Sunday, October 31, 2010

Journalists On The Bandstand

In Ottawa, November will be a significant month for two of the city's best-known musicians—both of whom also happen to be well-known journalists.

On November 12 at the National Arts Centre Fourth Stage, the Tim Murray Quintet—featuring trumpeter Charley Gordon, longtime newspaper columnist and editor—will be holding its 50th anniversary concert.

Pianist Murray, Gordon, trombonist Jerry Heath, bassist Sol Gunner and drummer John Sullivan started playing together in Kingston in 1960, at a house four of them shared while attending Queen's University. They also shared an interest in the hard bop popularized by Art Blakey and Horace Silver, and in the West Coast sound of Gerry Mulligan and others.

The band dispersed in the early '60s, but reunited—minus Sullivan—for several gigs in the '80s and '90s. In 2000, veteran drummer Scott Warren joined the ensemble. The NAC anniversary show will be partly a band retrospective, but several new original compositions will also be included.

On November 27 at Cafe Paradiso, pianist, newspaper editor and blogger Peter Hum will officially launch his long-awaited debut CD, A Boy's Journey.

An astute jazz critic (he and I shared reviewing duties at The Ottawa Citizen for a decade) Hum has long had his performing career on a slow boil while he raised a family and developed his journalism career. Backed by a superb band—saxophonists Nathan Cepelinski and Kenji Omae, bassist Alec Walkington and drummer Ted Warren—he recorded an album of highly lyrical original compositions after playing them in public a couple of years ago. Those who witnessed that show have been anticipating the eventual CD.

Omae, who lives in South Korea, won't be at the launch, but he'll be replaced by another of Hum's longtime collaborators, guitarist Mike Rud.

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