Sunday, September 27, 2009

Growing Up Jazz

You could say this blog is a continuation of last week's blogs on the Brantford International Jazz Festival. I was discussing jazz and brass banding, under the topic that some think it's a style of music no one is familiar with, it's a topic in churches. Some people want to get rid of or at least minimize the influence of brass banding and music in church services.

As I thought about it, I came to the conclusion that we in North America don't have a problem with brass music for one simple reason, we've grown up listening to it.

I'm not saying we were forced to listen to jazz, but it was an important part of growing up with television. I was impressed with the number of cartoons that had jazz as the music. Let me give some examples, the first is

Jonny Quest: I'm talking the original here, not the "New Adventures"

Very strong jazz influence in that theme

I could move on to Spiderman, the cartoon

Perhaps the greatest jazz influence has to be the Peanut's franchise. If you are old enough to remember the first Peanut's television show: "A Charlie Brown's Christmas". Here was the show that forever cemented the relationship between jazz and Peanuts. In fact the musical score for the show was made by Vince Guaraldi, a jazz pianist. He composed the song "Linus and Lucy", which is the most recognized song of the Peanuts shows.

In fact, a special CD was released in 1987 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Peanuts and it featured all jazz. One artist spoke of the fact that Charlie Brown was cool and how else to you define cool but through jazz.

So growing up, jazz was very influential. Probably none of us realized it was jazz, but we recognized it was cool, since all our favourite shows had this style of music.

Just a few thoughts for today.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Brantford Jazz Festival- Day Two
The Shuffles Demons Conquer the Bell Stage

So after two days, twelve hours+ of live performance, the Second Annual Jazz Festival of Brantford is over. With the crowds of this year, I suspect there will be a Third Annual Brantford International Jazz Festival. There has to be, you can't bring over 2,000 into downtown Brantford and not say it was a success.

With three stages, one for the headliners, one for youth jazz groups and the third for local musicians, it meant a person had to keep moving, and with the weather again being perfect, it was not that difficult to do, and it kept one busy. The music overall was great.

Today one of the headliners and the group I wanted to hear was the Shuffle Demons. They did not disappoint. They arrived by coming not onto the stage, but off to the side and wandered through the crowd:

They played a combination of some new works, classic jazz and be-bop, plus the classic hits. A good time for sure. The brought the house together when the ended their last song with another walk through the crowd, Shuffle Demon Style

The next group on the Bell Stage was Caché, a group which calls itself `Toronto`s Fiercest Salsa Band`. Salsa music is:

Salsa music is a diverse and predominantly Cuban Caribbean genre that is popular across Latin America and among Latinos abroad that was brought to international fame by Cuban and Puerto Rican musicians. Salsa incorporates multiple styles and variations; the term has been used to describe most any form of popular Cuban/Puerto Rican-derived genre, such as chachachá and Son.

They brought the heat that is salsa to the stage and got people up and dancing:

The third performer on the main stage was Peter Appleyard. This was the legend, the veteran, the classic jazz performer. He brought his style that had been honed over the decades to the stage and to the enjoyment of all. The stage was surrounded by photographers and so Peter decided to take a picture of them:

With the weather in full cooperation and good crowds, the 2nd Annual has to be considered a success. Mark on your calendar the 3rd Annual, next year, same time, same location.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Brantford Jazz Festival 2

It was one of those perfect late summer afternoons. The sun was shining, the sky was blue and the jazz was a mixture of old favourties and new creations. The stages had both veterans with pedigrees that featured the giants of Jazz, to the newcomers, attempting to garner appreciation for their craft and new fans.

This describes the afternoon of the first day of Brantford's second annual jazz festival. Last year inaugeral presentation was so well received that everyone decided to do it all over again the next year but this time, all of us were to be treated to double the fun. It was going to be two days instead of one. So Harmony Square and area was again filled with the sounds of Jazz.

The great thing about the second year of living in Brantford, is getting to know people, I had the pleasure of meeting and thanking Frank DiFelice, one half of the duo that has brought this festival to downtown Brantford. He and his wife have been involved with jazz for many years and last year they decided Brantford should be put on the jazz map. The three thousand or so people, according to the estimate of Art Means, one of the sponsors, obviously agree with the DiFelice's.

