2016 was another great year for me playing music with some old and new friends.
The highlight of the year was Joni Mitchell – The River at the Grand Theatre in London. The best way to describe the show was that it was a theatrical concert featuring the vocal talents of Emm Gryner, Louise Pitre and Brendan Wall. The band was MD Greg Lowe out of Winnipeg, Tony DeLuca on keys/sax and Stephan Szczesniak on drums/percussion.
Unlike most theatre shows where you are in pit or room and play tune followed by dialogue and then wait for the next tune or segue, the Joni show featured the band on stage and tunes came one after the other. It was intense no doubt about that. I played fretted, fretless and double bass throughout the show. Sometimes switching between basses during the same tune. When I mentioned I was playing this show many asked if we were doing the Jaco/Joni tunes like Coyote and Hijera. We did those and more and I’m pleased to say that the run went really well. I’ve always wondered if I could play a perfect show. I got really close with the Joni show.
Other highlights included playing a couple of great festivals with Lynne Hanson, a singer songwriter out of Ottawa. I was also pleased to play some solo shows with Emm Gryner and her drummer Tim Timleck. Emm really is one of my favourite people to play with. We met back in 2009 and she recommended me for the Joni Mitchell show.
Rant Maggie Rant released a record and I’m really pleased with how it turned out. Sometimes you never want to hear a record again that you played on but I can listen to this one several time. One of the leaders of RMR, Barry James Payne release his solo record under the name String Bone. It’s a great Roots/Canadiana record. I’m on a couple of tunes.
2017 is starting of quietly but that gives me time to work on bass playing again rather than learning tunes. The main focus is taking lessons on double bass and becoming more proficient at playing with the bow. Perhaps I’ll play it on a show this year.