Last week I had a coffee meeting in Yorkville. Normally, a fairly routine happening...but this was my first in-person meeting with someone not directly related to me for, well, a long time. It was a pleasure to actually see the other person in the flesh - as opposed to on the screen - and have lag-free conversation. The weather cooperated and I enjoyed being out and about, and seeing others doing the same.
Josh Grossman's blog
I was going to tackle a more contentious topic today, diving into an issue which has already elicited lots of passionate discussion and strong opinions from across the music industry spectrum. And I will, at some point, write that blog post. But today doesn't feel like the day to add extra contention to the world. So instead I'm choosing to focus on some positives.
Back in March I had the honour of presenting a session on making a submission to a festival (and then preparing for a festival gig) as part of Music Africa's Artist Training Program. I enjoyed the experience, with an engaged audience and some good discussion, and I took the opportunity to update a presentation I call "Getting the Gig" - something I originally put together nearly ten years ago.
Have you spent much time checking out NPR's Tiny Desk concerts?
For a few hours last weekend, the sun was gloriously shining and our little family unit sat outside, enjoying an afternoon snack, interacting (from a distance) with our neighbours and things felt, in those moments, hopeful.
I tend to shy away from writing here in response to someone's passing. It's too fraught - why write about this person and not others? How can I possibly capture someone's life's work in a short blog post? - but word of Denny Christianson's passing has hit hard.
One of the more - what's the word, interesting? challenging? - aspects of online school over these past few weeks has been helping our 9-year-old edit her written and oral presentations. She has a tendency, which may sound familiar, to add words - or, when working on an art project, to add elements - just for the sake of making the work longer, or busier...but without actually enhancing the content.
And so, here we are. The end of 2020. My last blog post of the year. As I've heard others say, what a decade this year has been.
In my second year of the Jazz Performance Program at the University of Toronto, I had the good fortune to play co-lead trumpet in the 11 O'Clock Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Phil Nimmons. Our first gig of the year was in the Arbor Room at Hart House, and the first tune of the night was a Sammy Nestico arrangement of "Smack Dab in the Middle." Phil counted off the tune and I absolutely pasted the first note.
Exactly four bars early.
Usually at this time of year we'd be in the thick of planning the upcoming festival, making offers and even getting certain shows ready for sale. But until we have more clarity on several fronts, we're in a bit of a holding pattern. I'm doing the usual agent outreach, but the conversations are a bit, well, absurd: "So what's the plan for the Festival?" "Don't know. Got any artists looking to tour?" "Don't know." Repeat.