April 2007

2007 National Jazz Awards
April 10, 2007 Palais Royale Toronto
The Big Show
by Paul J. Youngman with photos by Roger Humbert
This year’s award show went back to the famed big band palace of yesteryear Palais Royale, a refurbished state of the art dance hall overlooking Lake Ontario. The ghosts of big bands linger in this historic structure, the bands of Ellington, Basie, Paul Whiteman, The Dorsey Brothers and many others played to packed houses, at times with crowds numbering in the thousands in the glorious days when Jazz was popular music.

For just over three hours, jazz was the most popular music once again, the biggest jazz show in town was taking place to honour the nation’s greatest jazz artists. A smooth-flowing, easygoing, improvised affair. No, not really, it just seemed that way due to the natural and laid back manner of the hosts, the elegant, charming and beautiful Dione Taylor and her co-host, the smooth-talking David Clayton Thomas. The event was well run, highly professional and moved through the categories smoothly with the award recipients keeping their acceptance speeches brief, considerate of time lines and the musicians on stage, who just wanted to play.

The best part of the jazz awards show, for me anyway, is always the music. Dione Taylor, David Clayton Thomas, Holly Cole and new singing sensation, sixteen-year-old Sophie Berkal-Sorbit. You have to close your eyes to listen to this young lady sing, so unbelievable is the maturity, quality and control in her voice, the future looks bright for this young vocalist. The awards show featured The Oliver Jones Trio, who played wonderfully, with Dave Young on acoustic bass and Terry Clarke on drums. Mr. Jones filled the room with glorious-sounding notes, playing with obvious joy and a grand passion. To hear the trio play all night long would have been just fine.
David Clayton Thomas & Dione Taylor
This year’s show had a new award, Male Vocalist of the Year, awarded to Michael Buble, a no-show, who lost his award to presenter Shawn Jackson, at least temporarily.

In reviewing last year’s winners I noticed I only had to make about twelve changes to the winners list, some artists seem destined to win no matter what. Terry Clarke won again in the drum category. With his popularity, even if he retires I think he will still win. Always a class act; Mr. Clarke dedicated this year’s award to his students who, he implied, were kicking his ass with their drum chops. Phil Nimmons won in the Clarinet division, this award has his name on it, or at least it should.

Although he is semi-retired Geoff Chapman, whose popularity seems to be gaining, has been winning Journalist of the Year, year after year as if there is no competition, which I suppose there really isn’t. His acceptance speech was great, telling the audience that as he ages everything seems to be failing him, the memory, the vision, the hearing and yet he makes a great jazz critic.

Led by Hugh Fraser (the evening musical director) the great music just kept on coming with incredible horn playing by Kevin Turcotte, Guido Basso and special guest appearances by Peter Appleyard, P.J. Perry, John Nugent and Jim Galloway. I would have liked to listen to the music all night long, without distraction. The awards are important, the jazz fans have spoken and the musicians most deserving pick up their award, an award I consider the most important, the appreciation of the fans for the artists who give so much of their time to this great art form.

This is the only award show that matters. This is the big show.

And the awards go to:

Socan Composer of the Year David Braid
Artist of Distinction Award Rob McConnell
Lifetime Achievement Award Jack Long
Jazz Album of the Year Oliver Jones, One More Time
Musician of the Year Don Thompson
International Musician Diana Krall
Instrumentalist Don Thompson
Female Vocals Diana Krall
Male Vocals Michael Buble
Big Band Hilario Duran Latin Jazz Big Band
Producer Roberto Occhipinti
Arranger Phil Nimmons
Acoustic Group Murley Braid Quartet
Electric Group Nick Ali’s Electryc Trio
Latin Jazz Artist Hilario Duran
Galaxie Rising Star Award Jonathan Chellar
Clarinet Phil Nimmons.
Drums Terry Clarke
Bass George Koller
Guitar Reg Schwager
Keyboard Robi Botos
Saxophone Mike Murley
Trombone Russ Little
Trumpet Guido Basso
Violin Anne Lindsay
Record Label Justin Time Records
Broadcaster Heather Bambrick (JAZZFM91)
Festival TD Canada Trust Toronto Jazz Festival
Journalist Geoff Chapman
Photographer Bill King

Oliver Jones

Guido Basso
We welcome your comments and feedback
Paul J. Youngman
• • • • • •
Roger Humbert
• •
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 – 2007