Music News Digest, Aug. 25, 2017

TIFF has announced that Festival Street will return to King West in front of the festival's Bell Lightbox headquarter, as it becomes a pedestrian promenade from Sept. 7-10 with free screenings and music. The Slaight Music Stage returns with various performers that include  Kayla Diamond. As part of Canada on Screen, TIFF will also screen music videos selected to be a part of its list of 150 essential moving-Image works from Canada’s cinematic history.

— In February, music industry veteran and founder/ President of Toronto-based Bumstead Productions, Larry Wanagas announced he would be retiring this month. That date is has arrived, and an excellent send-off was held at Bumstead HQ last evening (Thursday). The well-attended and convivial soiree saw Wanagas toasted by The Trews, one of his most prominent management clients. Wanagas hinted that his plans may include a general store in cottage country, with fishing and also golfing on the agenda.

Industry comrades spied there included Ralph James, Kim Cooke, Pegi Cecconi, Jake Gold, Peter Cardinali, Samantha Pickard, scribe Kim Hughes, Ivar Hamilton, David 'Click' Cox, former Bumstead staffer Tim Des Islets, Erin Kinghorn, Richard Flohil, Emma Barnett, Stuart Johnston and manager turned celebrity chef Bob Blumer.

Since inception in 1979, Bumstead has represented artists that have included Big Sugar, Colin James, k.d.lang, Staggered Crossing, Susan Aglukark, The Blue Shadows, The Lazys, The Trews, Tim Chaisson, and Yukon Blonde.

— An increasing number of '90s albums by Canadian acts are now being reissued on vinyl, some for the first time. On the list is Kangaroo, the acclaimed 1996 album from Halifax power-pop band Cool Blue Halo. It will be released on vinyl, CD and digitally on Toronto-based label DWRecordings, headed by Dan Winkley. DWR previously released Michelle McAdorey’s Polaris Prize long-listed solo album, Into Her Future.

  Manitoba Music’s Indigenous Music Development Program is leading a small trade mission to southern California in November. The project will provide up to seven First Nation, Metis, and Inuit artists and music entrepreneurs from across Canada with a chance to connect with Native American leaders, entertainment directors for Native American owned casinos, recording artists, and media during a five-day mission to the region southwest of Los Angeles.

The mission will run Nov. 6–10. Submissions can be made here up to Sept. 7.

 — Canadian songwriter Tebey is wearing a seriously big smile this week. "Somebody Else Will," a song he co-wrote with Kelly Archer and Adam Hambrick and was recorded by Justin Moore, has just reached the No. 1 spot on two different US country music charts, Mediabase and Billboard.

In a FB post, Tebey noted " I'm just a Canadian kid from a small town in Ontario who followed a dream to Nashville and somehow wound up here. Chase your dreams and follow your heart, cause if you don't 'Somebody Else Will." Now Nashville-based, he has a publishing deal with BMG Nashville.

Tebey (full name Tebey Solomon Ottoh) is also a recording artist, with two albums under his cowboy belt. His 2014 country cover of Avicii's "Wake Me Up" is certified Canadian gold.

 — With fall looming on the horizon, look for new classical music seasons to begin soon. Toronto's Mooredale Concerts has announced that its new season will commence on Sept. 24, with an afternoon performance at Walter Hall at U of T. It will feature seven members of the TSO Chamber Soloists performing a mix of Strauss and Beethoven and the promise of less familiar repertoire. Joined by TSO Concertmaster Jonathan Crow, this will be Mooredale's 29th season, so they're doing something right.

— Drake has been adding to the list of celebs who'll be on display at The Toronto International Film Festival this year. He has a legit reason for attendance as he, along with LeBron James and two others, is credited as executive producer on a TIFF-bound documentary film, The Carter Effect.

Directed by Sean Menard, it is described as an in-depth look at the vast influence and evolution of Canadian basketball and pop culture thanks to the arrival of hoops star Vince Carter in Toronto. TIFF runs Sept. 7-17.


Joso Spralja, a folk musician turned well-known Toronto restaurateur, passed away on Aug. 8 in Zadar, Croatia, at age 88. Croatian-born, he emigrated to Canada in 1961. With Israeli singer Malka Himel he formed the folk duo Malka and Joso. Between 1963 and 1967, they released three albums on Capitol, hosted a CBC-TV music show, and performed multiple times on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. He ran a coffee house in Yorkville in its hippie heyday, then ran his seafood restaurant, Joso's, for 40 years. A draw for celebrities, it featured his distinctive artwork of voluptuous nudes. After the duo parted ways, Himel worked at CBC Radio. Her four-part documentary, A Bite of the Big Apple, won an  ACTRA Award in 1977.  She also interviewed Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen for the CBC and wrote a novel (as Malka Marom). Sources: Toronto Star, Canadian Encyclopedia.

Kenny Colman, the Vancouver jazz singer, has passed away at the age of 85. He got his break as a singer in the US in the early '60s, and had Frank Sinatra as a major fan of his work. David Foster once stated, "the whole world should know this talent." Colman was a fixture on the international club circuit, and his recordings include the critically acclaimed Dreamscape, recorded with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. That album was later released by Justin Time, along with Straight Ahead. He continued performing right up to this year. Toronto filmmaker Roger Larry has been working on a documentary, Cool Daddy¸ that explores the relationship of Colman and his son Chase.

John Laird Abercrombie, an American jazz guitarist, composer and bandleader, died on Aug. 22, of heart failure, at age 72. He recorded his debut album, Timeless with Manfred Eicher's ECM label in 1974, and recorded principally with that label since. In 1975, Abercrombie formed the band Gateway with Jack DeJohnette and bassist Dave Holland. He also played with Billy Cobham, Ralph Towner, Charles Lloyd, Michael and Randy Brecker and Canadian Kenny Wheeler. A versatile and understated stylist, he worked in jazz fusion, post bop, free jazz and avant-garde jazz idioms.


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