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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 platform 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.

IDs for Don Wright & CFPL stars needed

- September 2nd, 2014

Don Wright at CFPLP radio 1948


That’s Don Wright, standing at right in the foreground . . . but who are the other stars of this c. 1948 photograph (Image courtesy of Western’s Don Wright music faculty)

Here’s a #ldnont history mystery that has stumped our celeb judges … can you ID any or all of the fine folks — love those bonnets! — joining CFPL-AM station manager & London music hero Don Wright c. 1948 at the radio station when it was on Richmond St.

Go ahead — impress the judges. JBNBlog has been told we know that’s Don Wright, looking sharp, at the front . . . but everybody else, well, we need help with this one. Big time.

Guelph Jazz Festival & DownBeat & yay

- September 2nd, 2014

Ugly Beauties

Ugly Beauties, with pianist Marilyn Lerner, left, & JBNBlog needs help with which one is Matt Brubeck and which other one is Nick Fraser. Ugly Beauties play on a Guelph Jazz Festival double bill with Fred Van Hove and Lou Grassi, Sept. 6, 4 p.m., at the Guelph Youth Music Centre. … visit guelphjazzfestival.com for more … Photographer credit: Karri North

Wow … a JBNBlog favourite, the Guelph Jazz Festival, has been written up in DownBeat Magazine . . . the 2014 edition starts on Wednesday . . .  the late Steve Lacy, whose Guelph date is mentioned here, is many of the jazz giants who have played Guelph & his 2003 concert there with George Lewis, trombone, lives in JBNBlog’s heart & soul  . . . anybody in #ldnont think we could do something like this?

over to DownBeat . . . yay …

Very soon after its inaugural edition in 1994, the Guelph Jazz Festival set itself apart from the regular spate of summer festivals. Its timing in early September was an obvious distinguishing feature, but there were also the parallel colloquium—often featuring headlining musical performers alongside academics—and free, family-oriented shows staged on the streets of the small city northwest of Toronto that engaged the types of people rarely seen at improvised music performances.

“I’ve always maintained that the festival is about the music,” said Ajay Heble, one of the festival’s co-founders and its longtime artistic director, “but, more importantly, it’s about re-invigorating public life with the spirit of dialogue and community.”

Community spirit and the power of music to bring people together were such dominant focal points for Heble that he eventually launched an academic institute and a well-funded research project to examine the subject in depth.

For its 21st edition, set to take place Sept. 3–7, the festival is showcasing the kind of programming seldom seen at other jazz events. To be sure, Vijay Iyer’s trio with bassist Stephan Crump and drummer Marcus Gilmore is on the bill, bound to attract some listeners who know the pianist-composer by his burgeoning reputation.

Headlining the Guelph fest is the Sun Ra Arkestra, paired with a Quebec-based dance troupe, in honor of the mysterious bandleader’s 100th anniversary. In Heble’s vision of his festival, booking the Arkestra—led by saxophonist Marshall Allen, who was at Ra’s side from 1958 until the bandleader’s death in 1993—is much more than just a nod to the past or a tribute performed by a repertory band.

“This is a vital example of how historical documents and sources (in this case, Ra’s music) can be recalled, reworked and re-envisioned as part of a new network of musical and cultural conversations,” said Heble.

Pianist Randy Weston’s African Rhythms Trio, with bassist Alex Blake and percussionist Neil Clarke, offers another type of bridge to the roots of jazz, while the trio of drummer Milford Graves, saxophonist Kidd Jordan and pianist D.D. Jackson spans generations of free improvisation.

That type of one-off combination is another hallmark of Guelph, and the 2014 edition presents several others, including multi-instrumentalist Joe McPhee with French percussionist Lê Quan Ninh and Toronto new-music pianist Lee Pui Ming with Korean drummer Dong-Won Kim.

One more distinguishing element that sets the Guelph festival apart is its tradition of solo recitals early on Saturday morning. That slot at the un-jazzlike hour of 10:30 a.m. has produced some magical performances—including an unforgettably melancholic and brave show by Steve Lacy not long before his death—and this year it features American expatriate bassist Barre Phillips in a rare North American appearance.

Other foreign acts—including Dutch cellist Ernst Reijseger (performing both solo and with a trio), Belgian pianist Fred Van Hove (paired with American drummer Lou Grassi)—and a number of artists from Toronto and the province of Quebec round out the lineup. Seventeen acts will entertain for free at Market Square in the city’s compact core.

On the eve of taking a sabbatical from his festival post, Heble looked at the mark he had left on his hometown over the past two decades.

“We’ve succeeded in encouraging new community-based audiences to appreciate more innovative forms of creative musical expression,” he said. “Although I’ve always sought to draw international jazz aficionados to the festival through unique programming choices, I’ve also wanted the festival to stay rooted in the local community. I think we’ve managed to do both without compromising the artistic vision.”


