#DJphoenixdailyrecord: January

Along with the complex smell of spices from my wife’s cooking, a steadfast in our home is the warm sound of vinyl records: beautiful, and at times crackly, orbs of sonic prophecy. Over the years, I’ve collected nearly a 1000 records in all genres. Last April, we were gifted with our son Phoenix who will be 10 months old this month. Given I’ve been playing records and dancing, or playing, with him every day before or after work, I thought it would be nice to document the process (for a whole year) on my Instagram account (http://instagram.com/thevinylprofessor) with the hashtag: #DJphoenixdailyrecord. I’ll post a recap of the photos for each month here, but if you have Instagram, you can follow along daily at: http://instagram.com/thevinylprofessor

January 2015:

IMG_0636 IMG_0637 IMG_0638 IMG_0639 IMG_0640 IMG_0647 IMG_0645 IMG_0646

Jan. 3: Beastie Boys, Licensed to Ill
Jan. 4: Wu-Tang Clan, 36 Chambers 
Jan. 5: Sufjan Stevens, Seven Swans
Jan. 6: Ramin Djawadi, Game of Thrones Soundtrack
Jan. 7: Caribou, Our Love
Jan. 8: Black Star, Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star 
Jan. 9: Fela Kuti, Gentleman
Jan. 10: Sex Pistols, Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols
Jan. 11: Vampire Weekend, “Diane Young” and “Step” (45)
Jan. 12: Bob Marley and The Wailers, Legend
Jan. 13: Tom Waits, Blue Valentine
Jan. 14: Esmerine, Aurora
Jan. 15: Charlie Parker, Boss Bird!
Jan. 16: The Smiths, Hatful of Hollow
Jan. 17: Flying Lotus, Los Angeles
Jan. 18: Boards of Canada, The Campfire Headphase
Jan. 19: Blue Swede, “Hooked on a Feeling” (45)
Jan. 20: Nirvana, Nevermind
Jan. 21: The Delfonics, “Ready or Not Here I Come (Can’t Hide from Love)” (45) paired with The Fugees, “Ready or Not”
Jan. 22: Thelonious Monk, Monk’s Dream
Jan. 23: Johnny Cash, At Folsom Prison 
Jan. 24: Max Roach Quintet, Conversation 
Jan. 25: Fleet Foxes, Fleet Foxes
Jan. 26: Krafwerk, TransEurope Express
Jan. 27: Afrika Bambaataa and The Soul Sonic Force, “Planet Rock” (RSD glow-in-the-dark vinyl)
Jan. 28: Bob Dylan, Greatest Hits
Jan. 29:  Snoop Doggy Dogg, Doggystyle
Jan. 30: Freddie Hubbard, Sky Dive
Jan 31: Paul McCartney, Ram

Featured Image is of Phoenix, the day after he was born. 

The 7th Annual Manifesto Festival (2013)

“Manifesto’s point of origin lies in hip hop culture – in its spirit of ingenuity, raw creativity, and people power, but we strive to stay out of boxes and create a platform with the potential to act as a catalyst for cross-pollination, collaboration, and the growth of new forms in this city of wildly talented people.” -Manifesto website.

7th Annual Manifesto Festival
7th Annual Manifesto Festival

The annual Manifesto Festival of Community & Culture is one of the reasons I love living right beside the Yonge-Dundas Sq.

Manifesto is a non-for-profit grassroots organization with a focus on youth and hip-hop culture, with the aims to educate, unify, and provide amazing music to the masses. The local and the global combine for four days of live events featuring musicians, producers, visual artists, and dancers, to panels with industry experts and even mentor sessions, and this year’s festival had even more in store than previous iterations.  Another great thing about Manifesto is that it brings hip-hop legends to Toronto – for free! In 2011, I saw Rakim rock the stage, and in 2012 Pharoahe Monch killed it live with hip-hop and local jazz upstarts, BadBadNotGood.

Rakim, 2011 at Manifesto.
Rakim at Manifesto, 2011.
Mharoahe Monch at Manifesto, 2012.
Pharoahe Monch at Manifesto, 2012.

