Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Your Hair is too Long..

I was weighing the implications of overt racism and discrimination that seems to constantly infect the political landscape of America and had a flashback to a time when white kids got a serious taste of what it was like to be spat upon and denied service at restaurants – unusual restrictions and constant police harassment. I know it seems like a surreal memory yet it really happened.

The early sixties were a time of full blown rage – rage against the Vietnam War – rage against the sedate conformist oppressive ways of the 1950s – rage against systemic racism.

White folks were manipulated into choosing sides. Longhairs vs. Hard hats!
I graduated the summer of 1964 and starting letting my hair grow. This was an affront to my neighbors and family. A few inches over the ears a bit down the neck. You wouldn’t think in a contemporary world a few centimeters carried so much meaning and provocation but it did.

Television played a major role in stoking the flames. Lucille Ball mocked those with a few days growth – vice president Spiro Agnew stamped us the enemy and subversive – church leaders condemned. Life got unreasonably complicated. You were a draft dodger, radical, possibly a hippie. Whatever the case you were punched, spat on, denied your rights and aggressively confronted by those who viewed you as troublemakers.
I accompanied my mother to a grocery where a woman walked up to her and said ‘You should be embarrassed to be seen in public with him – he’s a Beatle.”

Mom nearly hid between the lettuce and garlic. She kept telling me to get the head cut.
A week later I’m climbing aboard a bus and a woman comes up and spits on me and tells me I should feel deep shame.

The next few years the battering and harsh words never retreated. There were fights, cursing, close calls and police searches. There was even a punch out in an elevator in Indianapolis.
I don’t care where you traveled in Middle America someone was waiting too lay a beating on you. All of this over a few inches of additional hair.

By the late seventies those who administered the beatings started wearing beards and long hair and crooning country music – as if nothing happened. Those Southern rebels started selling drugs, driving like fools, drinking like skid row rummies and stole our hard fought costumes. Prior to our influence they wore pastels and embroidered smocks courtesy Porter Wagner and Conway Twitty.

We wore denim; we had miles of hitchhiking dust in our boots, hair down to our ass and more rebel in our bones than these aggregators.
I had many black friends mostly musicians and let me be very frank – this shit made you bond. Forget the institutional hate perpetrated by the right especially garbage like Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina. The field was level for us young men. Get along - get a bus ticket to France or face lock-up!

Those turned out to be great years. We traveled and roomed together – black and white. We learned from one another – we visited families – dined and laughed harder and louder than being at a Chris Rock show. We covered and defended each other. We watched endless hours of Ali whip ass together – Roberto Duran crush skulls- listen to Ray Charles and the Raelets. Through it all we beat the assholes who threw up one barrier after another then we got complacent and allowed the greed of the eighties and despair of the nineties and the theft barons of the new century once again unearth the hateful dead.
I remember what it was liked to be profiled. I remember what it was like to be threatened – kicked and punched for nothing more than being me.

We should all pause and listen to the ground we walk on and realize unless we take a firm stand now we’ll always be played for fools.

Shoot with video.. keep ‘em honest!

I’m always a bit ambivalent about the fixated eyes of cameras most everywhere most breathing moments of daily life. For the most part we all overshoot – that’s the world of technology – and it is a blast. In time, people will roll along to another distraction and devour with the same gusto.

For the moment I’m glad people stay close to conflicts and video - the... case of Sammy Yatim a prime example. Police have a job to do but too often buy into advances in gun technology and react savagely. Honestly, in my opinion there was no cause or need for this boy to die. There was no cause to draw weaponry more suited for armed conflict. This called for brain power the ability to outwit a soul in personal crisis.

I was thinking back to the movie based on a real life event, ‘Dog Day Afternoon’ where crisis negotiators were called in. Talk and time can diffuse bad situations; the person straddling the edge of an open window ready to jump to death; the crazed man running down streets screaming violent offensive words at passersby’s. Many of us have been confronted by drunken fools wanting to fight or scratch.

Years ago I had a guy come at me with a broken bottle trying to cut me – I cooled him down and we both walked away. I didn’t play Stallone on him – I moved back and gave him space. Today he'd be shot dead!

I celebrate those who video police in these situations. Video for the most part is spot on. Without the three public documents we would never get to where we are at this moment.

Talk is a more powerful conflict resolving weapon than brute force. Put the guns away and be a man not an enactment of made for television fake police drama. They’re just bullshit violent cartoons!
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How to Humor two dogs..

