I Hear A Sym-Phony

I’m never sure how far these posts travel or who sees them, so I want to avoid any misunderstanding by clarifying a couple of things in advance. In the following, I poke fun mostly at symphony musicians and eventually the French, a little bit. This is all in the spirit of parody as in my last two posts, which took the piss out of my own, namely jazz bands. I have the utmost respect for symphonic musicians, in fact

Wilbur, Beware

As the heat-wave continues, and just to show that yesterday’s otomatopoeic big band was (unfortunately) no mere passing fancy, no random accident, here’s a progressive-bop unit from the late-40s.

The band is fronted by a wild singer named Frieda Bagg, who would later go on to influence Betty Carter. Because it’s a ten-piece outfit, she calls it Frieda Bagg and The Decadents. Here’s the personnel:

Trumpet – Bendt Valver (He’s Swedish of course and suffers from severe …

Staff Meeting


This old music joke was reprinted in an English jazz mag I subscribe to, I read it with my coffee this morning and I thought you all might get a laugh out of it.

It mostly works because ‘a fifth’ is an old-school jazz musician’s term for a 40-ouncer of booze. Eddie Condon, the guitarist and dispenser of trenchant jazz wit once said the following to explain the difference between modern jazz and his preferred brand of trad-jazz –

Burrowing Teeny-Bopper Ear-Worms


On Saturday night after an all-day visit, my wife Anna and I dropped our daughter-in-law Sarah and one-year old grandson Charlie off at their place in the west end. We were tired but in a great mood, they’re just so much fun to hang out with and Charlie has all kinds of new stuff going on. He’s walking now (kinda like Frankenstein sometimes) and has a lot of funny faces, some new laughs and games. He’s saying a few …

My Friend Flicker

I just had my first “Annual April Flicker Sighting” while at my smoking haunt on the grounds of Osgoode Hall.  For about two weeks every April the past five or six years, a flicker shows up here and hangs out on the far side of the lawn near the gardener’s ramp eating ants out of the ground – poke, poke, poke with his beak – then scurries back into the cover of the shrubs lest he be seen.  It’s …

Wherefore Art Thou, Global Warming?

So, what have we done to deserve this miserable dreck outside?  I mean, could God just FOAD with the snow and ice already?  Last night I watched the compressed replay of the Jays’ afternoon game in Detroit and you could see the player’s breath, the umpires and coaches were wearing mittens and toques for Chrissakes.

Are we trapped in some kind of Ingmar Bergman movie here?  Like maybe “The Seventh Snow”, “Frozen Wild Strawberries” or “The Virgin Ice-Spring”?  I …

Steve’s Tomato-Meat Sauce

Yes friends, I’m stooping to the vanity-project gesture of including a recipe here, but, what the hell, maybe something with a practical application for a change on this site is not such a bad thing.

This is basically a variation on a Bolognese sauce that I’ve been fooling around with for years and it turned out so well last night I decided to post it here.  It’s quick, easy and relatively cheap to make; the main difference from a

Viva Edmonton, Part Two – Bravo BiBO

As discussed in part one, Edmonton has a rich arts and culture scene, maybe surprising to some for a city of its middling size and northern isolation.  This is amply demonstrated by the versatile and classy Citadel Theatre and in Edmonton’s long-standing main jazz club, the “Yardbird Suite.”

As its Charlie Parker-inspired name signifies, the club is operated by people who know and love their jazz, namely the Edmonton Jazz Society.  Imagine that, a jazz club run collectively by …

Cavett Emptor

Last Friday, my wife and I were flicking around on the tube and came across a Dick Cavett – Mel Brooks “sit-down” show where they just talked and told stories, bouncing things off each other.  It had us on the floor and Cavett told a couple of really funny stories that surprised us with their risque-ness and ripe language, he was always so dry and suave on his old talk show, a gentleman.

One of them was about Talullah …