This year’s festival featured amazing headliners, including soon to be big Jhené Aiko,
 and the legendary Souls of Mischief crew, 
celebrating their 20-year Anniversary of their classic, 93 ‘til Infinity! Souls of Mischief is a hip-hop group from Oakland, California, part of the hip-hop collective Hieroglyphics and consists of emcees A-Plus, Opio, Phesto, and Tajai. I remember seeing them back in 2003, and I can say with assurance, they are still every bit as dope 10 years later.

For those unacquainted with 90s hip-hop, here’s the video for “93 ‘til Infinity.”

…and here’s a recent remix of 93 ‘til Infinity aptly titled 93 Still by Gummy Soul.

…and here are some pictures I snapped of this year’s headliners.

Shad rolled through as a surprise guest, playing "Rose Garden" and some new material.
Shad rolled through as a surprise guest, playing “Rose Garden” and some new material.
The talented (and sexy) Jhené Aiko
The talented (and sexy) Jhené Aiko
Souls of Mischief take the stage.
Souls of Mischief take the stage.

DSC_0795 DSC_0794 DSC_0841 DSC_0839 DSC_0831 DSC_0808

From 93 ’til 2013 ’til infinity.

Photos by Paul Watkins.

Photo Recap: Guelph Jazz Festival Continues to Inspire at 20

Photos by Paul Watkins

Headliner Pharoah Sanders

The 20th Anniversary of the Guelph Jazz Festival and Colloquium was another resounding success. Over the last twenty years the Festival has burgeoned from what Artistic Director Ajay Heble describes as “very modest origins into a vital social-purpose enterprise.” It has become an inclusive meeting place where enthusiasts of creative, innovative jazz and improvised music gather once a year to be inspired, engaged, even healed, while participating in one of the planet’s most diverse listening communities. The festival is a reminder of how you can create something from little more than a good idea and a love for the music. This year’s festival and colloquium was no exception, boasting sold out shows, packed colloquium talks, world premieres, enchanting Nuit Blanche performances, and a constellation of musical styles, with musicians and listeners in dialogue with the music in the space of the now.

In honour of the 20th Anniversary, the festival was extended by an extra day to launch a new-partnered research institute, the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation. The launch of the institute culminated in a symphony of drums with the World Percussion Summit. The improvising percussion quartet featured master drummers Jesse Stewart (Ontario), Hamid Drake (USA), Dong-Won Kim (South Korea), and Pandit Anindo Chatterjee (India).

Don-Won Kim
Pandit Anindo Chatterjee.
Pandit Anindo Chatterjee.
Jesse Stewart and Pandit Anindo Chatterjee.
Jesse Stewart and Pandit Anindo Chatterjee.
Jeff Schlanger, musicWitness-in-Residence, captures it all.
Jeff Schlanger, musicWitness-in-Residence, captures it all.

As usual, the Colloquium (co-presented between ICASP and the Guelph Jazz Festival) was top-notch and remains one of the few events in North America to combine scholarly activity with a music festival. The talks and music performances at the Colloquium were full of academic fervor while remaining generally accessible to the larger Guelph community with a stimulating mix of panels, keynote addresses, assorted workshops, and concerts and interviews that featured festival artists.

George Lipsitz keynote.
George Lipsitz keynote.
William Parker keynote.
William Parker keynote.
Wadada and Pharoah after their interview.
Wadada and Pharoah after their interview.

The Colloquium was held at the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre, which was adorned with the jazz photography of Thomas King. King is a master storyteller who also possesses an incredible ability to tell the story of the Guelph Jazz Festival through the chronicle of his photography. King also collaborated with Guelph visual artist Nick Craine to create this year’s festival poster and logo.

Festival Logo.
Festival Logo.

The 20th Anniversary was full of amazing performances, which included Toronto based jazz upstarts BadBadNotGood, Matt Brubeck, Atomic, free shows by DRUMHAND, Jane Bunnett, Friendly Rich’s Scheherazade,Marianne Trudel, as well as the amazing double bill featuring Wadada Leo Smith’s Golden Quartet alongside Pharoah Sanders and The Underground. The festival continues to affirm that there is something special happening in Guelph. There is much more that could be said about the music, but I’ll leave that for other critics, although I do have a review of the trio Dawn of Midi coming soon. After all, in jazz there is no final chord. We can only dream what the next 20 years of the festival will manifest. For now, here are some additional pictures from this year’s anniversary celebration.