Hello mouthpiece readers!

Lots of cool new stuff to yack about. New talent, new CD, new gigs and a little bit o wassbeenhappen' Hope you enjoy!

Waterbabies and Jazz Electronica at Nîche
If you haven't been to Nîche yet come check it out. You'll need to make a reservation if you come Friday and Saturday. Thursdays are $5 for a double martini! Dave and Steve behind the bar. Jasmin, Jacinda, Laurie, Brad, Kyle and Jessica, make the best staff in Halifax! Nîche is also the hippest looking room in Halifax and has the best acoustics ... which says a lot.

Waterbabies is the quartet (@ Nîche Friday 5-9 Saturday 7-11) featuring piano player Gerry Carruthers, Larry Bjornsen on upright, and Tim Cohoon on drums. When Tim played with us for the first time the chemistry was immediate for ALL of us..... and the magic continues to this day. When Labi heard the band that first night, he recognized something magical was happening and said "this is what I want" and we went from a trio to a quartet. In adition to what I call the not so standard standards like Love For Sale, Better Than Anything, Just Squeeze Me, Someday My Prince Will Come, What's New, etc. we do some crowd favs like My Funny Valentine, Fever, AND some newer stuff that is just beautiful. Great songs like Cindy Lauper's Time After Time, Prince's Nothing Compares to You, Sting's Fragile, Miles' New Blues (a true 24 bar blues), and a bluesy funky rendition of Sheryl Crow's Every Day is a Winding Road.

Waterbabies: Larry, Gerry, MC and Tim   Photo: Chris Sweet

Also at Nîche
Chris Iannetti and myself have been playing my original music Thursday and late-night Friday. Music from Big Night Out and Lucid Blue as well as things from my new CD coming out soon. We originally started as a trio with some fantastic musicians but ended up streamlining to a duo. Labi suggested that what we needed was a female singer who could vamp on what we were doing. The search was on ... and after some auditions we found Farel Bliss Percussion/vocals. Bliss sets a new standard for cool and has a sound all her own. Come check her out!

Jazz Electronica: Chris, MC and Farel   Photo: Chris Sweet


BNO Band and Montreal

I was in Montreal for a gig for Nestlé with my Big Night Out Dance Band; nine pieces (a horn section and percussionist from Montreal). We kicked it the week before in Toronto and I was looking forward to Montreal. Also...the BNO band travelled to Jasper for a gig in July and we're heading back to Calgary in April for a one-nighter.
Halifax contigent of the BNO band in Jasper on the way home. Taken by John Roggensack from Edmonton who played FANTASTIC sax with us.

The BNO Band is an amazing dance band. The musicians play so well that the songs—standard dance band repetoire: Play that Funky Music, Hot Hot Hot, Beatles, Motown, James Brown, Brown Eyed Girl and the like—are always played differently and are totally in the moment. This creates amazing energy. Don't get me wrong, the songs sound like the record, but they are always fresh. We also have a ball with the audience and make it into an interactive party at all the gigs. People from the audience singing back-up with us, conga lines, horn players wailing on the dance floor (or sometimes on tables)...it's always a party! In addition to all the dance jobs we played last year, our 3rd New Years Eve at Casino Nova Scotia was a fantastic gig. The crowd were partying HARD and the band REALLY felt like bringing in the new year!

Last Montreal note: Just back from Franco's Barber Shop... straight razor shave and a haircut... old school... clean as clean can be.


Beat Niq's in Calgary

After the Jasper Gig, Chris Iannetti and I were able to fill in the weekend at Beat Niq's in Calgary. We were joined by Bob Fenske on percussion and played to two sold-out nights; I sold every CD I brought!

Photo by Chris Bell


Atlantic Jazz Festival

For this year's Atlantic Jazz Festival I got Roland Bourgeois and Matt Myer on trumpets with a killer rhythm section: Gerry Carruthers, Larry Bjornson, Tom Roach. Co-incidentally or not... the three of us all play Martin Committee trumpets. We wailed Confirmation (3 trumpets in unison...heaven) Walkin' and a ballad medley. Roland played Angel Eyes, I played My Funny Valentine, and Matt played You Don't Know What Love Is. We closed with Donna Lee. Those cats can play and we all dig and respect each others playing.

