June 2008

Michel Donato Trio
at the TD Canada Trust Toronto Jazz Festival
June 24, 2008 Enwave Theatre Toronto
by Zoë Guigueno
For many years my mom and I have had this joke that all bass players have tics — they hiss, stomp, drool, or are otherwise subconsciously accompanying their own playing. I was disappointed to have this 'rule' disproved by the tired and grumpy looking Michel Donato, an upright player out of Montréal who brought his trio to the Enwave Theatre at this year's Toronto Jazz Festival.
Despite the interesting instrumentation of accordion, seven-string guitar, and upright bass, and despite the recognition that Donato has received from Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans, and the Order of Canada, my first-row excitement evaporated with the first few tunes.

The trio performed mostly Donato's originals, though they sounded like old standards and were hardly memorable. The bass sounded hollow and limp. On at least two occasions I heard the 65-year-old bassist asking what key the tune was in and what chord it started on. At one point, Marin Nasturica, the Romanian-born accordion player, launched into an apparently unplanned solo introduction. Donato waved his arms in protest and sharply and persistently asked Nasturica to stop. The accordion player disobeyed, looking Donato in the eye, until it was established that Donato would not go with it. When the bassist tried to make a joke with the crowd about it, I did not laugh.

Twice he smiled at his band mates, the only sign of enjoyment I detected from him. Jon Gearey, on guitar, constantly mopping his brow with a towel, was at least relaxed enough to make a relatively loud kazoo sound through his teeth as he played.

Due to extreme boredom, I left about halfway through the concert.

Michel Donato
The Musicians
Michel Donato – bass
Marin Nasturica – accordion
Jon Gearey – guitar
We welcome your comments and feedback
Zoë Guigueno
• • • • • •
The Live Music Report
• •

| Home | Archives | CD Reviews | Photo Galleries | Concert Listings | Contact |

Please contact us to secure permission for use of any material found on this website.
© The Live Music Report – 2008