A great week!
I left home last Saturday enroute to Toronto for 8 days of performances, workshops and meetings both in Toronto and the Ottawa area. The trip got off to a bit of a rocky start with the delays and confusion that often accompanies air travel, but ultimately ended with me getting ‘bumped’ to business class for the long leg (YVR-YYZ) of the trip so at least I got some experience playing with the adjustable seats in the front cabin, and the food is definitely a lot better up there. I already posted about the gig with Don, the Rex Hotel Orchestra and the Adrean Farrugia gig. I did make it down to the Rex on Wednesday to hear the Dave Young-Terry Promane Octet. Dave, Terry, Vern Dorge, Perry White, Gary Williamson, Kevin Turcotte, Terry Clarke and Mike Murley are the players in this band so you can imagine how great it sounded with a mix of charts from Terry and Dave and Mike. I got up for a couple of tunes and then Mike finished the set playing my SeaWind tenor, sounding just fabulous on it. Probably the thing I miss the most about not living in Toronto (other than Spadina Garden) is getting to hear these great musicians on a regular basis so it’s great to be able to spend time there semi-regularly.
Saturday I was at Long & McQuade Bloor St, as a guest of Greg Eskins and the “Heart Of The Horn” series. Greg has been a friend since I first moved to Toronto and has been managing the Bloor St. band dept. for just about as long as anyone can remember! There was a good turnout for the clinic and lots of great questions and discussion. Later that afternoon I dropped by the Pilot Tavern to play the long-running matinee there. It must be about 20 years that this gig has been happening…I think I might have done the first one, with Terry Lukiwski and Fabio Miano and their sextet. Anyway this was a frequent stop for me when I lived in Toronto and I was happy to be back, in the upstairs room, with my old cohorts Ted Quinlan and Neil Swainson and a newer addition to the Toronto scene, drummer Ethan Ardelli. This was just a ton of fun, calling some lesser known standards (and a few more familiar ones) and having a classic ‘blowing’ session. Killing rhythm section.
Speaking of which…I flew to Ottawa Sunday morning and did another afternoon clinic and then an evening show with my son Ben and drummer Jim Doxas. The gig was at the Brasseur du Temps in Gatineau, which is a wonderful venue. We were treated extremely well and had an enthusiastic crowd out despite the fact it was Oscar night. All in all a very rewarding and action-packed week. Just home for a few days working some film cues and getting ready for an 8 day trip with Diana Panton and her group (Don and Reg). More fun!