Don Brown

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About Don Brown

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    Veteran Groover
  • Birthday 11/22/1932

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  • Gender Male
  • Location Toronto

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  1. Booker who?

    The jazz giant who had his name misspelled probably more than any other was Thelonious Monk. Monk appeared four or five times over the years at the Colonial Tavern here in Toronto and every time the marquee read "Thelonius" Monk. I guess Monk either didn't notice or didn't care..
  2. I always found the very best jazz LP pressings came from Contemporary. This label was a class act all around.
  3. That's correct. When small bands like the the one Johnny Hodges led or the J.J.Johnson Kai/Winding quintet played there the sound was just fine. Actually, it wasn't all that bad even with big bands, although when they played fortissimo the sound tended to bounce off the mirrored south wall of the club. The post 1960 Colonial had a much harsher sound overall and big bands were impossible because of the raised bandstand. But we put up with it because the talent was always the best. Ornette, Monk and Mingus all made the most of the shortcomings and the music was always the best in town. The Town Tavern also booked great talent but there the artists had to compete with stereophonic cash registers. The bandstand was behind the bar and had cash registers on each side of it. Imagine listening to a gorgeous version of Willow Weep For Me by Ben Webster with cash registers ringing up sales on each side of him. Distracting to say the very least.
  4. The original Colonial burned down in January of 1960 and it took two years to rebuild. The original place was much more comfortable and the sound was better. It was constructed with two separate floors while its replacement was open from floor to ceiling with a gallery on the south wall at what would be the second floor level.It ended up looking like an oversized, tiled washroom with a ridiculously high bandstand on its north wall
  5. None of the jazz spots in Toronto had cigarette girls but I do recall one of the waiters at the Colonial, a large, taciturn guy named Bill. My girlfriend and later wife asked him one time if he enjoyed the music. He told us that it was all just noise to him but he'd pretty much learned to tune it out. I chuckled at medjuck's story about being denied entry to hear Ornette Coleman because he was wearing jeans. The first time Ornette played in Toronto was in another club, The Town Tavern, around the corner from The Colonial on Queen Street East. Before the quartet came into the club one of my friends, Bill Smith, the co-editor of Coda Magazine, tried to get in but was denied entry because he was wearing jeans, It was amusing when Ornette and his guys walked in. Ed Blackwell and Dewey Redman wear wearing business suits, Ornette, one of his neon creations and Charlie Haden jeans and a lumberjack shirt. My friend Bill figured this would make it OK for him. but no deal, customers could not get in if they were wearing jeans.
  6. Ah, the acoustics. I'll never forget the original Colonial Tavern on Yonge Street here in Toronto. It was a long narrow room running from east to west. The bandstand was on the north wall while the south wall was totally mirrored. When Woody Herman's Third Herd played there in November of 1953 the sound was beyond ear- splitting. In the washroom between sets the guy in front of me in the line for the urinal told Woody who was right behind me that the band sounded great but that it was "so fucking loud". Woody's response was "Well, we're not used to playing in someone's living room, man!" Another thing, the bandstand was just large enough to accommodate a sextet. When the Colonial booked big bands (They had Kenton, Lionel Hampton, Ellington and Basie as well as Woody) they'd move the piano off the raised bandstand and set it right in among the customer tables on the left side of the bandstand (one time I was sitting about six inches from Ellington's right hand) Then they'd cram the trumpet and trombone sections onto the bandstand with the bass and drums on the floor among the tables on the right side. The reed section sat in folding chairs on the floor in front of the bandstand. The guys looked so damned uncomfortable but the atmosphere sitting among them - literally - was visceral
  7. Jazz musicians that have cameos in films.

    Benny Carter in Snows of Kilimanjaro.
  8. Great Jazz names (apart from Thelonious Monk)

    Alcide "Slow Drag" Pavageau
  9. Happy Birthday Don Brown!

    Thanks, guys, Yeah, 87 is a real number. A bit scary, but I'm still hanging in there. Had a successful prostate surgery (TURP) three weeks ago and now I'm raring to go again. Just waiting for the new Woody Mosaic set which is in the mail I'm told. That one will take me back to my teens. The very first record i bought was Woody's Apple Honey/Bijou on a Columbia 78. I was 17 at the time.
  10. Horace Silver on tenor sax

    Yes, he was born with his hair like that. As Horace told an interviewer in the 1960s, "Paul Gonsalves and I are the only Portuguese Creoles in jazz." At that time that was probably true.
  11. Essential Benny Goodman

    As I recall the two Columbia LPs, which were called something like "Benny Goodman Jazz Concert # 2", were made up completely of Savory airchecks taken from radio broadcasts such as Benny's Camel Caravan broadcasts..A few years later MGM issued three LPs that were also made up of Savory's airchecks. This MGM material was later issued by the Book-of-the-Month club in a three LP boxed set.
  12. I saw 44 of them. Toronto was always an excellent place for jazz. Most of these artists appeared at either the Colonial Tavern on Yonge Street or the Town Tavern on Queen. The Town booked mostly "modernists" while the Colonial booked everyone from Monk to Eddie Condon.
  13. Sonny Fortune R.I.P.

    I saw Sonny Fortune here in Toronto with Abdullah Ibrahim..
  14. Budd Johnson

    I don't think anyone here mentioned the famous Coleman Hawkins Apollo recordings from February of 1944 (available on Delmark DD459). These titles, which are generally considered to be the very first bebop recordings, were all arranged by Budd Johnson, who is also part of the reed section along with Hawkins and Don Byas. Dizzy Gillespie is here as well. Budd Johnson was always in the vanguard of the music.
  15. Jazz's Transition to CDs

    The store two doors north of Sam the Record Man on Yonge Street was called A & A Records. Actually, A & A had been there first. When Sam's moved from 714 College Street to 333 Yonge Street it was a pretty daring move. There was only Steele's Tavern between Sam's and A & A, which at that time was the biggest record store in Toronto. The competition between the two stores was fierce which certainly benefitted record buyers.