National Jazz Awards


Attended The National Jazz Awards last night with The Clayton/Scott Group. While their nomination for Best Electric Group did not result in a win, you have to approve of the choice of Joey DeFranchesco and Jake Langley, fine musicians indeed.

Besides, after talking home The Canadian Urban Music Award for Best Jazz Recording and Group of the Year at the Canadian Smooth Jazz Awards, it's about time that The Clayton/Scott Group spread the wealth around a little bit!

The show, I'm sorry to report, was uneven at best. Someone needs to hire a professional producer to get in there and organize this event. The venue (the Phoenix Concert Theatre) was a bizarre choice. The sound was bad and the sightlines almost all obstructed - some by the helium balloons that sat on every table, making the event feel like a Mardi Gras themed high school prom. The hosts, Joe Sealy (who is very charming) and Heather Bambrick (who could have a comedy career if she gave up jazz singing) were unable to entertain the crowd with any kind of banter or "personality", saddled as they were with the task of reading the looooong bios prepared to introduce every presenter and performer. Hello! This is a relatively small genre in CANADIAN showbiz. Everyone in that room knew who everyone else was!

The lowlight of the evening:

Lido Chilelli, Executive Director and Producer of the Beaches Jazz Festival mispronouncing Mark Eisenmann's name. Mark Essman? Who the hell is Mark Essman? Suddenly I understand why I have NEVER heard any jazz music at the Beaches Festival. Sigh.

The highlights of the evening:

Wonderful performances by Oliver Jones and Ranee Lee, Jane Bunnett and P.J. Perry.

Girlie observation:

Jane Bunnett had the cutest outfit and can really pull off pig tails. Not too many people who have the Order of Canada can say that!

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