Thursday, December 22, 2005

Nice to read in the Globe today about people selling their blogs for good money to be published as books. (yet another reminder that the "technology" of books is alive and well!) I suppose relatively speaking I might be able to sell my rights for about $35 CDN....not that I'm complaining! I am still excited about the fact that people read my blog every day.

I am having trouble posting picture right now but when that gets sorted out it might be a whole new direction as we finally have a digital camera. (I think I already thanked Ken and Susan)

I was thinking of embracing (rather than the usual cringing I do) the year end "best of" lists.

Today I am going to start with the people who make my day to day "neighborhood life" a little better week in week out (just a reminder that this like most of my posts are off the top of my, I am sure I will leave a ton of people of the list by mistake because of this)

Best people that add to my day to day "neighborhood life" (not including all the great friends and family I am blessed with)

-nice people at Cafe Brasiliano (on Dundas St.)
-folks at Soundscapes (college St. Cd store)
-all the folks at the YMCA (especially, Dylan's swim teacher, Leo's caregivers on Tuesday mornings and Fridays' basketball teachers)
-Paul and Jim at Kwik Copy (College at Shaw)
-the fine folks at the Falafel joint on Ossington just north of College (relatively new discovery for me)
-all the teachers at Pierre Elliot Trudeau Public School
-all the caregivers at Leo's daycare (wed-fri)
-the happy friendly faces year round at Dufferin Grove
-the nice people at the Library(college and shaw)

ok...thats it for my first list. (already paranoid about who I left off...perhaps I will get seriously into addendums!)
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays,

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

It has been a pretty good day so far. I just got a nice bunch of stuff in the mail. The annual christmas card from our friend spike is always a treat and a favourite thing here at our house. thanks spike...merry christmas!!

Also two really intereting Cds from my Friend Patrick in Montreal. Merci.

The other great thing is making me smile for caring. I have been part of a neighbourhood team trying to get a local establishment to keep their music down and increase security etc. surrounding their nightclub. Today at a hearing they postponed as well as cancelling their application for increase in attendance.

The main feeling here for me is you really can make a difference if you get involved, speak up! The power in numbers and talking to your neighbours is priceless.


Monday, December 19, 2005

Last night New York Pianist Andy Milne played two beautiful and inspiring sets of music at the Red Guitar. If you have wondered if solo piano was an artform of the past or was better as a background music experience then you should have been there last night.

Milne reminded the listeners (one of the busiest Sunday nights in the clubs short history) that he is a unique artist that has chops to go around, a mighty sound and a delicate touch at the piano. Only twice in the evening was there any direct reference to "jazz history" and even then it was only in passing as he very briefly turned his improvisation towards any thing that resembled a "swing feel". There was no need to reference Cole Porter or Thelonious Monk as we had a part of the jazz lineage right there with us in the Red Guitar.

Was it jazz? This was jazz at it's highest level, where there was interesting arrangements on his own tunes and tunes that are from his (our) personal history such as Joni Mitchell's Amelia, Stevie Wonder's Overjoyed and a couple Neil Young classics. For me the strongest jazz element was the individulality in the music. Milne is able to play these songs beautifully while making them his own. His near decade travelling the world with Steve Coleman still comes through in small doses but Andy has since gone on to find his own special relationship to music and of course the piano.

The sound is a combination of interesting phrasing, odd metres and density with a generally dark harmonic palette. Most recently, you can hear this in his group writing for his Concord release Y'All Don't Know with his group Dapp Theory.

The final piece of the night was Message In a Bottle by the Police. Once again he managed to convince us that this music is a worthy vechicle for him as an improviser and us as listeners. Andy left us with a message that his piano playing was something special, exciting and something that is part of our lives today (that night) and hopefully in the future...sending out an SOS....

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