you can read my June newsletter here.
here are my performances at the TD Toronto Jazz Festival
Toronto Jazz Festival, My Toronto Today, The swingin’ sounds of North Toronto, June 18, 2012
Although artists come from all over the world to take part in the TD Toronto Jazz Festival, many already reside in our community. As the annual event, which takes place across 40 venues around town from June 22 to July 1, draws near we profile three local jazz musicians who call North Toronto home.
When jazz pianist and vocalist Fern Lindzon was growing up, she looked forward to bedtime.
“When I was seven or eight years old, my parents bought a piano and my mom started taking piano lessons,” Lindzon says. “She practised when I went to bed — I actually looked forward to going to bed just so I could hear her play.”
Around a year later, she started taking lessons of her own and already knew a lot of the early repertoire from having heard the songs nightly as she fell asleep.
“My mom tells me that the only thing that would get me to stop being a chatterbox and behave myself was plunking me down in front of the stereo and putting on Bach or Beethoven,” she says.
Although she’s been singing her whole life, Lindzon says she decided to take music more seriously because of her piano teacher Mrs. Poole, who would never entertain the idea of letting her quit, and her friend Joanne Ezrin, whose brother Bob has produced the likes of Alice Cooper, Kiss and Pink Floyd.
“She came from a crazy musical family and they had two grand pianos in their living room,” Lindzon says. “Joanne and I hacked our way through piano concertos. What we missed note-wise, we could hear in our minds. We loved Rachmaninoff.”
Lindzon, whose latest release Two Kites was nominated for a 2012 Juno Award for Vocal Jazz Album of the Year, says she feels lucky to work with musicians like her bass player George Koller, who produced the album, sax player Mike Murley and drummer Nick Fraser.
“I love being completely in the moment,” she says. “I love being in a place where anything is possible and where the music can just go anywhere — that’s why I play jazz.”
Having spent part of her childhood in North Toronto, she says she decided to return to the area to raise her own children.
“I remember the playground outside the Locke Library at Lawrence and Avenue Road,” she says. “My dad used to take us to the library every week. I loved the boys and girls section but I think I loved the long twisty slide in the playground even more.” In addition to all the nearby parks and trees, she says she likes the fact that it’s a family-friendly community.
“I enjoy seeing street hockey and street-run garage sales and lemonade stands in the summer,” she says. “There are a lot of fabulous restaurants and new ones all the time.”
by Kathryn Kates, Canadian Jewish News, June 6 2012
It has been a banner year for Fern Lindzon. Just off a Juno Award nomination for her CD Two Kites, the jazz singer and pianist is performing at three shows at this year’s Toronto Jazz Festival.
The Toronto singer’s first date is as a quartet in a free outdoor concert at the Shops at Don Mills at 2 p.m. on June 23. She’ll be performing with Bill McBirnie on flute, Mark Segger on drums and bassist George Koller, who played on and produced Two Kites.
“Bill McBirnie is a breathtaking flautist. It is always fun to feature Bill,” Lindzon says.
“It is going to be in the afternoon. It will be more up-tempo and light… with more Brazilian music because Bill is phenomenal at playing it. We’ll also be playing some fun standards… some Thelonious Monk.”
On June 24, she’ll be at Chalkers Pub at 8 p.m. with Mike McClennan on bass and David French on sax. The evening will include longer solos, more instrumentals and a few more ballads.
She performs as a duo with bassist McClennan at Musideum on June 28 at 8 p.m. “It is a fantastic venue. It is like a living room that seats 30 people,” she says.
“Mike and I have been playing together for some time now – he has a beautiful feel. We have a really nice rapport. I want the concert to feel like an intimate conversation between, Mike, me and the audience.”
Lindzon’s repertoire includes jazz standards, Brazilian melodies, klezmer instrumentals, Yiddish arts songs and her own compositions and arrangements, including some Yiddish and Hebrew that she’s incorporated into a contemporary jazz context.
At all the performances, Lindzon will play excerpts from both her first CD, Moments Like These, and Two Kites, as well as new material.
Audiences will be treated to the title track from Two Kites, a rarely heard English tune written by Brazilian Antonio Carols Jobim, which she says is a wacky tune with a fun set of lyrics.
Lindzon also plans to include an arrangement of the Yiddish folk tune, Dona, Dona, inspired by a sonata by composer Nikolai Medtner and Hang Gliding by New York-based composer and big-band leader Maria Schneider. Hang Gliding is in an unusual time signature, and that’s the same timing that Lindzon decided on to perform Dona, Dona.
She will perform Rodger and Hart’s My Romance and has composed a tongue-in-cheek verse that she calls Moon in the Sky, which she sings as a scat. Another favourite of hers is Basin Street Blues, which she has put her own spin on by changing the harmony, making it reminiscent of a steamy, sultry stroll down Basin Street.
Lindzon was the music director of the klezmer-swing act Sisters of Sheynville, and appeared at world music events in Canada, the United States and Poland. The Sisters won the Canadian Folk Music Award in 2008 for vocal group of the year.
Lindzon was commissioned to compose a jazz/klezmer original score for a sextet for Buster Keaton’s Sherlock Jr. at the Toronto International Film Festival’s Bell Lightbox in 2010. She will perform the Keaton movie music as part of a trio and speak about it at this year’s Ashkenaz Festival in Toronto over the Labour Day weekend.