The crowd was very appreciative of the music being performed:

Even towards the end of the day's events, the crowd stayed large and involved.

It was also Isabelle's first jazz festival and she enjoyed herself.

The good news, there's still one more day of Jazz.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Real Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada

Stephen Harper is a Commie!

If Michael Ignatieff is to be believed in the latest article on, our Prime Minister is in fact a socialist loving Commie. That's right, you heard Michael (Rush Limbaugh) Ignatieff has exposed the great secret of Canadian politics. Just think about it, we've been wrong all these years about Prime Minister Harper, he's not a dangerous right-wing extremist, but a card carrying member of the Communist Party of Canada. Well, perhaps even that statement is a bit extreme for Iggy, still there must be some flirting with socialism. After all, the Prime Minister was born in Toronto! Not just anywhere, but probably one of those socialist latte slurping ridings in the City! No doubt that explains why he is always leaning to the left in photographs. Thta explains why "Comrade" Harper won't go to China, he's a doctrinaire Maoist. This explains so much.

So what we have is Ignatieff has decided to return to his American Right Wing roots and follow the lead of the Birthers and the other Patriotic Americans who are fighting against the creeping socialism of President Barak Hussain Obama.

So here is the reason why Mr Ignatieff wants to bring down the government, because he wants to save Canada from the dangers of the Socialist Front of Harper future government. He knows if Harper gets his wish and gains a majority, we will soon be greeting each other with the word 'Comrade', and our fair Dominion will degenerate into a 'People's Republic'. As well, our national anthem will change from "O Canada" and replace it with:

So you have been exposed "Comrade" Harper. We can thank that great Right Wing Patriot, Michael Ignatieff for having the courage to speak out with the truth.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

It's only Rock and Roll, but... I don't know what that means

We were all made aware of the great event that was taking place on September 9th, or 9-9-09. It was a Apple keynote that was supposed to be something incredible in the world of Apple.

There was rumours, oh yes a lot of rumours, including such things as a Beatles reunion thta would announce the launch of the complete catalogue on iTunes so people could finally download all the Beatles works legally. Certainly when one considers the great release of their material in remastered CD, plus in Guitar Hero and Rock Star. It was a great time to be a fan of the Beatles and when one considers the fact that Steve Jobs is thought to be a huge fan, it made sense.

Of course, every Apple blog worth its salt had its opinions, thoughts and rumours.

In the end, the big news was the re-appearance of Steve Jobs. He's back. He survived his liver transplant and while not looking good, he was good enough and had enough health to do the keynote.

What was the result: well, there was no camera in the itouch. The blog Apple Insider took one of the new ipod touchs and discovered there was a place for a camera and a few other surprises.

This did not happen. There is some thought of a hardware challenge, the camera simply didn't work in the touch. Although i wonder if that's the truth, since the ipod touch is simply an iPhone without the capability to make a phone call. If there is a camera on one, there should be a camera on the other. What is the problem. If they can have the hardware work for one, what's the challenge. There must be another reason, perhaps it is because of the news which was the nano would have a camcorder on it. Which is another challenge and surprise, why a camcorder. I supppose Jobs looked around and noticed that one of the fastest moving part of the technology world is the small inexpensive camcorders that allow people to video and upload to YouTube. So the nano is a camcorder. It seems to be part of Jobs strategy to make an all purpose device. Farhad Manjoo of Slate suggests the ipod is dead. But why do people want this when there are devises that are cheaper and offer HD or at least close to HD. The camcorder is there, but I wonder why this and not a regular camera? There seems to be a lot of steps which are missed and others that make no sense. Although it should be pointed out there is a radio and a pedometre, which would be quite good since fitness is becoming increasingly important, it is not ground breaking.

I wonder if this is a partial step for Apple. Certainly the idea of a multi-purpose device seems to be the direction of Apple. There is a belief that the one purpose device is now dead. We have cellphones that seem to do everything but make calls.

So the show i over, it's time to move on and wait for the next step.

That's all.