Jazz@ThePat - A Flugelhorn & Painting With Drums
Sunday, December 09, 2018
|Brad Turner - Jazz@ThePat , December 9 2018|
Jack Stafford - saxophone
Oliver Gannon - guitar
Al Wold - piano
André Lachance - bass
Craig Scott - drums
Jerry Boey - trumpet
Wendy Biscuit - guest vocalist
Brad Turner 5tet
Brad Turner - trumpet
Jon Bentley - saxophone
Bruno Hubert - piano
André Lachance - bass
Dylan Van der Schyff – drums
By 1962/63 I was going with friends to the CIA-front
Benjamin Franklin Library in Mexico City on Mondays to listen to jazz records played
by a DJ called Jerry Hulse who had red hair and looked a lot like Gerry
Mulligan. The hour long sessions included free Nescafe.
On November 5, 2018 my retired journalist friend Maurice
Bridge picked me up and dragged me to a hotel on East Hastings called The
Patricia Hotel. Its bar is home to Roderick MacDonald’s Jazz at the Pat.
The concept of this is that since the hours of the
sessions (no cover charge and there is not only fine booze but great food) is
from 3 to 7 the hours are daylight safe for we the oldies who might not want to
venture into the “unknown”. The schedule also means that the performers can all
get more gigs (as my friend saxophonist Gavin Walker
likes to say) in the
The November 5 afternoon session included the surprise apparition
(presence!) of recluse pianist Al Wold and the electric performance on electric
guitar of Oliver Gagnon. The others I did not know but I was soon comfortable
and having fun listening to music that reminded me of the be-bop era of the
Because of the arrangement of the stage (in some areas
there are posts that obstruct the view) and the fact that only one person works
behind the bar it is my recommendation that you arrive before 3, get a table
and buy your drinks (the lines get long).
But I must digress here to a day some years ago when I
went to the Cultch for a send-off to Owen Underhill (now the artistic director
of the Turning Point Ensemble
) who was leaving another job which might have
been his connection with new music. The highlight of the afternoon was a duo
with Vern Griffiths on percussion and trumpet player Brad Turner. The latter
was wearing a hat that hid his face. Most of the wonderful performance involved
Turner never really playing anything with this instrument but making noises
with the keys and blowing.
There seems to be a problem with my memory. Vern
Griffiths tells me that if he had played with Brad Turner he would have
remembered. Turner on Saturday told me that he has played so many concerts and
venues that he has no recollection.
But there is another concert featuring Brad Turner’s
Seven Scenes from a Childhood performed by the Turning Point Ensemble that I
attended. When the piece was about to begin a short young man entered the room
and sat in the middle of an orchestra with a miniature drum kit. This was Brad
Turner. This memory of mine Turner did not deny!
So when I received an email from MacDonald announcing a
Saturday Jazz@The Pat, I had to go. And I did.
I was lucky enough to sit with MacDonald, jazz drummer
and retired journalist (the Vancouver Sun
) Mark Andrews and euphonium (and
other instruments) playing Sharman King
Hovering around the room with his trademark beret was
Andreas Nothiger (who ran a successful operation for many years at the
Classical Joint in the late 70s and 80s). It is my belief that this saintly
looking man may have made some sort of pact with the Angel of Darkness as he
looks exactly the same as he did in 1980.
The two hour-long sets that I witnessed dragged me back
to my youth and I had a hard time putting into my head the idea that I had
heard music like this so long ago. But this was not exactly the case as Brad
Turner played only tunes of his quartet in the first set (and then joined by
tenor saxophonist Jon Bentley) and in the second set the pieces were so new
that they were either unnamed or had multiple provisional names.
Perhaps Mark Andrews was there because drummer Dylan Van
der Schyff, who was described by the men (plenty of women in other tables) at
my table as a painter, was playing. If any drummer could ever be labeled and
defined as subtle and discreet he is one of very few.