 I’m totally exhausted two days after festival and in no mood to cater to dogs. Don’t get me wrong I’m dog man – love the friendly smiles and belly scratches but at the moment have the reduced strength of a posse of inebriated fire flies.

I entertained a big outing to High Park but decided Hillcrest Park was within a few hundred feet much more conducive to my current lack ...of interest and strength.

All I have to do is think park and the critters open their sleep crypts and stare me down. I love those faces – the sincerity of campaigning politicians. How they know what passes through my brain is still a mystery. Honest to Zeus – dogs hear your brain talk. That’s why I try things like thinking about equations just to screw them up – but that rarely works. One of the two will always come forward and say something like – pi R in the bread box.

I drag my dogged ass up hill while they sniff their way through a small wooded gulch to main land. Then they quickly abandon and piss on everything green. I suspect they are reminding all forest inhabitants they are great Danes posing as Yorkies. A squirt, squirt here a squirt, squirt there – everywhere a squirt, squirt!

I’ve never lowered my snout to catch a whiff of the magic potion but I’m thinking it’s Chanel for dogs.

Across the way I notice officials installed a picnic bench – oh yes – why not a cot?

The eyes scan and notice a red ball stuffed in a patch of green. Salvation!
I pocket the large ball and walk back to bench – wave in front of dogs and off we go. One solid hour of tossing and I whittle those little feet into chicken pegs.

The ball was more than a mouthful but Samson reminded the ball what teeth are for – deflation!

Now, I’m easily humored – I laugh at crime dramas. Just watching these two wrestle and roll this ball is worth the price of double admission. I got Suzie to nose the ball back to bench for a re-toss. The longer I sat there the closer my chin hovered above weathered planks.

I had enough time between tosses to check email, FB, Globe & Mail and conversation with a woman with a large standard poodle.

I used the underhand toss as a way to avoid aggravating my rotator cuff. Over the shoulder, flat roll – anything to keep them occupied.

Dogs get all jumpy happy – they smile like babies. There is magic in repetition. I get bored – dogs – inspired. I tried tossing left – right – center – high grass – near plants – nothing but joy and dog laughter.

The hour passes and I notice they have had enough and long for coma time. We depart and I look down – they both look up with appreciative eyes and relay, “You the man – our main man dog!"

Photography and videoing .. the jazz thing!

Capturing jazz festivals is basically anything to do with instruments in hand that gets people’s corpuscles percolating especially when they have a device for freezing the moment or collecting motion with sound.
 I had planned to do as much video work as possible between all other responsible jazz fest duties and experiment. New gadgets need extended rehearsals.

Woodbine was the first time I got to try out the new Lumix GH3 – both sides – stills and video. This is one terrific body. Kris and I are holding two of the most recent creations – 12-35MM 2.8 and 35-100MM 2.8. To be perfectly frank.. most people assume it’s the camera that makes decidable differences – not the case – it’s the quality of lens. These new additions are spectacular! Kris keeps telling me she will never give them up. I remind her there’s a reality check coming end of August and she doesn’t have the cash..

Both are not cheap and run in the $1,200 range each. Seems like a chunk but when up against comparable glass it’s a steal. Images are as sharp as coming from a $5,000 lens. They are quick and light on the wrists and finely crafted. The barrels turn with ease.

I’ll let you decide on video quality. Woodbine was all GH3 – Kew Gardens – Canon 60D and 15-85 MM lens.

The Canon has a large sensor giving it an edge. The GX1 was my go to video camera for TD Jazz Festival and worked beautifully.

I’ve looked at these on my 46 inch Samsung and the 1080 is solid. Your feedback is appreciated.

On another note; great to meet John Davidson who was our Jazz in Motion winner and hang a bit, Igor Vidyashev – the professor, Anna Encheva – second place Jazz in Motion, Robert Saxe and others. All present first class quality images and work smoothly – no clowning or showboating. The best event photographers are near invisible. You see them standing alongside going about the work yet they’re quiet and respectful. The funny thing is there’s not much talk about equipment – most have the best and most suited for their needs.   Panasonic Lumix GH3

Monday, July 22, 2013

Honest Ed’s vs. the Towers of Babylon

I’ve lived adjacent to bargain Ed’s since late 1979, so news of its market value and imminent sale arrives less a shocker than inevitable.

The years we’ve walked by and rarely cruise are plenty. The times we’ve loaded up on shampoo and smelts in a tin – rare. I admit  we’ve filled a bag or two of items and made our way to the cash register and out of frustration left the treasures stacked on bars of soap and jars of vasoline and shopped elsewhere.

