Archive for June, 2010

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An ending and a beginning

June 2, 2010

This time it really is the end. I’m sure of it.

I’m talking about my career as a music journalist. Just over a year ago, I wrote about my watershed moment of not writing about our jazz festival for a newspaper for the first time in years. That turned out to be a false alarm. Writing that blog post, and flagging it in Facebook, circuitously led to a gig reviewing the festival for the Globe and Mail. But that was then. I haven’t received any emails or phone calls asking if I could review this year’s festival for a publication, and I’m not expecting any. It’s just as well – it took about eight months for me to get paid for that jazz fest piece. It was great to be published in Canada’s national newspaper, but not worth the stress.

I do, however, have something exciting to look forward to at this year’s jazz fest: Miles got accepted into the High School Jazz Intensive big band that will perform at the festival. The band consists of 20 high school students from grades 10 to 12 in the Lower Mainland. They all had to submit an audition CD to be accepted into the band, so I guess Miles’ disc featuring his performances on Herbie Hancock’s “Chameleon” and Miles Davis’ “Freddie Freeloader” did the trick. There’s only room for two drummers, so kudos to Miles for working hard to bring his playing to the high level that this band will demand.

What’s the reward? The young musicians will rehearse under the direction of Nicole Mitchell, a wonderfully creative and inspiring flautist, composer and bandleader from Chicago. They’ll get free tickets to festival concerts and attend workshops. Finally, they’ll perform July 4 at the Roundhouse Community Centre’s Festival Hall in a free concert. Two years ago I took Miles to the concert of that year’s HSJ, and I was hugely impressed with the music.

So the upcoming jazz festival represents both an ending for me and a beginning for Miles. I’ll gladly take that ending so I can fully focus on Miles’ own watershed moment in music.

Miles (check out his Justin Bieber hairdo) with the great jazz drummer Jimmy Cobb at the Iridium in NYC:

Jimmy & Miles