Pianist Bruno Hubert played with a style full of humour that
I could not pin down. And consider that as far as jazz pianists are concerned
two of my faves (who cannot be pinned down either) is the long departed Richard
Twardzic and Pacific Baroque Orchestra Musical Director and harpsichordist Alexander
Weimann (plays a mean jazz piano). Huber never played loudly but had a delicate
touch which could shine ever so nicely when he accompanied bassist André
I have no idea if any of these fine solos were planned by
Brad Turner. The fact is that they were seamless thanks to Bruno Hubert.
The saxophonist, Jon Bentley blended nicely in duos with
Turner that reminded me a lot of Gerry Mulligan with his piano less quartets
that put the trumpet always on the spot.
As for Brad Turner he had a lovely flugelhorn on a stand
by the floor. And he played it a lot. At this stage of my life I found it hard
to discern the difference but that difference did happen when Turner played a
few quite numbers.
My fave song of the evening was Junior Pants, a joke related
to oldies like me who remember pianist Junior Mance.
The afternoon was a pleasant one for me. I spotted other
friends in the crowd. The room is spotless and the hotel looks like, soon now,
(who knows!) it might become another boutique hotel like some dives of my ecdysiast-watching past
like the Niagara, the St. Regis, the Dufferin and the Austin.
Meanwhile I cannot think of a better thing do to do (and
feel no guilt) like spending time on a Saturday at Jazz@The Pat.
Winter would stay its stress?
Tuesday, December 04, 2018
|Chrysanthemum x grandiflorum 'Pelee', December 4 2018|
All the flowers and plants I have scanned from my garden all
these years I have proudly considered that they were indeed from my garden. I
sometimes state that my roses, especially, communicate with me to inform me
that the critical moment has arrived for me to go after them with secateurs and
to scan them.
But here you see an exception. My Rosemary at this time of
the year manages to find reasons to go to garden centres. This we did. I was
struck by this Chrysanthemum x
grandiflorum 'Pelee' when I saw it and I told Rosemary, “We must buy it so
that I can scan it.”
It was not expensive at $12. It is definitely (at this time
of the year) an indoor plant. Some who read this might know that the
chrysanthemum is the symbol of Japan and that its inhabitants call their
kingdom (which it is) the Chrysanthemum Throne.
In these dark days of early December it is somewhat
pleasing to see all this white in this lovely flower.
The Last Chrysanthemum – Thomas Hardy
Why should this flower delay so long
To show its
Now is the time of plaintive robin-song,
When flowers are
in their tombs.
Through the slow summer, when the sun
Called to each
frond and whorl
That all he could for flowers was being done,
Why did it not
It must have felt that fervid call
Although it took
Waking but now, when leaves like corpses fall,
And saps all
Too late its beauty, lonely thing,
The season's shine is spent,
Nothing remains for it but shivering
Had it a reason for delay,
That for a bloom so delicately gay
stay its stress?
- I talk as if the thing were born
With sense to
work its mind;
Yet it is but one mask of many worn
By the Great
Because We Can Revisited
Monday, December 03, 2018
When I posted this blog
with the accompanying photograph I
immediately had the impression that there was something untoward about it all.
My friend illustrator/designer/artist confirmed it when I broached the subject.
It was the showing of the monitor screen with all the Messenger bits (icons) at
the bottom and my face on the right with camera at eye-level that made it all
seem “dirty”. The voyeur element pehaps? I have no idea if the term “dirty pictures
” is still in use.
Today as I write this my photography friends are in an uproar because of this:
Some of my friends (younger than I am) are taking lovely
photographs of pristinely shaped women in a beach surrounded by sand and
driftwood. These are taken in black and white. As soon as bits like nipples
show up these photographers are banned by the social media in question for a
For me the exercise in protesting this kind of censorship is
both fruitless and irrelevant. I have known for years that somehow a painting
or a sculpture of a nude figure (within some limits) is never censored. For
years nobody could see in any book Balthus’s famous/infamous 1934 The Guitar
Lesson. The advent of the World Wide Webb ended that. If anybody has knowledge
of that painting they will be able to find it.
