Hello and goodbye to a seemingly never ending January, finally wrapping up for me with a great show in Cuba!
Me and Jaymz B Having a laugh with Ross Porter!
I was invited by Jaymz B and Ross Porter of Jazz FM to join them on one of their crazy good jazz safaris in Varadero. Asked to do a set with Joe Sealy, Paul Novotny, Daniel Barnes and new to me, the wonderful saxophonist Alison Young, I jumped to it. Along for the ride was the incomparable Jackie Richardson and her equally fine daughter Kim. Kim, though born in Toronto has been living in Montreal for years. She has not only mastered and is fluent in french, she does full blown musicals singing, acting, and probably dancing in French! She has sung back up for some of Canada’s greats; Roch Voisine, Gregory Charles plus loads of club dates and first-call session work. She has a seemingly endless repertoire. Kim Richardson is one talented and hardworking woman, getting to know her and spending time with her and her mom, my dear old pal Jackie, was a real blessing and a very good time. We tore the roof off doing a version of “Miss Celie’s Blues” from The Color Purple.
Kim and Jackie Richardson
Jane Bunnett was also with us in Cuba. Jane has been working with Cuban musicians young and old for decades. Jane brings instruments, expertise in repair and maintenance of instruments, and a whole lot of teaching and mentoring to these very fine musicians. Ms. Bunnett has been known to bring Cuban musicians back to Canada and New York where she helps them to established themselves often living in Jane’s home in Toronto. She is a remarkable Canadian, we are all very proud of her.
The fabulous Jane Bunnett
Jane and I went to the same public school here in TO. When I arrived in Cuba last week and met Jane, I commented on the fact that her two little pig tails were exactly how she wore her hair in grade 5. She countered with the fact that I too had the same hairstyle as my grade 5 hair that day (and most days in two braids)! Giggles and great music…
I even found some quiet time to write a few lyrics for an upcoming album. I had a really great time. Thanks to everyone at Jazz FM for making that happen!
The Cuban house band playing in the pool!
Looking forward to February when I start my Soulpepper Cabaret Series here in Toronto. (Info Here!) I managed to get together a fantastic trio for all 5 Mondays in February Davide Direnzo on drums, Mike Downes on bass and Robi Botos on piano. Look for surprise guests every Monday on my website or at Soulpepper. We will be in the Young Centre for the Performing Arts, a very intimate space, so tickets are limited.
Hope to see you fine folks out and about seeing live music and theatre, and all the great culture this city has to offer even when its cold outside!
As my dad use to say, “Bundle up, it’s a cold one!”