—James Hale

… & here courtesy of guelphjazzfestival.com is the 2014 lineup …  quick quiz, which band listed here just played TD Sunfest 2014?

The 21st annual Guelph Jazz Festival, happening September 3rd to 7th, will feature the following artists;

Adrian Raso Trio (Ontario)

Afrodizz (Québec)

Alaniaris (Ontario)

Banjo Mechanics: Lewis Melville and Ian Pattison (Ontario)

Barre Phillips (France)

Binary: Rich Brown and Debashis Sinha with Hugh Marsh (Ontario)

Ernst Reijseger (Netherlands)

Ernst Reijseger, Mola Sylla, Harmen Fraanje (Netherlands / Senegal)

Fred Van Hove and Lou Grassi (Belgium/USA)

Guelph Youth Jazz Ensemble (Ontario)

Gord Grdina and Kenton Loewen (British Columbia)

GUH (Ontario)

Harmen Fraanje (Netherlands)

Isaiah Farahbakhsh (Ontario)

Jesse Stewart and Dong-Won Kim (Ontario/South Korea)

Jesse Stewart and the KidsAbility Youth Orchestra (Ontario)

Joe McPhee and Lê Quan Ninh (USA/France)

John Heward and Barre Phillips 80th Birthday Celebration (USA/France/Quebec)

The Komagata Maru Project (British Columbia)

Lee Pui Ming and Dong-Won Kim (Ontario/Korea)

Lemon Bucket Orkestra (Ontario)

Louisa Krátká (Ontario)

Manatee (Ontario)

Milford Graves, D.D. Jackson, Kidd Jordan (USA/Canada)

Mola Sylla (Senegal)

Postcommodity (USA)

Pugs and Crows with Special Guest Tony Wilson (British Columbia)

Randy Weston’s African Rhythms Trio (USA)

Sam Fitzpatrick (Ontario)

SlowPitch (Ontario)

Small World Project (Quebec)

FILM: Space is the Place (1974 / 85m / Dir. by John Coney)

Stretch Orchestra (Canada)

Sun Ra Arkestra and Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie: Hymn to the Universe (Saturn/Ontario/Quebec)

Sylvia Safdie (Quebec)

Thomas Campbell & H∆RT (Ontario)

Ugly Beauties: Marilyn Lerner, Matt Brubeck, Nick Fraser (Ontario)

Vijay Iyer Trio (USA)


Eric Stach improv music fest rawks Soho on Fridays

- August 29th, 2014

Eric Stach Londoner\

Eric Stach wailing at Studio 105 (presumably) with what looks to be a Catherine Morrisey masterpiece in the background … courtesy of londoner.ca … but JBNBlog would love to add the photographer credit

JBNBlog doesn’t know Justin Ford — but salutes JFord for this fine piece on the Eric Stach-helmed Studio 105 four-month Festival of Improvisation Music. Solidarity with QMI Agency colleagues at Londoner where the story ran earlier in the summer.

So get on down to 105 Clarence St.. Soho, #ldnont,  9 p.m. tonight (Friday) for this week’s fest marvel. We should hear Yannik Allwood (maybe Yanick Allwood?), piano,  Art Lang, bass, the Bernie Koenig/Art Pratten Duo, the Eric Stach Free Music Unit & maybe some other kewl souls.

Two questions . . . one for Eric & the organizers … when will alto sax ace Karen Ng be back? She’s great.

.., and the second for you, the general JBNBlog public, for the usual prizes … name the 2014 fest participant who will also be writer-in-residence at Western and the LPL …  & in addition be part of the big Words fall list, something else JBNBlog would love to know more about.

over to to Justin

By Justin Ford, Special to the Londoner

Residents of London will be able to experience incredible improvisation music every Friday night until they see the streets littered with trick-or-treaters.

The Festival of Improvisation Music starts July 4, at 105 Clarence St. South at Studio 105. The festival will run every single Friday at the same venue until Halloween. The shows were put together by Eric Stach.

Stach is a local musician who loves jazz. His first “band” was a 10-piece church band where he wielded the clarinet. He is now a master of the alto sax.

When Stach first came to town in 1966, his style was considered “too radical.” People didn’t care for his improvisation style, and demanded something more clear-cut.

“I was never invited in,” Stach said. “But then again I never wanted to be in, or play that way.”

Stach has an improvisation background spanning four decades. Some of the professionals he’s encountered over his illustrious career will be the musicians taking the stage at Studio 105 on Fridays.

“They’re all people that stand out over the last 45 years,” explained Stach. “All the musicians are handpicked.”