Yes, there is something unique and endearing about the vast floor space that charms like the high register of a bassoon. How many times have I found myself lost in Ed’s as if it’s one of those turn of the century funhouses and flag down the near invisible red smocks in search of an exit.
I liked being a member of the black and white photo gallery of past and before stars of theater and clubs. My photo was submitted by the late Gino Empry when I played at Lights or something like that. I used to have people say to me – “Bill, how fortunate – I saw your photo in women’s shoes.”

I did the search and truth be – it was there – was it women’s shoes or garden hoses?

For twelve marvelous years I rented a top floor space for the Jazz Report Magazine then photography studio in one of the old Victorians on Markham Street next to David Mirvish books. I so loved the place – one room with a window – a hideaway - $150 a month - across the street – my God – the best Italian food – Carlos and Adelina’s. The veal in wine sauce. Hit me with smelling salts! I still preserve a chunk of veal in a back molar.
John Travolta dropped by every time he was hanging around. I felt secure knowing DeNiro and Travolta made a taxi ride away from the glitter camps to give Adelina a big kiss and down a fabulous meal.

 Adelina was the poster mom for Italy and the finer blends of Italian cuisine. She was short, stocky with a classic face - worked long hours and dreamt of vacationing in Bermuda. Even Father Marshall from the Catholic diocese Bloor and Bathurst arrived everyday for lunch - veal and glass of red. The father and I talked baseball – oh, how he must be suffering these days with his beloved Blue Jays. I dropped by his humble one room digs in residency – a cot bed – desk, jazz on the stereo (Guido Basso/Neil Swainson) and Blue Jays memorabilia. Talk about sacrifice.
Across the way, my buddy Darrell and the Green Iquana Glassworks. Darrell is the man face of Markham Street. Much of what I played with the first edition of the Saturday Nite Fish Fry came from Darrell’s never ending eclectic collection of jump blues. We all need a Darrell in our lives!

There were the painters – Oliver Schroer and his violin. Brusch and Mike Clifton and their basement CD trade up shop.
Markham Street has been a place where you pause and chat and forget Bay and King exists. In fact, I lost consciousness a few years sorting through foreign films at Suspect Video. Subtitles bothered me until I forced myself start in the A section of great directors and surface in Z a few years later - a glorious experience.

Then there’s Francis, the female face of Markham Street at Southern Accents. Francis like Darrell has been there three decades or more in her case serving up tasty Cajun food. Francis took one of the old Victorians and turned it into a hint of a Storyville bordello – beads, banners and trinkets – all favoring the Crescent City.
The Mirvishes! Christ sake they are wonderful! I say that figuring Ed will always be around.

One afternoon a good decade back I’m sitting on my stoop facing Butler’s Pantry, the lovely restaurant that replaced Carlos and Adelina when I see an elderly woman stumble and fall on sidewalk. I run over and keep her clam – hold her hand and gently talk. She eventually gains strength and asks to sit in a chair. I lift and slide her comfortably and it may have been Mike Clifton fetch a glass of water and the two of us console. For the next hour we sat and talked. “I’m Ann Mirvish and you are? I’m Bill from across the street”
“So kind of you – you rent from us. "
"Yes, I’m right up there."
" My place is near the corner, …. we must see each other again.”

A few days pass and I get a call from Ann. “Are you that lovely gentleman who helped me the other day..yes I am, .. would you meet me at David’s book store at noon.”
I did just that and there she was all smiles and radiating goodness. “Your name again, ..Bill, .. could you wait here for a moment I have to go to the basement.”

I wait and wait and wait until a clerk comes over .. “ You can go, she’s down there moving boxes – she won’t be back.”
I got it!

A couple days go by and I’m downing jambalaya at Butler’s Pantry and Ann walks in. “ Bill, have you seen Ed? Not yet.. well come and get me if you do, we never miss lunch.”
I got to thinking about that and the number of times Kris and I share lunch together – that period of time when the world stops - noise ceases and it’s just us reconnecting as life partners and savoring every minute.

Ed eventually walks in and takes the same booth Kris and I have dined at so many times before – then Ann arrives and introduces Ed. How sweet is that?
Yep, the store was the epicentre that fed the art, the zone, the musicians and artists, the strange shopkeepers, the small wine makers, weird video joints and allowed us a private block of color and beauty; an sacred catch of old Toronto history that should never be rezoned or smashed to bits for speculator condos.

