Photo: Ethan McLaren, Xavier Lane, Michael Williams and Bobby Curtola Photo Credit Bill King
2016 was covered by unexpected lose of the icons of our youth, Muhammad Ali I saw once at Cleveland Hopkins airport while leaving for California. It was a glance and smile that energized me for years.
David Bowie like Rush are part of the rather sophisticated musical DNA of Cleveland, Ohio and one of the many reason why the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame is located in Cleveland. Cleveland is the musical sister city to Montreal, with exactly the same high musical I.Q.
WNCR started it with Billy Bass, Shauna,Doyle, Dennis Saunders, Jeff Gelb,Caroline, WMMS continued the musical legacy with Billy Bass at the helm as PD and Dennis Saunders as MD, both on air.
WMMS was the first station in America to play and present David Bowie; we broke Bowie, Lou Reed Hall and Oates, Mott the Hoople and Rush to the world. I was at the first two Bowie Concerts in Cleveland. Love shared and received.
Prince was always brilliant like Billy Bass, Mayor Carl B. Stokes and myself, we were Black and shared in that promise fulfilled, never denied. We had the possibility of being connected to everything that is, was and shall be.
Never coming from or being part of the culture of less with full license to be all that we could be!
If anyone had told us at beginning of 2016 how many musical icons we would lose in the course of the year we’d be hard pressed to believe it. But it was a year like none I can remember for deaths in the musical community. By April it appeared to me that surely we couldn’t lose anymore. But the grim reaper kept coming. Some say it’s the age, that so many of the artists we grew up with were aging out, but that theory doesn’t hold water in all cases, there were some that were just too young to go.
The year started off in January with two giants of the industry passing within days of each other. The passing of mega star David Bowie was a shock and while we still reeling from that an even bigger shock hit us when Eagles co-founder and superstar Glenn Frey exited suddenly. Also in January rock pioneer with The Jefferson Airplane, Paul Katner left us. February started off on first of the month by claiming country crooner Jim Reeves and followed by taking country and early rock ‘n’ roll singer (Young Love) Sonny James. The month also took Lennie Baker, saxophonist for Sha Na Na. March saw country singer Joey Feek succumb to her long public battle with cancer and Canadian legend Ray Griff who built a career for himself in Nashville passed away back in Canada. Frank Sinatra Junior joined his dad in the heavenly orchestra and one third of Emerson Lake and Palmer, Keith Emerson checked out. And the man responsible for the Beatles sound, Sir George Martin, left us.
As Cashbox Canada heads into its 8th year of publishing, as the Editor in Chief, I have had time to reflect on 2016 and all we have covered here in the music industry, both here in Canada and on a global level as well.
We have bid farewell to many greats this year, and some were more personal than others. The loss of my dear friend and mentor, Bobby Curtola left a heartache I could never have imagined. But his love of people and music is the legacy and the torch he has left behind for us to carry on.
I need to thank the ones who stood beside our magazine for what is always turbulent waters in these current times in the music business. Chris Wardman, Lenny Stoute, Don Graham, Michael Williams, Pat Blythe, Mark Smith, Iain Patience, Kathy Hahn have all kept us going with stories, personal one on one interviews, and their love of the music shows through it all.
We welcomed Jain MacMillan who graciously stepped up to the plate as our graphic designer for our weekly covers, while we said goodbye to the talented Gillian FitzGibbon who has gone on to pursue a different career that captures her free spirit and love of horses.
To my Celtic family, Meghan Bold of Bold Steps, Stephen Lamb and Brook Richardson along with OMFG, as well as Rory Sinclair and Caledon County for always being there for me to continue to promote my heritage.
Every year we at Cashbox get to write a little vignette describing a favourite Christmas memory and every year I think I don’t have any more, I‘ve told them all. But turns out that’s not true and the beauty is it forces me to travel back in time to various stages of my life, looking for a new Christmas memory.
So I thought this year maybe I’d write about something that happened after my childhood, when I was an adult. Nah, that won’t work. All my real happy memories of Christmas are from when I was a young boy. Christmas was different then. It was commercial alright, but not to extent it is now. As kids we each got one “big” present and a bunch of little things like socks or gloves or a little book. Our stockings had an orange, always an orange, some nuts; walnuts, Brazil nuts, pecans and such. And usually a little candy and chocolate. It really was more about family and all being together on that special day. My feeling and memory of is of a huge, full tree covered in long strands of tinsel, great big lights, not the puny little lights of today, big round, fragile Christmas balls of red, green, silver and blue. A beautiful angel that perched on top of the tree and angel hair scattered all around.
Submitted by Lenny Stoute Photo: Danforth Greektown Fountain
The little village square in my hood has a small stage at one end, so the sound of live music providing counterpoint to the omnipresent traffic thunder, is often and welcome. 'Twas early summer, the city air still soft , the greenery new and full of promise, a fresh crop of toddlers duking it out with the pigeons for fountain space when I heard the subtly turbulent chromatics and cascading arpeggios of Debussy rushing like a springtime stream from a keyboard. Behind the keys, an elfin brunette young woman just getting started on a set that referenced Brubeck, Fatha Hines, Oscar Peterson, some delicate etudes from Beethoven, Burton Cummings and Diana Krall, among the stuff I recognised.
Come break time, I'm right over there curious to hear what else she can do. So she played me some show tunes, some Elton John, and when I called out for New Orleans sounds, she dropped some Dr. John, some Professor Longhair and her Fats Domino medley had the rugrats rompin'. All layered with numerous to me, unknown pieces, some of which were gorgeous and celebratory in tone, with a persistent flow of challenge and struggles informing the dynamic.