RIP: Gato Barbieri, in New York City on April 2 of pneumonia, age 83. A jazz saxophonist/composer whose most popular work was the score for Last Tango In Paris, which earned him a Grammy Award in 1973. Born Leandro Barbieri in Rosario, Argentina, he earned the nickname Gato, which means “cat,” in the 1950s because of the way he scampered between club gigs in Buenos Aires with his saxophone. In 2015, he received a Latin Grammy lifetime achievement award for a career that covered “virtually the entire jazz landscape.” During his career he collaborated with such artists as Herb Alpert, Charlie Haden, Carla Bley, Ennio Morricone, and Santana.
RIP: Malcolm Tomlinson, aged 69, on April 2. Details of death not known as of press time. A vocalist/songwriter/drummer long prominent on the Toronto scene. Tomlinson began his musical career in his native England in such bands as The Panthers, The Motivation, Gethsemane and The Penny Peeps, playing support slots for the likes of Jethro Tull, Fleetwood Mac and Cream. After moving to Toronto in 1969, he played with Milkwood, Syrinx and Rhinoceros, and joined Rick James’ Stone City Band in 1973. He recorded with Bearfoot, then formed The Malcolm Tomlinson Band, who released albums in 1977 and 1979 (Coming Outta Nowhere and Rock ‘N Roll Hermit respectively) on A&M Records (he was signed by Michael Godin). In the ‘80s he was a member of local favourites The Cameo Blues Band, as well as gigging regularly with his own band.
All About the Juno Awards
The 2016 annual and 45th edition last night at Calgary's Saddledome was a mixed bag of highlights and missed opportunities. The production, acknowledging a couple of technical feed gaffes, and set were terrific and there's no arguing the fact that Burton Cummings' enthusiasm and nervous energy at the end added authenticity, as did his single song performance of "My Own Way To Rock" that was simply the best performance of the night.
We could have done without the lead-in musical tribute and the picture montage was thin to say the least, but when the man took to the stage he took over and put some sorely needed rock 'n' roll into a show that overall was to be lauded for avoiding lip syncing and going live. And without any noticeable flubs that I noticed.
Other highlight performances included Scott Helman, Dear Rouge, Shawn Hook, and Dean Brody; but there were fumbles. Alessia Cara was fantastic, but perhaps was not the right choice as the show's opener. And some big artists fell short of leaving big impressions in the telecast, including The Weeknd who performed “Acquaintance” and “Might Not” (the latter with help from rapper Belly). It wasn't as if the performance lacked; it just wasn't a knock-out and he's done some knockout performances on British and American TV in recent months. Whitehorse was technically proficient, and came across as genuine, but the song just wasn't riveting--at least not on the TV broadcast, and Bryan Adams' "Go Down Rockin'" from the new album just maybe wasn't familiar enough to wind the audience up to the edge of their seats as his performances routinely do round the world.
What was a knockout was the announcement that TD Bank has donated $1M to the MusiCounts TD Community Music Program to provide musical instruments and equipment to youth in underserved communities across Canada. That's a big number, and the bank deserves praise for stepping up to the table to support this endeavour. Rapper and UMC executive Kardinal Offishall made the first present in the 2016 Program with a $20,000 in musical equipment donation to Calgary's The Freed Artists Society. In addition to being a Premier Partner of the 2016 Juno Awards and the Presenting Sponsor of the 2016 Fan Choice Award, TD has been a significant supporter of music since 2003. We hope it stays that way.