Another factor in this century is the ubiquity of
photographers and their photographs. When I took photographs of workers in
lumber mills for annual reports it was always my obligation to get their
permission via the now obsolete (is it?) photo release. I would understand why
some of the lovely women in non-sexual photographs might object to their
pictures appearing here or there particularly if they have secured good jobs as
teachers or politicians.
Another factor is that in the last century when people took
photographs nobody really saw them. I had a friend in that century whose wife
worked at a photo lab. The workers of the lab (inappropriately, that word so
much in vogue in our politically correct times) had a thick album with nude
photographs that they got from the processed film. It seems that all Canadian
men take at least one nude photograph in their life. This is a picture that
begins with, “Honey why don’t we put you in the tub and photograph you showing
our little baby in your stomach who is about to be born soon?” All these men
somehow had reached to a conclusion that they thought was unique!
I was able to see that album and all I could do was smile.
Most were badly taken snapshots that had charm in spades.
Any of those photographs if they were to be posted in social
media now would be censored.
I believe that no algorithm in these social media entities
would block my image. And yet I think that the photograph as opposed to those charming
baby about to be born pictures is far more explicit.
I do not post photographs in social media or in my blog
that show those bits that those algorithms are so keen on eliminating. My
photographs that do show those bits can only be seen in the light of day at a
gallery (not a chance in Vancouver!) or if I show them to friends.
A Survived November
Sunday, December 02, 2018
|Rosa 'Benjamin Britten' Dec 2 2018|
Logically to me November in Vancouver would be the ideal
time to contemplate and execute suicide. The days get suddenly darker. It
rains. It is cold and in the few days of sunlight there is no warmth.
Today is December 2 and the sun is at least shining. I
told my Rosemary that somehow we have survived another Vancouver November.
Even though Christmas without children (our youngest
granddaughter is 16) loses the excitement of presents being torn on Christmas
Eve, there are those bright lights and the sheer pleasure of thinking of and
buying presents for the family and friends.
But there are also the dark thoughts of the palpable presence
of those of the family and friends who are no longer around.
We are still in complete delight at staring at our brother
and sister cats (a happy orange and a clean white coat) Niño and Niña. They lie
on our bed acurricados a nice word in
Spanish that almost means to spoon. They are clean, well-behaved and most
affectionate. They have almost made us forget the terrible two weeks of a leak
in our kitchen that was finally fixed by a plumber who in a Sherlockian way
found the leak without tearing up the kitchen all that much.
A trip to Bellingham which featured staring at boxes of Kellogg’s
Spice-Pumpkin Frosted Flakes made it seem like in the USA their rainbow comes
in millions of colour, an over-choice that made me dizzy. I managed to leave
Fred Myers with only a sturdy Made in USA windshield scraper. Bellis Fair Mall
was empty and surely it cannot stay open. It would seem that is is an Amazon
While crossing the deck from the living room to my oficina I
spotted the single unompened bloom of the English Rose, Rosa ‘Benjamin Britten’.
Unlike me it does not know that it had no chance of opening. But it soldiered
Perhaps there is a lesson there for me. I should stare at
myself in the mirror and attempt to smile.
Because We Can
Saturday, December 01, 2018
memoria es individual.
|Nina - Dec 1 2018 - Fuji X-E3|
parte, de nuestra memoria.
memoria está hecha,
parte, de olvido”.
Borges (1979), El tiempo
Memory is individual.
We are made,
In great part , of our memory.
This memory is made,
In great part, of oblivion.
Memory is something that is always in my mind perhaps
because like my writer hero Jorge Luís Borges I am constantly shifting into my
past or roused into the present by a jarring memory that through association I
connect to the now.
The photo you see here represents that association.
