Polling the Artists: question 2 (part 1)

Ok, so, finally, here it is:  Polling the artists, Q2!  and the question for this month was:  

Who is your favourite Toronto based artist (in your field) and why?

If you'd like to know more about the collaborators, or their favourite Toronto artists, click on the links.  The first answeree is Painter and BtTtF new comer Kristy Gordon.

Although it's a difficult task to choose just one Toronto artist to write about, the first one that pops into my head, and the one I keep thinking of, is John Hansen.

John is an oil painter whom I first met at the Loch Gallery in Yorkville, when we both had our figurative paintings displayed in an invitational group exhibition.  He often paints lone figures lost in thought, and makes use of a great deal of symbolic imagery in his work.  He has been an inspiration to me, in the way that he continues to push himself both in terms of technique and the symbolic and psychological content of his paintings.

Royal Wood, because he writes gorgeous melodic songs, plays a mean guitar and a meaner piano, and he sings like Jesse Winchester in his younger days (a very high compliment in my books!).  To top it all off he's a very nice person; true humility is a trait to be admired in talented people.

OH and I guess Ron Sexsmith is Toronto based, too.  He is also a genius, but I think that goes without saying.  And also a nice guy.

Jim McGrath is a born-and-raised Torontonian who grew up on the west side of the city.  He is known for his work as the composer on Degrassi: Next Generation accompanied by another great musician, guitarist David Baxter.  Not only does he work on one of Canada's most popular television series exports, he is also a passionate composer of concert music.  His CD Cinematique is a beautiful collection of four of his works for chamber orchestra and shows McGrath's Brilliance for orchestration outside of the film-music tools of sampled instruments and apple loops.  When listening to the album, I get a strong sense of McGrath's commitment to melodies and textures that tell a story (of course, leading me to label it as a cinematic but, I just can't make that double entendre.  but is is true.  It is very cinematic.)  The Canadian industry is fortunate to have him in the country.  

Into a different Genre, Pat LaBarbara is a NY born saxophonist whose reume is both scary and impressive.  With empolyers like Buddy Rich and John Coltrane drummer, Elvin Jones, you too would move from your safe haven prairie-town to study with him at his latest scary employer, Humber College (where he now teaches classes on Jazz improvisation and repertoire development).  He has played with any number of pop acts in his lengthy career though I must say my favorite story was when I had brought up Joni Mitchell at one lesson and he replied, "yeah I played on a Joni recording.  doesn't know anything about music".  Which would make her one of my favourites too if Shawn's question was worded differently.  So, he's worked with the who's who of jazz and pop music, but when listening to his own compositions and recordings, one realizes that Toronto is the home of one of the greatest jazz improvisers alive today.  His latest album Crossing the line (featuring Randy Brecker) has one of my favorite solos on a ballad, There's a Lull in my Life.

My favorite Toronto musician... that's a hard one.  Honestly I don't think I can really answer that cause there is so much good music coming out of Toronto and in every genre.  I'm not trying to cop-out so I'll list a few of the MANY artists I love that are from Toronto:
Most peeps on arts and crafts
ummmm..... domakesaythink

Ohbijou, Great lake Swimmers.... ummmmmmm..... I can't really think of any others at the moment??? My brain is kind of running on auto pilate, sorry.  There's plenty more, you can be sure of that.

Well that gives you a lot to listen to tonight.  So I'll leave it at that.  Tomorrow, I'll be posting part 2, featuring another Gordon!!


Lesley Denford said...

So much great music and art to check out! This will keep me busy for a while...

Valery Gore said...

Oops! I missed it!
-Peter Elkas
-Peter Katz
-Peter Pan (oops!)
-Melissa McClelland
-Royal Wood
-Luke Doucet
-Sandro Perri
-Justin Rutledge
-Elliott Brood
-Oh man there are too many.

Those are some of 'em.

Valery Gore said...

Why? Because they all have something to say and write beautiful music. or rocking music.

Shawn William Clarke said...

Thank you Val. I'll add that to the second one. Make it more professional-like.