Will I miss the plasticized Elvis heads – not a chance – will I miss Markham Street – hell yes.
I truly think David will think this through and sell to someone who will preserve one of the last remaining areas of Toronto that looks like the Toronto we crave and have sorely failed to save. What could you say to your grandkids? ”You know that fifty story condo tower with rooms three hundred square feet -“that’s where pigeons come to die.”

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Obama and the Truth!

I couldn’t help reviewing over and over Obama’s heartfelt off the cuff words on racism in America.

Truly, it’s why Kris and I returned to Canada in 1979. Racism makes the stomach churn then boil and infuriate.

Those three and half years back in USA showed us - through all the sorrow and hard fought victories of the sixties and hundreds years back – the Great Society, We Shall Overcome – March on Selma – a certain segment of America refuses to embrace and engage the future.

Race is incredibly difficult to discuss – one misplaced word will toss you unknowingly in one camp or another.

The core to all of this is history.

My dad was of a generation of white men who mocked and incited. Why? He was dirt poor – the family hit the bottom of the rung during the Great Depression – before that they were tobacco farmers – a long history of hands in the earth. Life down South played by established rules. There had to be a class below. Those were the rules.

Most days we sat opposite ends of the living room. When he began the racial tirades I slipped from view and hid away. We eventually parted company for long stretches of a time.

Eventually, we ran into each other at a family reunion in Pennsylvania years later. Talk was difficult until I thought about the old walk in the woods – air it out stuff.

We did just that. It was the most humble he’d ever been.

I asked him why he carried so much hate in his heart. He didn’t know – only that his daddy did and he was a drunk and lost everything – then died. So, I asked “you need to target someone for this.”

He got defensive..” You can’t feed all those faces in the world – there’s those who survive and those who die.”

I looked at him and asked – “You love Oscar Peterson, Ray Brown, Lionel Hampton, Louis Armstrong” – they are black men.

“Yeah, they’re different.”

In what way I asked… no answer!

Dad never missed a Cassius Clay bout – and ranted for days about the loud mouth and how a white man should shut him down. He would never allow him be Ali. Why a white man?

No response.

I thought about this and how dad fit in this world. He honestly loved the culture of black. What he couldn’t accept was his declining role calling the shots. The world was expanding and he wasn’t.

Dad had many black friends which posed a moral dilemma. He traveled, he fished and bragged about his friends. But history wouldn’t allow him fully embrace.

He was a far better man the last ten years of his life. Much more open and his tirades cartoonish. Brother Wayne and I took it in stride. The screaming at Tiger Woods sporting that noxious green Augusta golf jacket which by his account belong to white men reminded us the guy would ride his racist DNA to the grave in a chariot.

Change comes slowly, only when dead skin sheds and a new one is born.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Peter Appleyard 'Flyng Home' at 84

News of Peter Appleyard’s passing came quick without deliberation.

It’s really difficult tying all personal thoughts into a precious bundle.

Eighty-four is a good stretch on planet earth but in my heart Peter was destined to easily challenge a hundred. What do I base this on – that set of vibes that weighed as much as a meteorite? Who could lift them without a strenuous daily workout.

Numerous times I’ve stepped behind Peter’s car and offered assistance to only get in the way. “I’ve got this – you get the curb.” Wow! That’s strength and that's an order!

I never saw this coming.

My early years in Toronto were spent battling the Toronto Musicians Association. I was used to that American brotherhood thing and my comrades in Louisville. TMA in Toronto was more akin to boot camp with Stalin. Appleyard was my hero!

Christ sake each edition of the TMA paper Crescendo posted a list a blacklisted players with Appleyard's name back page for some minor infraction or another. Through the years I became a comrade and frequent member usually suspended for non payment of dues. I figured Appleyard was the coolest dude in Canada. I detested those MFs. I assumed if I got my name in the same column Peter would protect me and one day we’d high five and scream something back at them like – bring it on – I'VE PAID LIFE DUES!

As we began expanding the media parameters of Toronto jazz we quickly learned Peter was not a member of the local  dreaded jazz police. Hey boys – it’s ‘All the Things You Are” or get off the bandstand. He was the dude arms length from the local Stasi.

Peter focused on the world beyond Lake Ontario and traveled and traveled and toured to great concert venues out of reach for locals.

We connected through the Jazz Report Magazine – CJRT FM - and National Jazz Awards. I’d be out there offering a helping hand and he’d tell me stand aside. I’d witness him do a Jack Lalanne on heavy metal.

