Toni Blodgett plays piano and leads the popular CanUS Jazz Band from British Columbia. The band is based in Victoria, and Toni has written to remind us of the regular sessions at Hermann's Jazz Club. They take place every Sunday afternoon from 4:30-7:30 p.m., except the last Sunday of the month when the Dixieland Express Jazz Band takes the stage. Hermann's Jazz Club is at 753 View St, Victoria, B.C.
The winter months are busy ones at the club with "snowbirds" returning, usually beginning in January and making the winter a season of full houses -- a happy event for the band and for the club owner, Hermann Nieweiler. Victoria has been a winter destination for many eastern Canadians, as well as those from the Prairies. They often say that the highlight of their winter stay was the Sunday afternoons at Hermann's!
The size of the stage has been increased, and a second tier has been built for the grand piano, bass and drums, increasing visibility for both the audience and the musicians. Pianist Toni Blodgett, bassist Joey Smith and drummer Don Leppard back an exciting front line with Jim Armstrong, trumpet and trombone; Doug Rhodes, alto and soprano sax, and Tom Ackerman, clarinet and tenor. The band's hot jazz and smooth harmonies have been the hallmark of their shows for 16 years now.
On Friday, May 2, the University of Guelph, Ontario, will see a re-creation of the famed Benny Goodman Carnegie Hall concert which took place 70 years ago, on Jan. 16, 1938. Peter Appleyard, ace Canadian vibes player and bandleader, will front an all-star 17-piece band playing such tunes as "I Got Rhythm," "Blue Skies," "Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen," "Stompin' At The Savoy," "Sing Sing Sing," "One O'clock Jump," etc. The concert will take place in an authentic hall from the period, The War Memorial Hall. The show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets sell for $25. Details from Ron Hearnden, email@example.com or phone (519) 826-0848. The proceeds from this concert will support the good works of the Guelph Wellington Chapter, Stroke Recovery Canada and Stroke Survivors and their caregivers throughout this region.
Patrick Tevlin's Happy Pals and Grossman's Tavern, on Spadina Avenue, Toronto welcomed Butch Thompson as their special guest at their fifth annual Kid Bastien Memorial Bash on the weekend of Feb. 1-2. Snowstorms played a role by delaying Butch's arrival until 3 a.m. Saturday. Thus, he had to miss the usual Friday evening show. The fans still turned out, however, and it was a good night. Then on Saturday, Butch played both clarinet and piano with the Happy Pals and the place was jammed, both for the afternoon matinee and the evening sets.
On Feb. 9, 2008, The Hot Five Jazzmakers celebrated the completion of 19 years of jazz matinees at their favorite bar/restaurant, C'est what?, 67 Front St. East, Toronto. George Milbrandt split a bottle of "bubbly" in honor of the occasion. It was a wonderful afternoon, and we thank John Grimley for the use of his photographs from both Grossman's and C'est what? John is webmaster for http://groups.msn.com/ TorontoJazz where you can find many more photos, as well as listings for traditional jazz events in the area.
If you have any news of Canadian interest, in the area of traditional jazz, please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.