My career as a magazine photographer in Vancouver which
began around 1977 is one that depended on always being ahead of the pack. It
helped that a couple of art directors, Rick Staehling and Chris Dahl (both at
and other magazines) pushed me to try the different. They
refused (and I am glad of it) to pigeonhole me into this or that. In fact
Staehling, an expert on film and film history used a process he called
. He assigned me to cover a SOCRED convention because I had never
done such a thing. I knew nothing of sport photography but Dahl assigned me to
follow and photograph a local, female rugby team.
While I was a bit late into the digital camera era I was early
with using email and finding stuff in Altavista. I believe that through my
digital guru Tim Bray I may have been one of the few in 2006 when I started my
blog to know what an RSS feed was and its usefulness at the time.
There is an off-colour statement that I will not repeat here
in its entirety that states that a dog can …. because it can.
It was around 2001 that this fact came to my attention in a
brutal way. I wanted to participate in an erotic show and I needed a woman to
pose with roses from my garden. I called a friend who ran an agency and also a
business I was completely ignorant of. He was to find me my subject.
I went to an old building in East Vancouver
that was beautifully remodelled inside with stainless steel. I was escorted to
a large room. There was a sign that said, “If you are going to use oil, when you
finish with the towels place them here." The business in question had lovely
women in different rooms that self-videoed while chatting with customers on
line who paid lots for the privilege of talking to a real and undraped female.
In another room full of computers and monitors there was a young man who was in
charge of “flaming” any customer who exceeded the basic rules of how to talk to
I brought different roses from my garden and my subject (her
name was a very rosy Victoria Lace) posed with each rose hiding what was
behind. The resulting photographs were lovely and few understood the location
or what was behind each spectacular rose.
This business of my friend happened simply because the technology
of the time permitted it. My friend was also involved on on-line offshore
About 7 years ago I was taking photographs of a woman who
was posing in front of a mirror. My image was on the mirror, too. But what made
the resulting image different was that she had a small digital point and shot
in her hands and my photograph showed her image on the back display. So this
was a double self-portrait or perhaps a triple. It was made possible simply
because of the technology that her camera provided even though I photographed
the setup with my film camera.
This brings me to the photo
illustrating this blog. Nina was one of the best of the patient models
that posed form me and also for my Argentine friends Nora Patrich and Juan
Manuel Sánchez in the beginning of this century. After three years of very
special collaboration Nine skipped town and moved to a little village in Spain.
A reversal of fortune
I pay in satin cash
Recently she contacted me to tell me that she was bored and
isolated. I informed her that was practically my case. She asked if there was
some way that we could continue with our photography sessions. Her idea was
obvious once you discounted that there was no way that the vast geographical
distance could possibly result in a face to face shoot in a studio. An added
incentive (for me!) is that Nina is now 51. Her body has changed as has her
approach to life. She is now a very good yoga teacher which makes her even more
flexible than she ever was.
In Argentina the arts that involve painting, sculpture and architecture are called “artes
plásticos”. Plastic here means flexible and moveable. Juan Manuel Sánchez had
the highest compliment for Nina. He would say that she was “muy plástica.”
We could only do what could be done. And technology today
has come through. What you see here is a preliminary step. Nina is a fine
photographer in her own right. She has a little studio in her house with hot
In my preliminary shots I have used either my iPhone3G or my
Fuji X-E3 and Nina and I are connected via Facebook Messenger. On my end I have
a cathode ray tube monitor with a separated video camera that sits on top of it
and Nina has a very good cell phone. With her phone she is able to pose for me
either vertically or horizontally.
While some may see it the scan lines on the iPhone3G as a
flaw I like them. But I am able to avoid them with my digital camera by using a
shutter speed of 1/30 or 1/15 of a second so that my Fuji will not “read” the
scan lines on the monitor (also not noticed but there on TV screens).
In future sessions Nina might pose by a window or use her
lights. I will be able to give her instructions. But the nature of the
geographic separation will mean that the results will truly be a collaboration.
I believe that our mutual boredom and isolation will disappear
like the image on a badly fixed photographic print of the past century.
|Nina, Dec 1 2018 - iPhone3G|