The shows will mainly consist of improvised jazz sets. Stach went on to explain about 60 per cent of what those in attendance will see and hear will be jazz.

“You get a lot of strange and different backgrounds,” said Stach of the other 40 per cent.

Each Friday you can expect two different groups on stage. They will share the stage for four hours, rotating in 20-minute improvised shifts until 1 a.m. rolls around.

Stach -with the help of his wife- doesn’t put these shows on because they’re profitable. He does it simply for the love of music. Specifically, jazz music. Stach explained that it’s extremely hard to find real jazz shows these days, and the shows that do claim to be jazz are often watered-down mainstream versions of what it used to be.

“I want to look more toward experimental music with strong personal character. I want people to reflect their personalities.”

How does one play a 20-minute set of completely improvised music? Well, talent, and lots of it. All the musicians Stach handpicked are legitimate professionals, who have been “jamming” like this for a very long time. The musicians don’t even bother to talk to each other before their set. No mention of key, time signature, or even melody is needed. They walk up there, musically blindfolded, and let it pour out.

“When you operate that way there’s more risk involved,” Stach said. “It’s like not having a life-insurance policy.”

According to Stach, there’s very little real jazz going on anymore. So come to Studio 105 for a glimpse of the real thing. Each show will start at 9 p.m. and end at 1 a.m. Donations will be accepted at the door.

Aeolian: Rutledge, Ross, Leeb & Tafelmusik. Yay.

- August 27th, 2014


Mira Glodeanu

Mira Glodeanu will be at Aeolian Hall with Tafelmusik on Feb. 6, 2015. Undated image courtesy of miraglodeanu.com

The hits just keep on coming over at historic Aeolian Hall, 795 Dundas St. … latest announcements brings Justin Rutledge, guitar heroes Don Ross and Thomas Leeb & the terrific Tafelmusik Orchestra … here are the details, but first a little quiz … what R&B/soul/pop tune did Don Ross once cover at Home County? A revisit at Aeolian would be fun . . .

here are the dates & prices . . .

Justin Rutledge

Date: Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Time: 7:00 PM (Doors Open), 8:00 PM (Show Starts)

Ticket Price: $20 Advance / $23 Door

Points of Interest:

- The album “Valleyheart” was the 2014 JUNO Award-winner for Best Solo Roots/Traditional Album.

- His new album “Daredevil” was released earlier this year and it is described as a homage to the music of The Tragically Hip.

- This is the second time that Rutledge has performed as a headliner at The Aeolian.

Don Ross & Thomas Leeb

Date: Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Time: 7:00 PM (Doors Open), 8:00 PM (Show Starts)

Ticket Price: $25 Advance / $22 student or senior / $30 Door

Points of Interest:

- Don Ross is the only person to twice win the U.S. National Fingerstyle Guitar Championship (1988 and 1996).

- This is the third time that Ross has performed as a headliner at The Aeolian, and Leeb is a first-time performer.


Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra

Date: Friday, February 6, 2015

Time: 7:00 PM (Doors Open), 8:00 PM (Show Starts)

Ticket Price: $50 Advance / $55 Door

Points of Interest:

- The Aeolian presents Tafelmusik as they perform “A Baroque Feast” featuring acclaimed Romanian baroque violinist Mira Glodeanu as Guest Director and Violin Soloist. The program is scheduled to feature virtuosic works of the late baroque era, including Bach, Vivaldi and Telemann.

- Tafelmusik is an award-winning Canadian orchestra performing with period instruments.

- Reserved seating is available at this event.

#ldont kewl quiz: Shad & the Western Fair

- August 27th, 2014



Shad Piano ByCheKothari (800x533)

Shad, in an classic & undated image, at the 88s. Photo credit Che Kothari

JBNBlog is delighted #ldnont-raised Juno winner Shad is headlining at the 2014 Western Fair. Shad will be at the fair on Sept. 11 as part of a series of concerts free with your admission to the fall classic.

So here’s our quiz . . . urban myth has Shad saying a youthful visit to see X (an act on the following list) “at the fair” helped  inspire his interest in music.

So who is X … the celeb judges have just told JBNBlog it is not the M.C. on the list  . . .so who is it?

No way of proving at the moment it was the Western Fair in  the Shad myth … but let’s assume that.

So for bonus points which edition of the Western Fair boasted  this pretty remarkable lineup?

Here is the list!

Canadian Tire Auto Thrill Show

Demolition Derby (2)

The Northern Pikes

All-Canadian Super Dogs (2 plus 4 afternoons)

Ronnie Milsap

Bobby Vinton

1964 (The Beatles)

Steve Landesberg

Rick Thomas (Magician)

Paul Lennon (M.C.)

IMG Circus

Kim Mitchell