It seems I have loved Jazz forever. My parents had the classics on the stereo when I was a child – Artie Shaw, Ella and Louis, Paul Whiteman and the Duke, of course. And I do know that my first real crush was Acker Bilk and that clarinet of his performing “Stranger on the Shore.” I still love the classics – Errol Garner, Stan Getz, Herbie and Thelonious and those crazy Frenchmen – Grappelli, Jean Paul Rampal and Claude Bolling….. A trip to New Orleans rounded out my education. A highlight was an evening at Snug Harbour with the Marsalis brothers. I love discovering new performers … for me… Shabaka Hustings, Kamasi Washington, Esperanza Spalding –the mellow sounds of singers like Mary Stallings, Shirley Horne and Madeleine Peyroux and old favourites like Billie and Nina! I am so crazy about jazz rhythms I even went out and found myself a boyfriend with his own quintet!
Knowing my passion, a few years ago my family gave me a Jazz Safari with Jazz FM as a birthday present. It was an amazing tour of the Toronto Jazz scene. And I have joined the board of Hugh’s Room Live to help bring back the venerable venue and ensure a future showcase for the music vibes I love so much.
As I write this I also acknowledge how important my early exposure to Jazz had been to every aspect of my life. As businesses have evolved from a linear top down management structure, jazz has provided the metaphor for the new, team models that have evolved. Certainly this has been at the core of my business ethos. If I am known for anything professionally it is for creative, lateral, outside-the-box thinking and for that I owe a great debt to those early syncopated rhythms that rocked me to sleep!
On April 30, we mark International Jazz Day 2021. Music has been my rod and my staff throughout this annus horibbilis, and so I pay homage to this great music tradition.