1) Danish guitarist Torben Waldorff brings his "American Rock Beauty" tour to North America after a series of dates throughout Scandinavia. The band features Montrealers Joel Miller on saxophone and Fraser Hollins on bass (recent Juno winners through their contributions to Christine Jensen's Treelines), and Jon Wikan on drums. Waldorff's ArtistShare record features Wikan, Matt Clohesy, Donny McCaslin and Jon Cowherd. Beautiful, modern jazz in the vein of his sidemen's other affiliations. The North American tour dates are as follows:
April 1 - The Rex, Toronto; April 2 - Upstairs, Montreal; April 5 - Miles' Café, NYC. (I believe Matt Clohesy subs Fraser on bass for the NYC hit.)
2) Pianist/vocalist/songwriter Isis Giraldo and her group, Gozadera Salsa, launch their record April 3 at La Sala Rossa. The band is made up of McGill-trained musicians (including my Mantecoso bandmate Steven Salcedo on tenor sax and vocals) and incorporates a wide swath of Latin sounds. Giraldo is from Bogotá, and her lyrics speak to various social justice issues of Latin and South America. You can listen to her interview with me on the last edition of World Skip the Beat here. The young guns of the jazz/hip-hop band Ruckus Fo'tet open.
3) Due to events with which we are all too familiar, the 2011 edition of the Red Bull Music Academy will not be held in Tokyo. The new location will be announced April 11, and the application deadline has been extended until April 26. The dates of the two terms have not been changed. My best wishes to all of the Japanese RBMA family. (Stay tuned for an announcement of a fundraising concert here in Montreal.)
4) It's once again time for the Montreal Mirror's Best of Montreal poll. Once again, I ask current and ex-Montrealers to vote, and to specifically vote in the category of BEST JAZZ ACT and BEST JAZZ BAR. Christine Jensen just won a Juno, it would be nice if she could get some attention in what little written press we have left; the actuelle crew of Mardi Spaghetti just celebrated three years of improvised music on Tuesdays at Le Cagibi; the presenters at L'Envers have featured people ranging from Matana Roberts to Ben Monder and will present their final show at their current location April 30. The Montreal jazz community is as vibrant as ever, and we need to showcase it in its current, modern state. The trick with the Mirror is you have to fill out 25 categories for your ballot to count. Some advice in other categories:
Best radio station: CKUT
Best rep/art house cinema: Cinema du Parc
Best bagel: Fairmount (sorry, Saint-Viateur are a bit too hockey-puck-ish to my taste)
Best poutine: La Banquise
Best teahouse: Camellia sinensis
Best smoked meat: The Main (Schwartz's is the landmark, but the Main is just as good with half of the line-up)
Best non-chain coffee: Café Neve (they win because they have Brazilian espresso; Café Myriade is nearly as good)
Best locally-brewed beer: Tie - St-Ambroise/McAuslan and Dieu du Ciel. Try both.