Volume 26 Issue 2 - October 2020


Following the Goldberg trail from Gould to Lang Lang; Measha Brueggergosman and Edwin Huizinga on face to face collaboration in strange times; diggings into dance as FFDN keeps live alive; "Classical unicorn?" - Luke Welch reflects on life as a Black classical pianist; Debashis Sinha's adventures in sound art; choral lessons from Skagit Valley; and the 21st annual WholeNote Blue Pages (part 1 of 3) in print and online. Here now. And, yes, still in print, with distribution starting Thursday October 1.


Fall Fare




Thompson Egbo-Egbo

both North and South American musicians. Her collaboration with

Ledbetter – to whom she is married – includes countless live performances

and numerous studio recordings. Rounding things out on

October 30, Cuban-Canadian pianist Hilario Durán appears with

bassist Roberto Occhipinti and drummer Mark Kelso. Durán is a

gifted, accomplished artist, able to combine technique and lyricism in

deftly executed phrases.

Outside of Toronto, where COVID-19 cases tend to be lower,

Waterloo’s Jazz Room has also resumed service with a full slate of

shows. On October 3, Sarah

Thawer and The Squad

take the stage. Thawer –

an explosive drummer

with a penchant for hardhitting

grooves – is joined

by guitarist Connor “Chino”

Chan, keyboardist Todd

Pentney, and saxophonist/

keyboardist Rob Christian.

Toward the end of the

month, keyboardist Bartosz

Hadala’s band plays the

Jazz Room. Where Thawer’s

group plays improvisatory

jazz influenced by hip-hop

and neo-soul, Hadala’s

grooves fall more squarely

into the fusion category, with

influences from the likes of

Joseph Zawinul and John

McLaughlin. Hadala is joined

by saxophonist Luis Deniz,

drummer Marito Marques Sarah Thawer

and electric bassist Brad


Colin Story is a jazz guitarist, writer and teacher based in Toronto.

He can be reached at www.colinstory.com, on Instagram and

on Twitter.

Here we are; fall has begun. Normally, by now we would have

heard of all of the plans for the coming season including

concerts, rehearsals and maybe some new member

recruitment. This fall the focus is on closures. The most drastic one

that we have heard of so far is the notice from the Toronto District

School Board. Since the pandemic problems began, the board has

locked the doors for all outside organizations. Now, the board has sent

notices to outside organizations like bands, choirs and other renters of

board facilities that they will remain locked out for the balance of the

calendar year, and perhaps longer.

So how are community music groups coping? Most are actively

seeking alternative rehearsal spaces; some have given up temporarily.

A few are trying to maintain some form of Zoom rehearsal, or at least

social gatherings. One of the more interesting activities I heard about

is that Resa’s Pieces in cooperation with New Horizons Band Toronto

(two ensembles I have written about frequently in the past) were in

discussions with Long & McQuade Music to plan a few online Zoom

sessions of advice from specialists at L & M. Stay tuned on that one!

How are groups adapting?

While concert bands and similar

large groups are basically shut

down, smaller groups are adapting

and new small groups are being

formed. While most are simply

rehearsing to maintain their skills

and their social contacts, some are

exploring small ensemble work

for the first time. Rather than

restrict their playing to in-house

rehearsals, some have expanded

their horizons and are performing

on porches, on lawns, in driveways

and even in cul-de-sacs where

available. While some are simply

Chris Lee and James Brown

impromptu events for the enjoyment

of the players, others have been well organized to raise funds to

assist professional musicians who have few, it any, paid gigs during the

pandemic. In some cases, listeners are charged an admission fee, in

“While concert bands and similar large

groups are basically shut down, smaller

groups are adapting and new small groups

are being formed.”


Performance listings

(live, livestreamed, hybrid, … free).

Stay in the loop.

The beat goes on at thewholenote.com

Jack MacQuarrie


thewholenote.com October 2020 | 31

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