Music News Digest, Nov. 4, 2021
Jason Collett’s Basement Revue (pictured) returns next month, the Kensington Market Jazz Festival runs virtually this weekend, and Ought breaks up. Others in the news include Cola, Jaymz Bee, The Popguru Revue, Michael Buble, Mariposa, the TD Toronto Jazz Festival, Golden Feather, Dizzy and Fay, Sophie Lukacs, BDRB, APA, and farewell Ray Hutchinson, Malcom Dome, Bill Luckett, Pat Martino, and Ronnie Wilson.
By Kerry Doole
Since debuting in 2007, Jason Collett’s Basement Revue series has become a real entertainment highlight of the Dec. holiday season in Toronto, and he has just announced that it returns with shows at The Paradise Theatre (on Bloor), every Thurs. in Dec. (2, 9, 16, 23, 30). The shows also be broadcast online via Side Door. Broken Social scenester Collett describes Basement Revue as “part variety show, part vaudeville theatre, part improv act and part poetry slam - a cross-disciplinary carnival where anything can happen." Participants in earlier Revues have included Feist, Michael Ondaatje, Margaret Atwood, and The Sadies. Info and tix here.
– The much-loved Kensington Market Jazz Festival (KMJF) returns in virtual form this weekend (Nov. 5-7), with concerts streamed on the fest website, KensingtonJazz.com. Friday’s events include the inaugural KMJF Talks, with artists and arts professionals to share their insight. The impressive lineup includes Sondra Gold, Chris Butcher, Curtis Nowosad, and Juno-winning vocalist Emilie-Claire Barlow. Grammy-winning Jamaican piano legend Monty Alexander performs, and highlights from the 2021 KMJF Big Band Pop-Up concert are reprised. Supported by Slaight Music, this series featured performances from Denzal Sinclaire, Jackie Richardson, June Garber, Micah Barnes, and Billy Newton-Davis.
A stellar list of notables performing on the next two days includes Eddie Bullen, Amanda Martinez, Turboprop, Robi Botos, Hilario Duran, The Chris Butcher Group, Amanda Tosoff, Ranee Lee, Joe Sealy, Fern Lindzon, Curtis Nowosad, Code Quartet, Andy Milne, Stacie McGregor, and Mike Boguski. The concerts are free to stream, but donations to the artists are rightfully encouraged. More info here.
– This week, via Instagram, the highly-regarded Montreal post-punk group Ought announced its break up, after nearly 9 years together and three full length albums. The statement noted, in part, that “When we started Ought in 2012 we had no greater aspirations than to play and write music together, and the fact that we were able to tour the world to such an extent and share so many rooms with so many of you has meant the world to us…Going forward, you can check out Cola, a new project featuring Tim D(arcy) and Ben (Sidworthy).”
Joining Darcy and Stidworthy in Cola is US Girls drummer Evan Cartwright. Here's that band's debut single.
– Toronto jazz impresario/man about town Jaymz Bee releases his new album, Jaymz Bee Presents: Music For Secret Agents, tomorrow (Nov. 5) on Vesuvius Music. The release features covers of songs from classic spy movies alongside originals written by Bee and comrades. Featured vocalists include Carole Pope, Lee Aaron, Adam James, June Garber and Irene Torres. Bee will launch the record with a live performance at Toronto's Paradise Theatre on Nov. 18, accompanied by an A-list band that includes Eric St-Laurent, album co-producer Jono Grant, Eric Boucher, George Koller, Great Bob Scott, Alison Young, and Bill McBirnie. Tix here.
– Last month, Toronto company Popguru Sound and Vision began a free live-stream series, The Popguru Revue, from top-tier studio Revolution Recording. This features artists on the company roster, with The Wilderness of Manitoba taking the stage on Nov. 6, in a performance dedicated to late drummer Adam Balsam. Ghost Caravan, Odario, TANDM and Alex Exists will be presented in the following weeks. The series can be accessed here.
– Via a recent tweet, VitalVegas.com reported that Michael Buble seems bound for Las Vegas for a 2022 residency at Resorts World. The tweet read: “Nobody guessed it, so here’s the scoop! Michael Bublé joins the roster of big name talent at Resorts World starting mid-2022. Expect an official announcement in Nov. Big get for Resorts World … For anyone doubting his star power, rumor is he could get Gaga money, or about $1 million a show." Buble is yet to confirm the report.
– The final list of announced performers for the upcoming 2021 CCMA Awards show comprises JoJo Mason, Tyler Joe Miller, Jess Moskaluke, High Valley, The Reklaws and Sacha.
– Good news for Canadian folk/roots music fans is word that the famed Mariposa Folk Festival returns to Tudhope Park in Orillia, ON, for an in-person fest, July 8-10, 2022. Ticket info here.
– The TD Toronto Jazz Festival presents Toronto – City of Culture, an 8-concert series, each showcasing a different artist, in a different venue, in a different Toronto neighbourhood. These pre-recorded concerts will broadcast on-air and online at JAZZ.FM91 starting tomorrow (Nov. 4) at 7 pm, with the Sarah Thawer Trio recorded at The Rex Hotel. Concerts run to March 31, 2022. More info here.
