Kristofer Maddigan, who studied jazz at the University of Toronto and has been a member of the National Ballet of Canada Orchestra since , zeroes in on big band music of the s, recording three hours of music with a piece orchestra. I think when you study jazz, typically a lot of stuff you end up studying is bebop and beyond, so late '40s onward. Some tracks swing with a Latin flair, others dip more into ragtime.
Gene Krupa: Profiles in Jazz
That was something I used a lot. I was trying to pick out what defines the music, and then tried to use that in my own way. But Moldenhauer and Maddigan, both 38 and childhood friends, learned that things were definitely much harder in the days of our elders. Skip to content. That place was like our local YMCA, where all the black kids would hang out and play basketball or have another jam session.
Gene Krupa: The Pictorial Life of a Jazz Legend [With CD]
The local community including myself would use both of those places for meet-ups and organized picnics. The space was no bigger than my apartment but we accomplished a lot and made some great tunes there, man. In fact, a lot of musicians started from there initially. As my reputation grew I became a first-call drummer for jazz sessions in Toronto. People knew me for having a good time, and when it came to sounds, I could tune into what was playing and adapt using my ears. Nobody else was playing like me. Man, I would jam with those guys until 3 or 4 in the morning, and they would tell me I sounded just like Max.
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I would run into a lot of talented musicians quite often playing at the Town Tavern, which was one of the main jazz establishments on Queen, at the corner of Victoria Street. The other was the Colonial Tavern, which was the first black-owned club, and was just down the road on Yonge Street. They were so close you could actually go to one club, catch a set, then go to the other between beers. As jazz became bigger, the club wanted to start booking American acts. But in order to bring in these acts we had to have a piano player that was able to read music and take care of everything.
So I hired my personal friend, and one of the finest piano players in the country, Norm Amadio. With that taken care of, these acts from across the country would come and we would back them up. Every Monday we would have rehearsal, depending on how long the bands were staying. Most times it was about a week, but if they were a good group they would stay for two. From there, I ended up with a steady gig and started making some good bread.
Campbell, Harry Edison, and Teddy Wilson. They were all like, 'you got to come down to New York and play there'.
AACM and Free Jazz
But I would decline. So I stayed here and it ended quite well. I got a lot of work at Town and the Colonial because the American performers would always ask for talented black backing groups, and of course they would bring me in. The chap that actually broke that barrier was a talented Nova Scotian piano player, and the owner of the Colonial, named Cy McLean.
That was in Both me and Cy pushed through a lot of the discrimination in music. Town didn't have doormen, but there were bouncers by the front door because there was always a fight going on. Even with all that I was just glad that I was able to get work and a paycheque at the end of the week. These were the musicians that created the music without all the electronics going on now.
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The jobs were great and all the guys who played were wearing a shirt, tie and a suit. You never saw a pair of jeans, running shoes or a T-shirt with graffiti on stage. And now its like Just look at how some of these women dress nowadays. You know who was a real woman, Billie Holiday. I got the greatest story for her. Billie Holiday was booked there for a concert in the evening so of course that meant she was booked to go to the Town.
And that also meant the club was going to book us. Anyways, we go and have rehearsals with her and just play a wonderful evening of music. I mean here you have me; this young 25 year-old kid playing on stage with Holiday and just - holy shit, you could feel the music all over. I remember my parents would play her records and hearing it throughout the house. I had to open up my eyes to see what was going on because I couldn't believe there were people still watching the show.
I remember it to this day because the place went from quiet to like, deafening silence. It was frightening.
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Gene Krupa: Profiles in Jazz – The Syncopated Times
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