April 2016

In Conversation with Julian Taylor

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Submitted by Pat Blythe
Photo Credit: Pat Blythe A Girl With a Camera

During my time working in, and learning about this industry we call the "music business", I have met an incredible number of people, many who have become a very important part of my life, particularly those whom I seek out on the stages of the various clubs and bars in this fair city. So I've decided to take some time to discover the people behind the music.

Last week I sat down to have a chat with Julian Taylor. As I've clearly stated to many people, I don't "do" interviews. So, no specific questions in mind, just a great conversation about his Taylor's new, upcoming album Desert Star, the current club environment, the difficulties and challenges for young bands/artists these days, DJing, writing, genres and in which "box" does Taylor's music "fit". Numerous articles have already been written about Taylor's musical history, a 20-year veteran of the industry, so I don't feel it bears repeating here. If you need background info, look up Staggered Crossing or his last album Tech Noir. There's loads on the internet.

Jim West - When Retail, Jazz and Blues Were Hot Properties

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Submitted by Bill King

Jim West has been at this since 1983 – thirty six years of music, music, music, - jazz and blues and everything of artistic merit in between. Although the distribution wing of the business ended several years back the recording side continues to thrive today. I culled a couple paragraphs from the Justin Time website and merged with an interview I did with Jim in 2003. The significance of this – then, business was booming – jazz was thriving and CDs a hot item. Enjoy.

“As the old expression goes, "Time flies when you're having fun." Well, time has sure flown by. Nearly thirty years of some really outstanding recording sessions and over 375 total productions. It's interesting to note that our first three signings - Oliver Jones, Ranee Lee, and the Montreal Jubilation Choir [arranged and conducted by Trevor W. Payne) - are all still recording with us today. We are very proud of this fact, and, on a personal level, I'm extremely pleased to consider them all wonderful friends.

We're also proud to have worked with some of the greatest musical talent in the world: the late great Oscar Peterson, David Murray, Dave Van Ronk, Paul Bley, Kenny Wheeler, Rob McConnell, Carmen Lundy, Jimmy Rowles, Sonny Greenwich, Bryan Lee, Diana Krall, Hank Jones, D.D. Jackson, Hamiet Bluiett, Billy Bang, Fontella Bass, Susie Arioli, World Saxophone Quartet, Frank Marino and David Clayton-Thomas - and this is by no means an exhaustive list, nor does it address the thousands of featured artists on our many recording sessions.”

Jesse Winchester Let The Smooth Side Show

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Submitted by Don Graham

Photo Credit: Pierre Millette 

The second annual Jesse Winchester tribute show Seems Like Only Yesterday was held last weekend at the legendary Toronto listening venue, Hugh’s Room. Founder and creator Bill McKetrick, a talented musician/songwriter/singer in his own right, put together a diverse and talented lineup for this event. As he explains, "The Jesse Winchester Tribute concert is a labour of love for everyone involved. Both a love of the man and a love of the music. All of us consider it an honour to be able to continue the tradition of Jesse Winchester at Hugh's Room, where he was the first person to perform when the club opened in April 2001, and performed every April until the year before his passing. The participation of his son, Lee, is just that little extra bit of connective tissue that makes the whole event even more special."

And a special night it was,  the show started with a poignant and moving version of Jesse’s beautiful “Defying Gravity.” What made it so special was it was sung and played by Bob Cohen, longtime guitarist for Jesse. Bob had actually never sung solo as his mastery on anything stringed was his job with Jesse. But he delivered the tune with poignant grace and you could have heard a pin drop. Bob and I worked together in bands in Montreal before Bob joined forces with Jesse. He  introduced me on this night  and I got to do an old favourite of mine “ Payday” backed by Bob and the multi talented David Woodhead on bass.

Ed Ringwald: Man Of Steel

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Submitted by Don Graham

You may not know his name but unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ve heard the work of Ed Ringwald, aka Pee Wee Charles. Ed was Gordon Lightfoot’s steel guitarist for 16 years and if you are a country music fan you have no doubt heard his masterful steel guitar work on records by such artists as George Canyon, Beverley Mahood, Shane Yellowbird, Jim Witter, Jamie Warren, Gord Bamford, Jason Blaine, Jason McCoy and so many more.

Johnny Max: Band Forty Nine Minutes of the Best We Have

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

"49 Minutes...Of The Best We Have!" marks the 6th release for the Johnny Max Band, a 2X JUNO Award & multiple Maple Blues Award nominee.

Well known as Johnny Max, the host of Sunday Morning Soul, playing the best in brand new Blues and Roots,  he holds the seat of a syndicated radio show that prides itself in playing ‘Where Good Music Lives’. (www.sundaymorningsoul.com).

"49 Minutes...Of The Best We Have!" has an offering of 12 great tracks, all taken from the Johnny Max Band's most recent 3 releases, with the lions share, six in total, being chosen from their 2010 "It's A Long Road" album, which was a strong release on its own.

All well-crafted and well-produced it is no wonder Johnny Max has garnered attention in the international markets.

Reminiscent of Mac Rebennack piano, Max has a style all his own on “Daddy’s Little Girl”; with plenty of bottom and vocal growls, great guitar licks and solid backbeat percussions, a solid glimpse of what is left to come on this CD.

“(You’re A) Lesson I’ve Learned” is a great blues swing track, catch the live version at the Beaches Jazz Festival to see The Johnny Max Band give it a go.