To appreciate his playing you needed to get down front close in and watch those wrists snap and notes scatter. Every line guided by history and yes Red Norvo and Lionel Hampton had a tight grip and possibly Terry Gibbs on the elongated statements.

I’d pull the camera out and stake every angle - shoot a few frames – then watch and listen. Superb!

Appleyard had tremendous respect for Benny Goodman. Anyone stoked on jazz would surely admit Goodman ran a tight ship and precision was mandatory. You can’t disappear in a small group – you have to play the big front end parts or take a seat with the audience.

So, I as many of you will need a few days to absorb Peter’s passing and we’ll talk and listen and wish Peter Jr. and Suzie our best. When your family loves you this much you know you’re truly something special.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Beaches International Jazz Festival at Twenty Five!

How do you interpret twenty-five years of Beaches Jazz history when you are not inclined to invest much time looking through a rear view mirror, yet this day begs for a bit of reflection.
In 1989 festival president Lido Chilelli and I came together from opposite directions, both arriving at the same junction.

I was producing and hosting the nationally syndicated Jazz Report Radio Network and publishing the Jazz Report Magazine when executive producer Bruce Davidson asked me to look for a location suitable for a jazz festival. Bruce had an in at Vickers and Benson ad agency who were contemplating such an undertaking through Amstel Beer.

 I jumped on my bike and began cruising along the Lakeshore eventually finding my way to Kew Gardens east of Woodbine Avenue where I heard music playing in the distance. That afternoon is just so happen to be Rosemary Galloway’s Sisters of Swing. We chatted briefly and Rosemary explained weekends during the summer the Toronto Musician’s Association through their Trust Fund subsidized concerts in parks.

The rustic green platform serving as a performance stage was in need of repair and not nearly large enough to house a full blown festival yet I assured Bruce I had found a sweet location. The two us of then made the drive east and Bruce was instantly sold on the venue – one surrounded by trendy shops, a ball diamond, gorgeous park and lake nearby.

The next step was Amstel’s move – get their beer in local pubs and restaurants.

A few weeks pass and I get a call from musician John Cleveland Hughes from Lido’s in the Beach inquiring if I’d like to be part of a new jazz festival coming in the Beaches at Kew Gardens. At first I thought John had chatted with Bruce but that wasn’t the case. He told me an Amstel representative had been by Lido’s in the Beach and was trying to get the beer on tap. John went on to say he wanted me involved as emcee and help with booking.

In no time a festival was born and the first held – July 25th- 30th 1989. The first days show’s were held at Lido’s in the Beach – the 29th and 30th in Kew Gardens. John and I mixed the program up with Carlos Lopes Group featuring the late Earl Seymour – Rick Lazar and Montuno Police – Brian Hughes Group – Memo Acevedo’s Latin unit. The two days brought over 10,000 people together in the community and $10,000 to our designated charity Senior Link.
I could go year by year and this could turn into a long winded dissertation but let’s try this.

The early years were a mix of enthusiasm, ambition, excitement, and challenges. Politics would come in play - both a positive and decisive factor in surviving to the present day. Mayor’s have come and gone – June Rowland, Barbara Hall, Mel Lastmen made the customary Sunday journey expressing kind words to a captive audience extolling the virtues of community and jazz festival. Tainted politicians used the same platform to only batter and undermine a couple days later the first decade and most of the second. We spent many hours at city council defending and guarding ground earned by running a successful populous festival. I won’t even go there other than to say – everything you see on television about politicians is true.
Councillor Jack Layton was present every summer and spoke glowingly about the music and organization. Layton was one of the people you engaged backstage. You knew he was a polished politician yet he would drop his guard and embrace his playful side. He didn’t come with handlers – just a bike and oversized cell phone that looked like it was smuggled off a World War 11 battlefield.

We realized we didn’t have the dollars to import marquee acts so we did what we were destined to do – build from emerging talent in our community. Hire local and provide a big stage and publicity for our own. We did that starting day one. I knew being a musician the chances of getting on a stage near a touring international act was near impossible. We were still battling the Canada is inferior mindset. So, we set out to change that.

