Thursday, 14 November 2013

Mike Murley at The Homesmith Bar...... and how I USED him!

Mike Murley at Homesmith Bar

Ok, I admit, I'm a Mike Murley groupie. That's NOT my confession, but just had to get that out there first. I've been catching his gigs for a decade now. I first saw him one Sunday afternoon when I popped into The Pilot for some afternoon jazz. I was blown away. He is one of the foremost Jazz Sax players around, and that's not just groupie-me talking. His music speaks for itself. One of my favourite CDs (wearing thin now!) is Mnemosyne's March, and Reflections is on my Christmas list. I have seen Mike at Montreal Bistro with David Occhipinti (still my fave gig of all time!), The Pilot quite few times, China House and various JazzFM Sound of Jazz concerts. But my favourite venue to see and hear Mike Murley is Homesmith Bar in The Old Mill Inn.  

He was there last Saturday.

So I convinced Handsome Man we should go. He loves Mike's playing as well, so no real convincing was needed. 

You see, Mike Murley is kind of the reason I met Handsome Man.

Confession time. 

I had been single for a LONG time. I was just not meeting anyone whom I ENJOYED being with. And considering I am a people person that says a lot. So I joined an Internet dating site. And got a lot of, shall we say, garbage. So I changed my profile. Under likes, I simply put ''Mike Murley'' and found that only people who truly did have the same interests as myself and with whom I could enjoy spending time with messaged me. One of those men was Handsome Man, whom I fell head over heels for immediately, and wonderfully that feeling hasn't dimmed over the years. 

So, yes, I ''used'' Mike Murley.

But I don't think Handsome Man minds, and hopefully Mike doesn't either!

Now back to the show!

Mike can do unbelievable things with all manner of saxophones. I have heard him create everything from whale song to bop to sweet sexy music. He has a range of saxophones that I cannot even pretend to be able to name. Mike is an avid supporter and influencer of Jazz in Toronto and is on the faculty of the UofT Jazz program. Whether known or unknown, Mike always chooses INCREDIBLE musicians to play with. And they all clamour to play with him. On this night the trio included the fabulous Steve Wallace and Reg Schwager.

Steve Wallace on Bass
I first got to know the incomparable Steve Wallace when I was frequenting Azure to catch The Dan Bodanis Band. Steve has played with any jazz icon you can name and has so many awards all I can say is go here to check out his creds and go here for his blog, and a taste of that humour that makes him a fave of everyone he meets. Steve's talents are out-weighed only by his personality. A fabulous musician.

I've enjoyed Reg Schwager's jazz guitar for many years now. His style is distinctive and he`s really quite a lot of fun to listen to. He too has played with just about everyone who is anyone in the Jazz Scene. He has won National Jazz Awards Guitarist of the Year, year after year after year. Reg is reflective and quiet, absorbed in his music, but never distant. Always deeply connected with his fellow musicians and the audience. Check him out here

With such wonderful musicians feeding off each other, you KNOW its going to be a great show. And it was. It was one of those nights you WISH they were doing a ''Live At'' recording. Everyone was ON. But then again, these guys always are! The banter was fun but never silly, and the crowd was appreciative and RESPECTFUL, something Mike himself thanked everyone for. And as a reward they played a gorgeously soft piece that had everyone in complete silence. There is nothing I can say that can even come close to how wonderful it is to experience Mike Murley, Steve Wallace and Reg Schwager LIVE. So, if you can, get out to the clubs. Catch them individually or as a group, but don't miss them, I guarantee, you wont be sorry! 

And Mike? Thanks for helping me meet Handsome Man!

 Are you a fan? Tell me your fave Mike Murley story in the comments below!