by carl wilson

Tuesday's Choice: Hmm, Valentine or Blah Blah?

Fred Lonberg-Holm, in a photo borrowed from Peter Gannushkin.

In a case of very inconvenient timing, there are two strong contenders for can't-miss avant-jazz events in Toronto tonight.

At the Imperial Pub near Yonge-Dundas Square, from Chicago's fertile improv scene, the Valentine Trio led by cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm and trombonist Jeb Bishop's trio, both with Jason Roebke on bass and Frank Rosaly on drums. Anyone familiar with Ken Vandermark's various groups or with Peter Brotzmann's Chicago Tentet will know Jeb and Fred's stupendous playing. 8 pm, twelve bucks.

Meanwhile at the Lula Lounge there's a triple-headed party with some of the city's very best improvisers to launch the Xmas-season bounty of cd's from local improv label Barnyard Records, including the debut of Blah Blah 666 (reviewed as "witty and playful" today in the Globe by my colleague Robert Everett-Green), Jean Martin and Justin Haynes' set of duets on ukelele and drummed-suitcase with tunes by Saint Dirt Elementary School composer Myk Freedman (reviewed by David Dacks as having "an intimacy reminiscent of Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto's collaborations" in last week's Eye) and Kyle Brenders' Toronto Duets with Anthony Braxton, about which, well, need I say more than "Anthony Braxton"? (Though he won't be there tonight.) That's on Dundas between Lansdowne and Dufferin, at 9 pm, $10 (or $15 with a cd).

Via Toronto | Posted by zoilus on Tuesday, December 02 at 5:08 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (3)



you're canadian so idk if you knew about the pre-grammy show on CBS last night here in the US? ms. dion covered janis ian's "at seventeen" in a quite subdued performance. in an interview she said she related to the song due to growing up as a teen who wasn't pretty and didn't fit in. it was pretty weird to behold

Posted by anonymous on December 4, 2008 4:18 AM



I opted, with regrets to the Toronto contingent, for the Bishop/Longberg-Holm event, in a new space in the back of the Imperial Pub that the bar-owning family's steel-guitar-playing son has knocked together out of a former storage space. A great new little intimate venue.

Ron Gaskin put together a terrific night with two sets by the combined trios, with Longberg-Holm's abstract-shredding tendencies nicely set off against Bishop's penchant for modal-melodic lines, chorales and textured trills, while the rhythm section gave them plenty of room. The pieces, each about 20 minutes long, were at once intensive and spacious, balancing narrative sense, variety and unpredictability - but refreshingly for free jazz allowing themselves big gestures, not just fussy ones, and not shying away from lyricism when it seemed emotionally right.

At halftime Lonberg-Holm played a solo cello improvisation while Toronto choreographer Bill Coleman gamely attempted to accompany him with tap-dancing -- which recalled Baltimore hoofer Will Gaines' duets with Derek Bailey*, but not that successfully.


Still, an amazing night, but really too bad about the conflict between the shows - if only more people could have been there.

Posted by zoilus on December 3, 2008 3:57 PM



Plus, if there was a dark-horse pick, Arthur Bull from Digby Neck NS jam-packed his guitar-playing with terrific ideas at an early, short and sweet Somewhere There set with the Davids (Prentice & Lee) that left time to zip to the Lula to celebrate with Barnyard stablemates.

Posted by Somewhere There on December 3, 2008 8:07 AM




Zoilus by Carl Wilson