Dobbin's Den

September 2005


The city is in a celebratory mood. Joel Giberovitch marked the tenth anniversary of his ownership of Upstairs Jazz Bar & Grill big time with five nights of music and jam sessions galore. It all began with two emotion- drenched sets by my favourite living jazz singer, Sheila Jordan, backed by the trio of John Roney, Frederic Alarie and Jim Doxas – Sheila, who celebrates her 77th birthday on November 18, also found time to do a pair of vocal workshops while here. Others featured were Coral Egan, Michel Donato, James Gelfand, Ranee Lee, Richard Ring, Oliver Jones, Charles Ellison, Kevin Dean, Yannick Rieu and in excess of 100 musicians showed up to jam over the five days. The Upstairs name has been part of the Montreal jazz scene since about 1981 when its original owner, Chris Gore, opened its doors on Bishop Street. In October, more celebrations: George Durst marks the 25th anniversary of his club on Alymer Street. House of Jazz, formerly Biddles, will be marking that occasion with some special events. See more on their web site.


House of Jazz was the site of the launching of Oliver Jones' long awaited biography. Written by Marthe Sansregret, it's currently available in a French edition. They are searching for an English publisher at the moment. Oliver has also announced that he is reversing his decision to retire and his trio will close Daniel Vachon's 15th anniversary "Octoberfest" at Maison de la Culture Frontenac on October 22nd. Just in time for the 10th anniversary celebrations, a brand Yamaha, series 'C' piano was installed at Upstairs and beginning on October 3, their will be a new start time at this club--the first set is scheduled for 8:30 or 20:30 beginning on that date.

Both the Dizzy Gillespie--Charlie Parker 1945 Town Hall Concert [Uptown] and the 1957 Thelonious Monk--John Coltrane Carnegie Hall Concert [Blue Note] CDs mentioned in the last column are now in release and should be in every serious jazz fans collection. These two magnificent discoveries are already on my 2005 top ten list along with Sheila Jordan's "Celebration" [High Note] recorded at her 76th birthday celebrations last November and Hamilton-based singer Diana Panton's "Remember Perhaps" with Reg Schwager and Don Thompson providing just right backing. Diana is one of "Sheila's Girls" and I had the pleasure of providing the liner notes for this one. My apologies for misspelling Larry Appelbaum's name as well--he's the man who unearthed the Monk material at the Library of Congress.

With three quarters of 2005 gone by, I already have five of my top 10 list in place--add to the aforementioned four CDs, Sonny Rollins' "Without A Song."


We've lost a great number of bassists this year, Percy Heath, NHOP, Jimmy Woode, Jack Lesberg, Pierre Michelot, Keter Betts and Al McKibbon, as well as Canadian born composer, arranger Robert Farnon, trumpeters Benny Bailey, Bill Coleman and Chris Griffin, altoman Arnie Lawrence, drummers Stan Levey and Gary Frommer, record producer Eddie Barclay, vocalist, songwriter Oscar Brown Jr., singer Monica Zetterlund, guitarists Billy Bauer and Don Arnone, tenormen John Stubblefield, Steve Marcus and Billy Robinson, arrangers Francy Boland, Spud Murphy and Tom Talbert, trombonists Albert Mangelsdorff and Dave Robbins, vocalist Irene Wilson, pianist Reg Wilson, jazz photographer Paul Hoeffler and jazz giant, Lucky Thompson.


October at Upstairs Jazz Bar & Grill begins with night two of Rosemary Galloway's Quartet featuring Stacy Rowles (Jimmy's daughter), James Gelfand and Terry Clarke. It promises to be a most musical month with appearances from the likes of Karl Jannuska, Joel Miller, Jan Jarczyk, Jeri Brown, Bill Mahar, John Roney, Mike Webster with Kevin Turcotte and Daniel Barnes, Pierre Francois featuring Remi Bolduc and the duo series featuring Michel Donato on Wednesdays and Thursdays. In November look for duo appearances by Jarczyk as well as Charles Ellison, Dorothee Berryman, Kevin Dean, Janis Steprans, Daniel Lessard, Josh Rager and Steve Amirault. The 15th edition of Daniel Vachon's Jazz "Octoberfest" takes place at Maison de la Culture Frontenac from October 15th through the 22nd and among those appearing besides Oliver Jones trio are bassists John Patitucci, Michel Donato, Eric Lagace and Frederic Alarie, the Susie Arioli Swing Band, the amazing Harry Manx and Brian Hughes. The Montreal International Jazz Festival's "Jazz All Year 'Round" series will include Sage Reynolds opening for John Scofield at the Spectrum (October 13), Francois Richard at Gesu (14th), a great blues double bill of Michael Jerome Brown and Kelly Joe Phelps at Theatre Outremont (21st) and a Wynton Marsalis combo at SWP of Place des Arts (22nd).


1] Skip Beckwith 2] Kirk MacDonald 7] Jan Jarczyk 8] Jon Ballantyne 10] Hilario Duran and Alex Dean 12] Trudy Desmond 13] Jack Fallon 15] Normand Guilbeault 22] Jane Bunnett 23] Claude Blouin and John Warren 24] Richard Ferland and (drummer) Michel Lambert 25] Al Cowans 26] Ranee Lee and Hugh Fraser 27] Gordon Delamont and Ron Park 31] Andrew Homzy, Daniel Vachon and Colin Bray.

© Len Dobbin 2005
Montreal, Quebec, Canada