Another contentious issue was breaking the gender imbalance. Women in jazz was difficult for hard core jazz devotees who saw jazz a private men's club. You can thank Molly Johnson, Rita Chiarelli and Jane Bunnett for opening doors and swinging them wide. Twenty-five years ago a woman had to be a singer to stand alongside men, those few who played an instrument were rarely bandleaders. Then come Lorraine Desmaris Trio, Lee Ping Ming, Liberty Silver, Brandi Disterheft, Julia Cleveland, Emile-Claire Barlow, Carol Welsman, Ingrid Jensen, Alex Pangman, Suzie Arioli, Ranee Lee, Heather Bambrick, Lorraine Klausen, Michelle Wilson, DaTalle – singers and instrumentalists. Twenty-five years later the bandstand is a much different inclusive environment.
The same can be said for ethnic diversity. BIJF has changed in accordance to the immigrant make-up of our city. That has also altered the way we program. Latin, jazz, blues, world music, indigenous and nearby. We are now a music festival with many shades, rhythms and attitudes.

I’m often asked for a memorable moment – my favourite experience. I still like recalling when I was in my early forties - the beginnings and wife Kris and I would ride our bikes from St. Clair and Bathurst area most every day and back at night through the wooded areas – truly exhausting but exhilarating. Eventually, Lido took mercy on us inviting us camp over the Saturday night to Sunday to relax and conserve energy. That was always a family blast!
Shows? I will never will forget Steps Ahead with Billy Kilson drums, Darrell Grant’s band with Brian Blade drums; mesmerizing! The New York Voices, Johnny Pacheco’s band, Nathan and his Zydeco pals, Dave McMudro Jazz Orchestra, Joey DeFrancesco, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Hilario Duran, Robi Botos, Francois Bourassa Trio, Jody Drake, Bobbi Sherron. Booking the great Ernie Andrews after catching the documentary South Central on PBS and hearing him recorded with the Gene Harris Philip Morris Big Band was one of those dreams come true. My kind of singer.

Andrews was a handful and a hoot. We combed  downtown Toronto for the best chicken dinner and fine vodka and just talked music. That voice cut through the sheltering pines and dense bush near  the Alex Christie band shell and embedded in the landscape for eternity.

And there is Betty and Jerry Davis who come every year; first from Kansas City, then Memphis, outside Chicago – wherever they are at the moment. They never miss a year and bring with them that kind middle American charm.

Biggest letdown? Possibly three years back.

 The rains were torrential and we were pleading  mercy having booked young singing star Hal Linton from Barbados and my hero Jimmy Hall of Wet Willie’s fame who was killing with a new recording ‘Salty.’ Christ sake I love that man’s voice.

The rough weather was unrelenting and it looked as if the lake had moved inland back of stage. Linton and band couldn’t get out of van buried in three feet of water - so back to hotel and return trip home. Saturday was toast – first time ever.

Sunday comes and the rains persist yet we can still get players on stage. Hall is backed by guitarist Tommy Talton – a good player and band. By now I’m physically and emotionally drained. Hall’s standing back stage fiddling with tenor saxophone and I introduce myself and tell him what a fan I am –  I rarely do this. The band begins and rain picks up. My brain is screaming inside – bring Jimmy on – that voice, that voice. One song passes, another, another, another .. no Jimmy – he’s backstage toying with sax reed meanwhile Talton’s doing all the singing. Another  song passes, then another .. I’m at the end the platform and ready to jump in and drown myself when Hall walk’s on stage and band begins again – I feel a rush – then Talton starts singing again and Hall just plays sax. Goodbye!  I told stage manger Rico Ferrara I'd had enough and was going home. Never saw my Jimmy sing.
The years in between have been amazing – the talent the hang - so many players and conversation with people. The street scene with hundreds of thousands dancing and celebrating. The nightly visits  and greetings to players - the heat, sore feet, the exhaustion.

A few major occurrences helped dig deep roots for the festival. I’m guessing it was year three when we hired publicist Martine Levy who at the time was handling PR at the Blue Note club now tops at DDB Publicity and as solid  a person and partner as there ever has been and a delight and her team, Rogers Cable television and Kerry Gordon who videoed the early years - the two of us would book a day and film intros and extros making each main-stage performance a compact half hour show played endlessly for years on Rogers Community access television. Joey Cee’s tireless work on programs, art and pounding the community testifying to the BIJF virtues and steady cheerful demeaner; assisting wherever needed. Lido, who has been the driving force for all of this. We have high-fived each other numerous times and battled the enemy when confronted. Pat, Rico,  Julie, Joanna, the volunteers, families, neighbours, those who do the structural hands on poles in the ground work. My family - Kris and Jesse and band mates, you da best!