Entertainment Local

Cooling down at the jazz festival

By John Swartz

We are a month away from the Orillia Jazz Festival. It's still coming together with several acts yet to be announced, but the available pickings are interesting.

The festival starts a little differently this year with an Oct. 11 performance at the opera house by Rik Emmett. The rock guy?

You don't get to be regarded as one of the best guitarists on the planet, especially by the other best guitarists, by being unable to play music from other genres, including jazz.

Lately he's being touring with Dave Dunlop as a duo playing acoustic guitar, covering music from Triumph and classical and jazz pieces.

Whatever it is he does at the opera house, it will certainly be interesting and maybe the best thing of the festival. I think, though, some of the folks playing in the following days will have something to say about that.

There have been a number of concerts throughout the year to keep the festival in mind and the last monthly gig is happening Sunday at Apple Annie's.

The 1:30 p.m. show with John Alcorn and Adrean Farrugia will be just the thing to build interest in the festival. Alcorn has been recognized by the National Jazz Awards and the Jazz Report Awards as one of Canada's best vocalists. He's also Coco Love Alcorn's dad. Farrugia has used his piano skills with people like Randy Becker, Larry Carlton, Tom Scott, Kenny Wheeler, and Pat Labarbera.

You can start planning your festival itinerary at orilliajazzfestival.com.

Reading and retro

Speaking of great guitarists, Liona Boyd will be in town Oct. 14 at the Leacock Museum for something called Lit on Tour. It's a travelling road show of readings by authors and Ted Barris and Steve Burrows will be there too.

I don't think Boyd is bringing her guitar, one can hope. Dundurn Press has reissued her first memoir, In My Own Key, and has a new one, No Remedy for Love, I'm sure she'll be reading from.

But that's for later. Right now the museum has an event called Greater Than Gatsby. On Saturday starting at 5 p.m. it's a night out with costumes (not necessary, but I was told no shorts and flip flops), and has a 1920s vibe.

There will be lawn games (Croquet anyone? Horseshoes?), dancing and food.

Tickets are $65 at the museum (705-329-1908) or the opera house box office (705-326-8011) and you must get them by the end of business today; something about making sure the right amount of sparkling wine is ordered.

Oh, and there's music. The Bettys are playing. The vocal trio and band have stuff in their bag from the '20s to, well, Hall and Oates. If you happen to drag the best costume out of the back of the closet, you could win a prize.

Keeping kids busy

The youth centre has tag days Friday and Saturday. They could use some help (705-325-8082). If you see any of the kids tagging, drop a couple bucks with them, it will be the best money you spend.

Kevin Gangloff and the staff do an incredible job setting up activities and generally keeping kids too busy to even think about getting into trouble. They also provide opportunities for the kids to be exposed to arts, particularly music.

Last Thursday they had a concert with Shawn William Clarke as he just released a new album. I missed Ethan Mask's set, but heard it was very good. Mask is a product of the youth center music programs and is maturing into a decent musician. Aaron Mangoff was mid-set when I got there, solo and entertaining.

The night belonged to Clarke. His band included Steve Dyte on drums and flugelhorn. I haven't seen Dyte in years and forgot he played drums because he's such a good trumpet player. He's a pretty solid drummer, too.

Clarke did tunes mostly from the new record (yes, he pressed some of those) and some from previous works. The sound was fantastic. Mark Webster did a great job making the basement of St. Paul's Centre sound like a studio, but then he had such good stuff to work with.

Clarke has a lot of years behind him performing and it shows, the set was entertaining and very professional. I hope I get to see that again.

Looking ahead, the youth centre is heavily involved in a Roots North Music Festival - Revisited concert at Burls Creek Sept. 23. The headliners are Tuns (Mike O'Neill of The Inbreds, Chris Murphy of Sloan and Matt Murphy of The Super Friendz) with Aurora Blue and Skye Wallace.

I'd go just to see Skye Wallace. I've seen her twice now doing very different sets and I enjoyed all of it. Aurora Blue is much better than two months ago (being on the road will do that for you) and are proving to be good students of music by maturing into a great little band. Tuns should be nice icing on the cake with some solid rock.

Tickets are $35 at Alleycats Music and Art and thebigevent.ca. Proceeds go to the youth centre and they have arranged a bus there and back. Call the youth centre for more details.

Rants! Raves!! Info? Write John at watchthisproductions@encode.com.


Swartz's Shorts

  • There is a new Chamber group in town. The Narrows Ensemble is lead by Peter Voisey and Valerie Selander. Others, Christian Sharpe, Corey Gemmell, Jonathan Craig, Tom Mueller and Blair Bailey have had a hand in the music scene here in one capacity or another. You might say this is an all-star group. Dan McCoy is subbing for Bailey in their inaugural concert Saturday at St. Paul's Centre (7:30 p.m.) because Bailey's father passed away last week. The program includes pieces by Mendelssohn, Crusell, Devienne, Borodin and Seyfert. Tickets are $30 ($18 youth, under 10 free) at the opera house box office or at the door.
  • Regarding Louis George Bailey. He was a member of the Kiltie Band and played sax in the Little Big Band. Recently I saw him at a couple of concerts Bailey was playing in and it was clear to me he was very proud to have such a talented son.
  • I really don't want to think about it, but it's Fall Fair season. The Oro World's Fair is Friday and Saturday and Coldwater Fall Fair is Sept. 22 to 24.
  • Lee Contemporary Art has excellent stuff by Michael Wilson up as does Suite 204 next door with Catherine Cadieux's work. Peter Street Fine Arts is featuring works by Kristine Drummond (reception Friday at 7 p.m.).
  • Brent Mayhew has a recital happening Sept. 16. There are two performances of music by Grieg, Mussorgsky and Gershwin at 2 and 7 p.m. Get tickets ($20) and directions to the venue at brentmayhew@rogers.com.
  • Coming up. The Brownstone has Nicholas McFarland's Dreams of Karabekiztan with Clownfish Hat and Tough Break Friday night. Ian Chaplin Is a the Farmers' Market Saturday. The Geneva has Rellikdog, A New High and Burdizzo Sept 30. Mariposa Arts Theatre's movie night has The Glass Castle at the Galaxy Oct. 4; get tickets at the door (4 and 7 p.m. shows). MAT has auditions for All My Sons Sept. 13 and 14; in particular they need an eight to 10-year-old boy; email johncaryl A First Nation's Literary Festival Sept. 30 in Rama; get free tickets at https://t.co/BprRskECY9. The Mariposa Folk Foundation's Young Singer/Songwriters Workshop starts Sept. 25 with Danny Michel; call 705-326-3655 to register. The third annual Man Cave Tour is Sept. 30; no driving required; tickets and info at mancavetour.ca.

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