Commissioner of Selection: Paul Corby
We voyage, we make long journeys, arriving prepared for the immediate thrill of sharing time in a like-minded crowd with exemplary musical crafters, uplifters of song, and spiritual miracle workers, and accruing the long term rewards of memory and meaning.
Blockbuster-style staging, an all-male dance team of co-ordinated muscle and grace, musicians off to the side of the stage, just so we could focus on the variegated and vivacious talents of arguably the most brilliant entertainer in the world right now.
She brought a barber's chair to center stage AND CUT HER HAIR FOR MAHSA AMINI!
An amazing crowd of joyous people with more positively focussed responsive power than I've seen since early shows by Springsteen and Marley. A commercial break in the middle for saving children, an intimate chapel segment, a crescendo of intensely devotional musical virtuosity, a churning backlit fifty-voice choir and an empty beer tent.
In a packed, awe-stricken house, after a three-year wait, we silently absorbed a master class in musical eloquence. Six songs, working through honky tonk, activist balladry (Blackbird), cinematic sound effects, and the most magnificent Gershwin ever played, I dare say.
Seeing all those major Canadian performers without the slickly tricky camera edits, in broad daylight, playing and dancing at their max best. Entertaining, engaging and in the long run, really touching. Avril's giant pink bus, Snotty Nose Rez Kids fronted by hoop dancers and backed by DJ Shub, and the POET, Regent Park's own Mustafa, singing his lyrics in a bullet-proof vest.
The planet's most passionate voice, transforming all the pain of our hearts' depths into song. Guitar strings sparkling in a bronco dance with that aquatic voice bravely swimming through subterranean tides of tenderness and agony, while we all just held our breath for sheer joy. Dizzying.
The touring pride of Sydney Mines, the MacNeil family, brought the ancestral lights of a Nova Scotia Christmas to galvanize our hearts through their gifts of wit, warmth and soulful virtuosity. Harp and fiddle, modern harmonies and fancy footwork, and a rousing singalong of Rudolph over a streamlined solo electric bass accompaniment played by Santa himself. You could even say it glowed, "Like a lightbulb!"
Her name needs no disclaimer. All the stirring gospel emotion you ever needed, with keyboard accompaniment. While the Beaches Easter parade, with its real estate floats and marching bands was roaring by outside, Divine brought the quiescence of faith, simply and clearly expressed, into a small bar. His Eye Was On The Sparrow, and my local pub became a church, and, verily, the waitresses wept.
Assured but complex harmony in the singing, unanimous but gentle commitment in the playing and the texture of the sound blend by Jeff Holdip powered an ascending, ecstatic response from a damp but devoted audience.
In her first show since becoming the first woman to win a Rap Album of the Year award at the Junos, Haviah Mighty welcomed a crowd of long-standing fans and initiates into her rhythmic embrace with fun, fire and rage, and shared a few tunes trampolining around the stage with her sister and lifelong sparring partner, Omega Mighty.
With an all-star band, including bouncy bassist Will Lee, eloquent guitarist Barry Finnerty and Randy Brecker's wife Ada Rovatti excelling on tenor ("It's okay," he confided," I'm used to being up-staged by brilliant saxophone players."), and with their thirteen-year-old daughter Stella beaming at stageside, the music was expertly compressed into infinite facets of brilliance until spontaneous combustion manifested in ornately phrased improv and explosive ensemble work.ALSO remarkably great:
Jerry Leger & The Situation @ The Paradise
Joy Lapps and Larnell Lewis @ Beaches Jazz Festival
Bruno Capinan @ BSMT 254
Exco Levi & Kairo MacLean @ Supermarket
SATE & DiJah SB @ El Mocambo
Ivan Lins @ Koerner Hall
Aleksi Campagne @ Drom Taberna
Many of these experiences were facilitated and shared with my friends Dave and Tracy, to whom I owe much gratitude.
Guest Host: Howard Gladstone
5:03 2022 Favs Part 1
Julian Taylor | Seeds | From The Reservoir
Madison Violet | The Sycamore | The Sycamore
Mike Bern | Ancestor’s Radio | single
Abigail Lapell | Land of Plenty | Stolen Time
Sultans of String | I Am A Refugee | Refuge
James Gordon | Crybaby’s Caravan | single
5.28 TTC, Mass Transit & Highway Woes
Sue & Dwight | Red Rocket Two Step | single NEW RELEASE
Howard Gladstone | Gridlock City | unreleased
Stompin’ Tom Connors | TTC Skidaddler | from the film Across This Land 1973
Jomo87 | Toronto Subway Song | Youtube
Brian Gladstone | Don Valley Parkway Blues | Back to the Dirt
Shuffle Demons | Spadina Bus | Video version
5.47 The Inevitable Songs of The Season
The Band | Christmas Must Be Tonight | Islands
Klezmatics | Happy Joyous Chanukah | Woody Guthrie’s Happy Joyous Hannukah
Quarrington and Adams | Swinging Old Saint Nick | Christmas Dream
5.59 2022 Jazz Favs
Ori Dagan | Rebirth of the Cool | Click Right Here
Ernesto Cervini | Three Pines | Joy
Roberto Occhipinti | The Peacocks | The Next Step
Laura Fernandez | Coldest Winter / 30 Year Winter | OK, Alright
6:19 Leonard, Gord, Bruce - Covered !
Norah Jones | Steer Your Way | Here It Is: The Songs of Leonard Cohen
Cowboy Junkies | The Way I Feel | Songs of The Recollection
ES:MO | Lovers In A Dangerous Time | The Weight of Hope
6:35 2022 Favs Continued
Shirley Eikhard (7 November 1955 – 15 December 2022) | Anything Is Possible |Anything is Possible
Allison Russell | Hy Brasil |Outside Child
Pierre Kwenders | Sahara | Jose Louis And The Paradox of Love
Nancy Dutra | Lonesome Without You | Songs of Michael Laderoute
Mark Yan | Please Come Home | Just As One
6.55 Singing the Gospel of Love
Cowboy Junkies | I’ve Made Up My Mind to Give Myself to You | Songs of the Recollection
This newly refurbished and vividly colourized hotel on Queen Street West has hosted over a dozen interviews for Corby's Orbit, accommodating my guests and me throughout the pandemic and afterwards. They have a new look for the Melody Bar, a convivial new sky-lit stage area, and the fine food and drink menu for which it has always been known.
Thanks to the staff for your hospitality.
Some of my guests that they have welcomed include:
Level 1 ~ Donné Roberts singer-songwriter guitarist / David Strickland Hip Hop producer
Level 2 ~ Alan Davis Small World Festival curator / Amai Kuda Afro Soul artist
Level 3 ~ Tara Davidson & William Carn Jazz musicians / Sarah Hiltz singer-composer / Lori Cullen singer - songwriter
Level 4 ~ Tavo Diez De Bonilla bassist / Carlos Morgan Soul singer with Clifton Joseph Dub poet / Abigail Lapell singer-songwriter
Level 5 ~ Domanique Grant R&B singer-songwriter / Avery Raquel Alt-Jazz singer - songwriter / Ori Dagan Jazz singer-songwriter / Bruno Capinan Brazilian song stylist
*Click on picture to enlarge*illustration by Sakshi Jain