There were plenty of shows to check out throughout the day, the great part - they were all free. Except the vocal workshop with Ms. Gambarini. Since the shows were free, finding a comfortable spot to check out the acts proved difficult, there were many people who had arrived early and scooped up the best spots.
The first show that I checked out, the Dave Restivo Trio. Mr. Restivo had recruited Alyssa Falk from New York city to play drums and Toronto based bassist Ashley Summers to round out the trio. This fit in with the theme of where they were playing, the Women In Jazz Stage. I caught a couple of the songs from a clear vantage point between two potted plants and a couple of pillars.
The pianist Restivo introduces the song. An original composition; he plays a bouncy, percussive, bop inspired style with flowing single note runs that are played in an ostinato pattern. The drummer, Ms. Falk joins the melodic fray and adds a swinging ride cymbal pattern, her left hand snaps the snare with press rolls, multi beats, accentuating the rhythm that Restivo pounds out. The bassist Ms. Summers is in full swing mode and has a glorious tone that pours forth passion and groove. The drummer is in finesse mode with a rapid right hand ringing the bell of her cymbal and a left hand independently letting loose staccato like rolls. A trio to enjoy in intimate surroundings, a comfortable chair and affordable vino.
Lisa Particelli’s Girls Night Out is an event that I have tried to check out on a few previous occasions. Ms. Particelli and her band, Norman Marshal Villeneuve (drums), Ross Macintyre (bass) and Mark Kieswetter (piano) have a wonderful event that occurs regularly at the Chalkers Pub in Toronto and features many vocalists. The headline on the advertisement, "Girls Night Out - Toronto’s vocalist friendly jazz jam. (Where gentleman are welcome too.)"
The vocalists who sang heart and soul for the cause during two afternoon showcases included Lisa Particelli, Beverly Taft, Carin Redman, Pat Murray, Gillian Margot, Rita di Ghent, Holly Clark, Denise Leslie, Shannon Butcher, Amy McConnell, Yvette Tollar, Elena Kapeleris, Kathleen Gorman, Betty Richardson, Whitney Ross-Barris, Sarah John, Terra Hazelton and Ori Dagan.
On the Saturday afternoon showcase, I enjoyed Beverly Taft on "Dearly Beloved", Pat Murray singing "Nature Boy", Rita de Gent "Stars Fell On Alabama" she employs great phrasing it takes your breath away. Holly Clark "Save Your Love for Me", Ms. Clark has a beautiful, deep, rich voice and she swings on every note she sings. Carin Redman sang "It’s Crazy". Denise Leslie another singer with deep dark tones and swinging hard on the song she performed, "Mood Indigo". Who knew Toronto had so many great singers? Lisa Particelli. By the way she can sing up a storm as well, the performances by all the vocalists at this showcase were a true delight.
The Christine Jensen Quartet took over the Women In Jazz Stage. Christine Jensen is a fine alto saxophonist, composer, band leader, conductor and educator. She also plays soprano sax and on "Capers Papers" a song with a hypnotic pulse, Ms. Jensen’s fluttering soprano traveled the range of the instrument, spilling forth the sweetest of sounds in the most attractive manner imaginable. Jensen has a smooth style, a great feel and a powerfully deep and intricate style displayed equally on both alto and soprano saxophone.
The quartet included Dave Restivo (piano), Jim Vivian (bass) and Alyssa Falk (drums), an exciting band with good synergy. Other tunes the band performed included, "Some Other Time" (a sad feeling pervades this tune with melodic sounds and undulating pulses), "For Tom Harrell" (a blues in a blues), "Sea Fever" (a love song, a slow ballad featuring soprano saxophone), "Look Left" (a song composed while living in Paris and dedicated to former president G. W. Bush) and a tune entitled "Yew" (named in tribute to a west coast tree).
The Pat Martino Organ Trio with Tony Monaco and drummer Jason Brown was an energetic electric trio that put on a high flying over the top performance. These folks burned up the Trinity stage as a power-house trio. Pat Martino played his guitar with physicality, swaying and rocking back and forth letting loose rapid fire riffs of electrically charged, sonically pleasing, crystal clear notes of energy. From his arch top style guitar, he coaxed hollow body sounds with full rounded chords, clean crisp runs and thoughtful patterns of intricate melodic rhythm and freedom of expression.
Tony Monaco produces the finest organ sounds. He plays with infectious energy an excitement that boils over, driving his co-musicians and lifting the audience into the air. The B3 cries the blues, it wails, it gently weeps and it growls with tenacious ferociousness. He pulls a chord together and tears it from the keyboard. He lets it rip, the notes suspend over the stage, the tension of sound grows, the sustain is immense, a hang time that pulls Monaco off the piano bench, he lurches forward letting fly a fiery run. He curved the final few notes around the stage and passed the phrase over to Pat Martino with a wickedly devilish smile. Then, sits back down and plays support for Pat, who solos along as if playing his favorite toy.
The young drummer Jason Brown tore it up, he played accompaniment as a soloist, with heavy accents, high energy dynamics and powerhouse percussive barrages. As excitement goes - this was the highlight concert. The Pat Martino trio created a serious buzz in audience energy levels.
The featured photo is of Hammond B3 specialist Tony Monaco.