Photo by Chris Sweet


East Coast Music Extravaganza on 5 stages

For a twist on my East Coast Music Extravaganza show I used 5 stages at the Schooner Room at Casino Nova Scotia. Also... instead of the performers being backstage, everyone was in the audience which made the show very intimate. Sound Systems Plus with Dave Corkham in charge didn't miss a cue and created a sound and light spectacular! The bill included the Flaming Fiddles, Matt Minglewood, Bucky Adams and Joe Murphy, Hallelujah Praise Choir, The Torch Singers (Lisa Lindo, Kate Quinn, Tiyaila Cain Grant), Penny Spicer's Halifax Dance Collective, Sons of Maxwell, 20 pipers, MacPhearson's Lament Finale.

Hallelujah Praise Choir   Photo: Kevin Fraser

Halifax Dance and Mike Cowie   Photo: Kevin Fraser

Sleepy and The Flaming Fiddles   Photo: Kevin Fraser

Horns on the Floor!   Photo: Kevin Fraser

Minglewood in full flight and Tiyaila Cain Grant bringin' down the house!   Photos: Kevin Fraser

Looks like the crowd had a great time!   Photo: Kevin Fraser


When Swing Was The Thing!

I took the When Swing Was The Thing! to St. Andrews by the Sea and have some more private bookings for it this year. When Swing Was The Thing! re-creates the roar of the 1920s swing era with a jumping hot band of the very best Halifax swing musicians. Outfitted in classic suits, porkpie, boater, and fedorah hats, feet start tapping and smiles are everywhere as the band parades into the room to begin the show! There's a Duke Ellington finger snapping monologue that hilariously "teaches" the audience how to "fit in" at a jazz club and ends with the audience singing You Are My Sunshine. Virtuoso performances such as wah-wah trumpet solos, swinging clarinet, 4-part vocal harmonies, and a drum solo that ends up with the drums being moved into the audience—drummer still drumming—have audiences on their feet! Lisa Lindo, from CBC's Vinyl Cafe touring band, re-creates the roll of the torch singer with a beautifully sung, slow, emotional ballad. A dance team swings out with a show stopping routine based on the energetic dances of the day. The Charleston, Lindy Hop, and Jitterbug are all featured. The show ends with another sing along as the band parades out.

Mersey House
I also did a summer of Sundays in Liverpool at the Mersey House. Fantastic venue where musicians are treated like gold so you KNOW you're gonna play as good as you can. This lady with a fantastic voice got up and jammed on Mr. Happy and brought the house down!

Photos: Chris Sweet


Sue Mills

It was very cool that Photographer Sue Mills used us in her show... check out the company we keep...

Photo: Sue Mills


Marvin Gaye (what's going on)

I'm working on my new CD; post-production work on the tracks. Things are so busy, it's been hard to put in the concerted effort this job requires (I may have to start saying no to gigs until it's done). The new music combines a jazz electronica foundation with live playing/improvisations and, as it turned out, spoken word, half sung stuff. Here are a couple lyric examples:

Back In The Day lyrics —

Holding Court on a bar stool drinking gin remembering · Old times · Talkin' 'bout the street that 40's beat · she was still swinging · and looked the part · a veil on one of those hats you need a pin for · couldn't hold the fire in her eyes, when she tried, to tell us · what it was like to hear Bird play Max swing Ella sing · Everything she said had a picture a sound and a rhythm · man, talk about cool, sitting on a stool, she even lit up a cigarette · asked for a light · "y'all hep to those cats of mine blowin' all that when joints was · Hoppin'? · Back in the day, my day, that was something Daddy-O" · that sure was something daddy-o · now can someone buy a lady a drink?

She crossed her legs and put her head back said · "yeagh I remember when the shit was hot new out the gate · Hell Miles was a kid and cats try'n to catch up with him were too · late · everyday something new was going down · Bud Monk Diz were wailin' and sayin' · Damn it made a woman feel good to be around · You think I come wearin' these fine clothes smelling good with · no credentials? · Being clean as a broke dick dog is essential · Hell, watcha goin' do with all y'all watcha goin' do with all y'all? · 'taint whatcha do it's the way hatcha do it · She took a drag let the smoke out her nose and her mouth at the · same time took a drink cocked her head to think looked at all of · us one by one and said... · Now can someone buy a lady a drink?

