celeb judges are not sure themselves & are waiting to be impressed.





AK Arts Academy kids rawk The Jacks

- April 14th, 2014


The triumphant opening Sunday night to the JRMA 2014 gala .. . Dan Tran, left, Robyn Crosby (making her stage debut, shaking that tambourine), her co-host Ajay Massey, centre, flanked by super-talented kids from the AK Arts Academy & show producer/Marcellus Wallace keyboardist & vocalist Alexandra Kane on stage at the London Music Hall . . . Photograph courtesy of Matt Weston

Alexandra Kane said she had a surprise to start the 2014 JRMA gala  . . . & there you see it . . . Marcellus Wallace (a top band by itself) with guest performers from the AK Arts Academy Alexandra runs . . . & co-host Robyn Crosby joining in the fun & funk. Yay.

There were so many moments on a magnificent evening, it will take a while for the goosebumps to receive & recollection in tranquility to take over . . . for now, congratulations to all the performers . . . on a night when London Music Hall of Famers John Noubarian & friends & Garth & Maud Hudson were on the show, you all did a terrific job of representing the diversity & excellence of the London music scene.

Plus . . . the cupcakes . . can’t forget the cupcakes. JBNBlog met one of the cupcake geniuses . . . but has forgotten the name.

Plus . . . London Jazz Orchestra . . . your trophy is safe with me & I will get it to you . . . when do you rehearse next?

Henry Grimes & Aurochs @Music Gallery. Yay!

- April 13th, 2014

Hentry Grimes bassHenry Grimes in an undated photograph by Hollis King . . .  courtesy of musicgallery.org

Starting off Sunday with Brilliant  Corners by Monk-Rollins-Roach-Henry-Pettiford . . . the 1956 composition was the opening work at the amazing solo concert by legendary jazz bassist Henry Grimes on Friday night at Toronto’s Music Gallery.

Magnificent . . . Grimes played bass, violin & recited some of his poems . . . his poems have a spiritual dimension as does his playing.

The violin is for shorter, sharp, abrupt pieces . . . the bass for long & beautiful explorations . . . the sound was terrific. Congrats to the Music Gallery & all involved for bringing Henry Grimes to Toronto. Yay.

Social notes . . . Henry’s wife, Margaret, said he would welcome the chance to return to the Guelph jazz fest where he played a few years back . . .  following the concert, Henry & Margaret were headed off to Fran’s (!) impressed by its reputation for serving late at night. They were continuing a conversation started at the Music Gallery with a York U jazz student who is researching the life of jazz bassist Steve Davis (he played on My Favourite Things among other Coltrane-on-Atlantic classics) . . .  in the car on the way back to London we played purchased-from-Margaret Profound Sound Trio’s Opus De Life which has Henry Grimes (bass, violin) & Andrew Cyrille (drums) & new-to-JBNBlog Paul Dunmall (tenor sax & bagpipes (!)) in a stormy session somewhere in the Albert Ayler ESP-Disk soundverse. Yay.

Two-thirds of Friday’s fine Toronto opening act Aurochs were in Muskox . . . a band JBNBlog heard at Museum London via a LOLA gig five years ago a little earlier this month.

Here’s what JBNBlog said then . . . “Muskox has a subtle, quietly chewing alt-chamber quality to it but can really rumble along too. Just like the excellent beast itself” . . .by contrast, Aurochs takes the jazz piano trio down a parallel & fascinating path.

The event turned into a CD launch for Aurochs . . . & their CD Rational Animals is waiting for its time with the Profound Sound trio & Monk etc. getting the basement air space right now.






Memories: Brendan Shanahan, NHL Draft Day, 1987

- April 10th, 2014

Brendan Shanahan 31952226

Brendan Shanahan of the Detroit Red Wings was in London and getting in some skating time at the Western Fair Sports Centre, Feb.1/05. A classic photograph from The Free Press & QMI Agency files.

As a Hab fan, JBNBlog can only wish his many friends in Leaf Nation the best as reports of class act & former London Knight Brendan Shanahan helming the franchised are rawkin the NHLverse 2nite.

There’s QMI Agency comment on Brendan Shanahan & the Leafs here on lfpress.com & with more details arriving as the night goes on.

Brendan Shanahan was an excellent player for the Knights, the franchise leader in the mid-1980s.

JBNBlog is a small footnote in the Shanahan saga based on 1987′s NHL entry draft day at Detroit on June 13  (says Wikipedia) . . . Brendan Shanahan went down to the draft in a classy car with Knights’ icon Don Brankley & LFP sports ace Jim Cressman (who kindly invited me) & probably someone else who was driving.

I was in awe & pretty quiet . . . Jim kidded me about that . . . Brankley had arranged for a Dylan Isle of Wight suit (yep, (c) Rolling Stone, that phrase) for Shanahan to wear. Eventually, I calmed down enough to chat a bit, likely about covering the Jays and Tigers for The Free Press. The star was v. calm & poised (Jim had already written the story saying he would be drafted second over-all by New Jersey) & intelligent.

Brendan Shanahan went on to a stellar NHL career & a post-playing turn in the NHL office . . . all of which should prepare him for whatever is needed to steer the Leafs to glory.

The Leafs have more talent than my Habs (true, true) . . . & now it looks as if they’ll have a calm, thoughtful & v. determined person to help lead the organization. Three cheers for “Shanny” (was that his nickname  back in the London day?) & all the best to the Leafs & their fans. Won’t even say long-suffering. Well. It just snuck in there.

Any, here’s a #ldnont hockey quiz. Who was picked No. 1 in the NHL draft that year, going ahead of No. 2 pick Shanahan? What is that player’s (admittedly rather distant) connection with London hockey & the Knights now?






In search of Charlotte Brainerd, London artist

- April 9th, 2014












Charlotte Brainerd Fire Ring


Courtesy of the Michael Gibson Gallery

Charlotte Brainerd
Fire Ring
Print, 1965, edition 6/10
6 x 6 in.
Charlotte Brainerd Museum London
A beautiful, undated photograph of Charlotte Brainerd . . . courtesy of Museum London. Which (update) has quite a bit of fascinating material about her. Added on Thursday, April 10, 2014.

A remarkable exhibition at the Michael Gibson Gallery celebrates the private of collection of the late Margot and Herb  Ariss, two great Londoners & leaders in the arts field here.

The works are displayed in such a way as to suggest you’re viewing them from the Ariss living room . . . v. moving. Amid the names new to JBNBlog is Charlotte Brainerd, represented in the exhibition by Fire Ring. An image of it is seen here

Friends of mine have several works by Charlotte Brainerd . . . she was v. good indeed. Nancy Geddes Poole’s The Art Of London apparently says she was active here c. 1950. The National Gallery of Canada has these dates on its website:

Birth name

Charlotte Brainerd


Born in Rice Lake, Wisconsin, 07 June 1921


Died in Victoria, British Columbia, 28 March 1995


American, Canadian

Free Press colleague Joe Belanger’s coverage of the Ariss collection exhibition mentions many of the artists and is an excellent introduction to the exhibition & a related one at the Gibson Gallery.

Right now, the artist who intrigues me most is Charlotte Brainerd . . . any information about her or her work will be gratefully received.