– Golden Feather is a band started by two luminaries of the Hamilton rock scene, Steve Kiely (Monster Truck) and Brad Germain (Dinner Belles, Coszmos Quartette, Marble Index), reportedly inspired by their love of the Grateful Dead, The Allman Brothers et al. A debut album, Light On Water, was forged during the pandemic and released a year ago. The group can now finally play shows to support it, including a headlining hometown gig at Bridgeworks on Sat. (Nov. 6). One to watch. Tix here.
– Dizzy and Fay is a new duo project from two highly acclaimed artists, Mark Lalama and Amanda Walther. Pianist/singer/songwriter Lalama (Dizzy) has featured in The Mark Lalama Trio and Sisters Euclid, and has also recorded and/or toured with many artists including Molly Johnson, Jackie Richardson, Marc Jordan, John McDermott, Chrissie Hynde, Olivia Newton John, Harry Manx, and Tom Cochrane. Songwriter/vocalist Walther (Fay) is one-half of Juno-nominated folk/roots duo DALA. Dizzy and Fay’s debut album, Songbook, came out last week and is a collection of original jazz songs that echo timeless standards and is already notching rave reviews. Here’s a brand new video.
– Edmonton-based punk band Calling All Captains released its new album, Slowly Getting Better, last week (via Equal Vision Records). Check out current single Laurel Canyon here.
– Accomplished Montreal-based kora player and singer-songwriter Sophie Lukacs is planning to release a debut solo album, Falling, in March 2022, and its title track is out this week as the first single. Lukacs won the Stingray Rising Star Award in 2020 and will showcase soon at Mundial Montreal.
– The Breaking Down Racial Barriers (BDRB) initiative will facilitate the fourth & final roundtable online AND in-person at Nova Scotia Music Week in Truro, NS. This hybrid session, on Nov. 6, from 12.30 pm ADT, is offered in-person (subject to capacity) and online is free to attend. BDRB is a roundtable series on anti-Black racism. Info and registration here.
– Earlier this week, The Atlantic Presenters Association (APA) began its participation in Building A Digital Arts Nation, a free digital conference that looks at ways to re-open venues, re-engage audiences, and re-energize communities. On Nov. 17, APA partners with CAPACOA for a joint session that finishes off Building A Digital Arts Nation and begins CAPACOA's conference: Tech Trends: Avoid or Adopt. More info here.
Ray (Raymond Charles) Hutchinson, lead guitarist of The Beau-Marks, considered by some to be Canada’s first recognized rock ‘n’ roll band, died on Oct. 31, of COPD complications, at age 81.
The Montreal native originally formed The Del-Tones in 1957 in Montreal with Michel Robitaille (guitarist, bass), Joey Fréchette (piano) and Gilles Tailleur (drums), which led to their first single release recorded in Canada in 1959, Moonlight Party.
They changed their name to The Beau-Marks — believed to be a play on words of the Bomark supersonic surface-to-air missile purchased by Canada during the Cold War.
Clap Your Hands, an international hit in 1960, was co-written by Hutchinson and the other band members, and was inducted as a song into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2005. Released in the spring of 1960, the single sold more than half a million copies, and landed them their first album on the Quality Records label.
The group's debut album came out on Quality Records in 1960. They differed from other Canadian pop acts of the same era such as The Diamonds, The Four Lads and The Crew-Cuts in that they were a rock band and wrote most of their own material and recorded it all in Canada.
The band went on to appear on television in the US on American Bandstand and played at Carnegie Hall.
After the group broke up in 1963, Hutchinson became a solo act as a lounge singer for about 25 years and moved to the Peterborough area. He also joined Dave Nicholls & The Coins, which toured Ontario and Quebec’s nightclub circuit from Windsor to Montreal. His music career came to an end in 1988 when he was struck by a car in Miami, which left him in a coma for several months and required years to recuperate.
Among the accolades Hutchinson earned were inductions into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame and the Peterborough and District Pathway of Fame.
There will be a Celebration of Hutchinson's Life held at Highland Park Funeral Centre, Peterborough on Sat. Nov. 20, at 12 pm. In his memory and in lieu of flowers, donations to the Shriners Hospital would be appreciated by the family. Sources: Peterborough Examiner, Global News, Legacy.com
– Malcolm Dome, a noted English rock and metal journalist and author, has died, aged 66.
Dome’s career stretched back to working for Record Mirror magazine in the late 70s and Metal Fury in the early 80s before he joined Kerrang! at its launch in 1981.
His first book, Encyclopedia Metallica, was published in 1981. He is also credited with inventing the term "thrash metal" while writing about the Anthrax song Metal Thrashing Mad in 1984. He became a founding member of rock mag RAW in 1988, followed by a stint as Editor of Metal Forces magazine, prior to returning to Kerrang! for a spell.
He later became involved with Classic Rock and sister publication Metal Hammer, and has also been a contributor to Prog and Louder magazines.
