Music News Digest, Sept. 20, 2021

Toronto indie rock veterans Lowest Of The Low are playing five hometown shows, Dec. 14-18. The first three shows are at Lee's Palace, celebrating the venue's 35th birthday and the 30th anniversary of LOTL's hit debut album Shakespeare My Butt. Tix here. The Dec. 17 and 18 shows are at the Horseshoe Tavern, celebrating that club's 74th birthday. Tix here. The band will be releasing its double live album, Taverns and Palaces, recorded in Dec. 2019 at both clubs.

– The Reeperbahn Festival in Germany runs Sept. 22-25 as a hybrid conference and fest. In partnership with BreakOut West and the Canadian Embassy in Germany, CIMA is presenting a Mini Canada House event on Sept. 24. Artists showcasing are St. Arnaud, Miesha & the Spanks, Slow Down Molasses, and Kimmortal..

– A new Feist production, Multitudes, had its world premiere in Hamburg on Aug. 4 and will run Oct. 20-30  Backstage @ Meridian Hall in Toronto. It will feature new  Feist songs performed in an intimate setting, with the singer/guitarist accompanied by Todd Dahlhoff and Amir Yaghmai. The show is a co-production of TO Live and International Summer Festival Kampnagel in association with the National Arts Centre’s National Creation Fund. Tickets here.

– Much-heralded Toronto singer/songwriter Marc Jordan is understandably thrilled that one of his compositions, Tears Of Hercules (written with Stephan Moccio), has been chosen as the title track of Rod Stewart's upcoming album. Stewart's version of Jordan's Rhythm Of My Heart was a sizeable international hit in 1991

– Top Alberta country star Paul Brandt has found himself at odds with his province’s medical community on the subject of vaccinations. On Friday night, Brandt posted on wrote on social media Friday night that he was told by "an Alberta doctor" because he was infected with Covid-19 earlier in the pandemic, there was "no medical need" for him to get the jab. However, other Alberta doctors were quick to respond to Brandt's comments, condemning them as "spreading misinformation" and "totally wrong." Source: CTV Calgary

– Toronto alt-pop rocker Jay Feelbender (Goodbye Honolulu, Luna Li) is preparing a solo album. Here's the video for a new track, Cheap Whisky, helmed by top director Warren P. Sonoda.

– Presented by The Upper Canada Choristers, Latin ensemble Cantemos and conductor Laurie Evan Fraser, To Sit and Dream is a concert event set to take place in-person and online on Oct. 1 at At Grace Church on-the-Hill, 300 Lonsdale Road, Toronto. In-person tickets here. The concert will be streamed free on Facebook and YouTube.

On Sept. 22, CityXLab presents a free webinar entitled Vaccines and Live Experiences - Challenges and Opportunities. Directed at businesses in Alberta, the forum will discuss the real challenge and opportunities of operationalizing a proof of vaccination exemption for live experience. Tickets and info here.


George (Jiri) Mraz, the first-call bassist for artists such as Tommy Flanagan, Oscar Peterson and Dizzy Gillespie, died on Sept. 16, at age 77.

Born in what is now the Czech Republic, Mraz began playing jazz in high school after hearing recordings of Louis Armstrong at the age of twelve. After playing clubs and concerts throughout Germany and Europe, in 1968, Mraz moved to Boston on a scholarship to the Berklee School of Music.

He receiving a call from Gillespie to join his group in New York less than a year later. Mraz also toured with Oscar Peterson for two years, continuing after to work with Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra for the next six years. In the late seventies George worked with Stan Getz, New York Jazz Quartet, Zoot Sims, Bill Evans, John Abercrombie and for over ten years with Tommy Flanagan. 

Mraz led his own quartet with pianist Richie Beirach, drummer Billy Hart, and tenor saxophonist Rich Perry, with whom he made several recordings. He was renowned for being the first-call bassist for many jazz artists, including Carmen McRae, Clark Terry, Slide Hampton, Elvin Jones, Joe Henderson, and many more. Source: The Strad

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