A threesome weekend, Chiarelli; Jazz; & Ostanek 1

Reviews by Danny; Terry; & Judith

The N.A.O. made a little format detour by presenting Hamilton’s own Blues maven-ess Rita Chiarelli in an intimate; casual and easy-going manner at the Bay City Music Hall. This writer 1st critiqued her a dozen years ago, writing very positively about her composing, voice and talent. The lady opened with “I can change for you”. Fortunately, she hasn’t. She still belts it out; she still feels every song; she still sells out the house…and she’s still RITA. *

RITA wowing her fans...& the NAO musicians

RITA wowing her fans…& the NAO musicians


The lady plays her own creations and like Bachman’s, they tell a story. The audience was especially moved with her solo rendering of a spiritual ‘Gonna rest my bones’. This piece evoked early Kid Oliver garnished with a little Bix. An excerpt from her Angola Prison CD was enhanced by a terrific background duet by violinist Christine Deville & Eric Baune on bass. Some kibitzing with Brott in both English & Italian added to the camaraderie on stage. She closed with ‘The Thrill is Gone’…trust me Rita – it ain’t! – Danny

 

This is the weekend of Oakville’s Jazz Festival. We’ve missed the last few annual events [previous commitments; medical problem etc.] but it was like a family reunion, a quick catching-up and it was like old home week. The Merriam School offered a stage opportunity for young students to face an audience. We heard a be-spectacled vocalist having trouble keeping on key, and out-Streisand-ing Barbra in a way too deliberate rendering of ‘Halleluiah’, a rather boring Cohen creation to begin with. Turns out the lady was ill but obviously had the theatre mantra of ‘show must go on’ instilled. Bravo.  Then, Charlie Kert’s “Rock Garden Party” interactive children’s subtle environmental message. Watching the kid’s avid attention; and even the shyer ones slowly approach the stage mesmerized may not be exactly Jazz genre but we applaud Ronnie Brown & company for understanding that folks oftimes bring the younger set to the Festival and this type of entertainment is definitely focused towards them.
P.S. To Paulo; journalism rule #1, “It doesn’t matter what you say (or inscribe) as long as you get the name rightTerry

Charlie Kert greeting his little groupies

Charlie Kert greeting his little groupies

 

On Saturday evening the Brott Music Festival offered something a little different, an evening of polka music provided by Canada’s Polka King – Walter Ostanek and his band. The setting was cabaret style with a sizeable dance floor which I thought would not be used much given the age of many of the audience, but I was wrong. The music proved too tempting and audience members danced with their walkers and even in a wheelchair, and the able bodied showed us what polka was all about. We began with the ‘Beer Barrel Polka’, probably the best known polka of all time! After some rousing polkas there were a few waltzes and even ‘South of the Border’ played sensuously as a beguine, then more polkas until intermission. Post interval the pierogis made an appearance. We were each served a very generous portion of same plus, salad and fresh bread rolls. Obviously they did not intend for us to go hungry and everyone at our table managed to clean their plate even though we hadn’t anticipated such largesse. The pierogis were light enough not to impede the dancers when the band returned. The music was even livelier in the second half and by then the dancers were nicely limbered up. It was a creative mix of waltzes, cha cha’s & polkas and everyone had a good time – although I bet they will be tired tomorrow. Judy

Walter and his band of Polka-ists

Walter and his band of Polka-ists

 

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One comment

  1. What’s happened to the Oakville Jazz Festival? This year it was thinner than ever. Other than Daryl Struermer and a couple of others, there was such a bizarre mix of lesser known (being kind, here) artists maybe doing jazz, maybe not. There was a focus on non-professional activities, and on the Saturday night, two, count ’em, two ballroom dance demonstrations (actually sales pitches) by two location franchises. This on the Saturday during prime evening time. The event was poorly promoted and hugely disappointing. Either the BIA or the Town is letting the downtown slide; it’s being mismanaged, possibly ignored, definitely taken for granted and overtaxed. The Oakville Jazz Festival supposedly attracts many thousands; what do so many ‘For Lease’ signs on doors tell them. What did this event itself say about this town. They best realize the gem that this town is before there is no downtown left!

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