Dome was the author of many books on a host of bands from AC/DC toMotley Crue, Led Zeppelin and Metallica.
Tributes have been received from Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Lars Ulrich, Slash, Motley Crue, Blackie Lawless, Devin Townsend, Motorhead's Phil Campbell, Saxon, and many more.
Fellow music scribe, author and singer/songwriter Sylvie Simmons posted an eloquent eulogy on Facebook. It reads, in part: "I lost an old friend, a good friend, at the weekend. Malcolm Dome was the best writer on Heavy Metal I've known, and I'll stand on my table and shout it. What Malc didn't know about Metal wasn't worth knowing. He wrote a book called the Encyclopedia Metallica, which likely as not was borrowed by a band we know and love. He wrote a lot of books on the subject, wrote a trillion articles and did no end of radio shows and TV documentaries on it too. Malc and I wrote a book together - the first biography of Motley Crue.
"He also had the most remarkable memory. A machine mind, like some mad physicist, but whose subject was Metal. He was a gentleman too. Honest, unafraid and a good guy, equally loved and respected by artists as by his fellow rock journalists." Sources:Louder, Sylvie Simmons
– Bill Luckett, a noted Mississippi attorney, club owner, politician, and blues impresario, died on Oct. 28, age 73, of cancer.
Born in Fort Worth, Texas, Luckett relocated with his family to Clarksdale, Mississippi, while still an infant. He would eventually become mayor of the city in 2013.
He also ran for Governor of Mississippi in 2011, running in a platform of infrastructure improvement but lost the Democratic primary.
An attorney specializing in civil litigation, Luckett, in 2001, Luckett partnered with actor Morgan Freeman; and Clarksdale native and Memphis entertainment executive, Howard Stovall; to launch the Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale. Luckett and Freeman also operated Madidi, a restaurant in Clarksdale for several years. Source: Celebrity Access
– Pat Martino (born Patrick Azzara), a Grammy-nominated American jazz guitarist and composer, died on Nov. 1, at age 77.
Joseph Donofrio, his longtime manager, said the cause was chronic respiratory disorder, which had forced Martino to stop performing after a tour of Italy in November.
Born in Philadelphia, he began playing professionally at the age of 15 after moving to New York City. He lived for a period with Les Paul and began playing at jazz clubs such as Smalls Paradise. He later moved into a suite in the President Hotel on 48th Street. He would play at Smalls for six months of the year, and then in the summer play at the Club Harlem in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Martino played and recorded early in his career with Lloyd Price, Willis Jackson, and Eric Kloss. He also worked with jazz organists Charles Earland, Richard "Groove" Holmes, Jack McDuff, Don Patterson, Trudy Pitts, Jimmy Smith, Gene Ludwig, and Joey DeFrancesco.
A near-fatal seizure in 1980 left him with amnesia and no recollection or knowledge of his career or how to play the very instrument that made him successful. Martino says he came out of surgery with complete forgetfulness, learning to focus on the present instead of the past or what may lie ahead. He was forced to learn how to play the guitar from zero.
He was chosen as Guitar Player of the Year in the DownBeat magazine Readers' Poll of 2004. In 2006, Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab reissued his album East! on Ultradisc UHR SACD.
In 2017, he shot a series of educational videos entitled A Study of the Opposites and How They Manifest on the Guitar.
His awards and honours include the Philadelphia Alliance Walk of Fame Award, NARAS, Songs from the Heart Award, and two Grammy nominations in both 2002 and 2003, the Jazz Legacy Award, and Guitar Player of the Year, DownBeat Magazine's 2004 Readers' Poll. Sources: Wikipedia, The Inquirer, New York Times
Ronnie Wilson, co-founding member and multi-instrumentalist for the legendary R&B and funk group the Gap Band, died on Nov. 2, a week after suffering a stroke. He was 73.
Ronnie was the oldest of the three Wilson brothers — Ronnie, Charlie, and Robert — with the siblings forming the Gap Band in Oklahoma City in the mid-Seventies.
After releasing a pair of albums in the mid-Seventies on Leon Russell’s indie label, the Gap Band signed with Mercury Records in 1979 and soon after found success with singles like I Don’t Believe You Want to Get Up and Dance (Oops!), Burn Rubber on Me (Why You Wanna Hurt Me), and most notably 1982’s Gap Band IV, which featured the hits Early in the Morning, You Dropped a Bomb on Me, and the oft-sampled Outstanding.
The Gap Band was nominated for a Grammy in 1983 for best R&B instrumental performance for Where Are We Going? Many of their songs, including Outstanding, were often used as samples on hip-hop tracks decades later, including songs by N.W.A. and Nas.
Most notably, the Gap Band received a co-writing credit for the Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson hit Uptown Funk after a legal claim due to its similarity to I Don’t Believe You Want To Get Up And Dance (Oops!).
The Gap Band remained prolific through the '80s and '90s, last releasing Y2K: Funkin’ Till 2000 Comz in 1999. The brothers officially dissolved the Gap Band following Robert Wilson’s death from a heart attack in 2010.