Silver Bullett lyrics —
Jazz Cats Howling at the moon · Spotlight shoots from back of the room · illuminate a sound a tune · cutting through blue smoke · It was a french cigarette roll your own drum tobacco crowd · a haze of alcoholic splendor · Walkin ' The upright bass hit your chest, heart bumping · Jazz Cats, Jazz Cats

Heads spin when the workin' girls come in · sit in the back · get warm · a car horn · or a saxophone makin' time · on stage the poet dropped his rhymes · words and sound and rhythm never heard · before a crowd so young ideals are real · Jazz Cats, Jazz Cats

beat poet they called him as the drummer splang a lang splang a lang · boom boom boom boom · Hooker · Jazz Cats howling at the moon · street light · The poet onstage dropped a beat · stop on a dime then hit ..... · every stanza ended with Shit! · Profanity against humanity

Jazz Cat savin' the day · when the trumpet player took a chorus for us · No blues bar band on the stand playing that I got a day job jam · This was the real deal · College of the street · School of hard knocks · Jazz Cats, Jazz Cats

Was the night still young or had tomorrow broken? · No one cared · souls were bared · for no other reason then for · situations involving copulations · Jive thick as gravy on a Midtown steak · The soundtrack of life played in the background now · as the mood had already been established by 2 hard earned sets · Jazz Cats Jazz Cats

moving so slightly out of time · as to ask why but never how · looks are everything now · trips to the John under neon · punctuate conversations that ramble on

like curtains soon to be drawn · the last beats of night time · in a cymbal chime · the band played on · last call y'all · Jazz Cats, Jazz Cats

The girls are warm now and its time to go back to work · another night another dollar · In groups of 2 or more the crowd, reeling in new knowledge to be forgotten in the morning over espresso · drag their broke asses out the door · The staff cleans up and prepares for tomorrow · The repeat sign of life · The DS with no coda · Jazz Cats, Jazz Cats



I'm working out with super trainer Ron Fagan. Every Mon-Wed-Fri I start the day by walking across the bridge to Dartmouth so I hit the weight room at 8am. Ron, Joe MacDonald and I train for an hour with much banter. It's been a year-and-a-half and it is great to be in the best physical shape of my life! Sunday plyametrics class is a real burner as well!

Wine down
I'm also building a wine cellar: the first bottles come of age in 5-7 years. There are about 30-odd bottles there now. Usually take advantage of the sales at the NSLC. 2014 onward is going to be nice for drinking wine!

Martin Committee and GR mouthpiece
Finally landed a 1949 Large bore Martin Committee trumpet. Between 1941-1956 there was magic in the air and these trumpets came out of the factory with an unbelievably warm, dark, sexy tone. The GR mouthpiece company has developed a system that fits a mouthpiece to the player and having a GR piece has changed my life. The Nîche gig means playing 3-hour long sets Thursday, 5-hour long sets Friday and 3-hour long sets Saturday, plus all the practicing I do at home and other gigs, the GR piece makes this all possible! Tone, attack, range, flexibility are all where they should be so now I just have myself to blame if I can't get something happening.

Richard Simoneau


Rave – Symphony Nova Scotia Mahler's 1st. Fantastic! Principal Trumpet Richard Simoneau blew me away.

Rave – Lester Young and Duke Ellington Box sets. Ellington at Newport re-issue... the first time the actual concert has been released! Monk and Trane at Carnegie Hall. Joni Mitchell Don Juan's Reckless Daughter, Rickie Lee Jones Evening Of My Best Day.

Rave – Musicians I regularily play with - Chris Iannetti, Tim Cohoon, Larry Bjornson, Gerry Carruthers, Paul Keddy, Danny Sutherland, Bruce Dixon, Andrea Somers, Farel Bliss, Sleepy, Holly Arsenault, Garth Proude

RaveAndrea Somers gig at Gingers..... check her out!

Rave – Farel and Damian at French Quarter ...... GREAT event!

Rave – Rolling Stones came to Halifax.

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