Archive for June, 2011


The Legendary Dutch Robinson Hits St. John’s

June 30, 2011

Dutch Robinson is a name known worldwide in the worlds of jazz, soul, R & B, and beyond.  Most well-known for being the lead singer of the Ohio Players, Dutch’s career has taken him all across the globe.  He has played with  world class musicians like Tommy Motolla, Daryl Hall, John Oates, and Curtis Mayfield, and has a very long list of accomplishments to his name.  Dutch has won an unfathomable amount of awards like Artist of the Year, Best Jazz Artist, Single of the Year, and Entertainer of the Year from various organizations, has been featured on such shows as Canada AM and Soul Train, and can be heard on Cirque du Soleil’s Grammy nominated album Alegria.

Dutch Robinson is an incredible vocalist and one heck of a performer, so be sure to come see him live on July 16th, 10:00pm at the Majestic Theatre during the 2011 WIJBF.

Get your tickets to see Dutch Robinson here.


Sponsor of the Week: Newfoundland Power

June 29, 2011

The 2011 Wreckhouse International Jazz & Blues Festival would not be possible without the support of our corporate and media sponsors.  To show our appreciation, Wreckhouse Jazz & Blues (WJB) will be highlighting our valued sponsors.

Newfoundland Power Inc. operates an integrated generation, transmission and distribution system throughout the island portion of Newfoundland and Labrador.

For over 120 years, we have been committed to providing customers with safe, reliable electricity in the most cost-efficient manner possible. Our Company serves over 239,000 customers making up approximately 85% of all electricity consumers in the province.

The Company purchases approximately 90% of its electricity from the Crown corporation, Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, and generates the balance from its own smaller hydro electric stations. Newfoundland Power is regulated by the Newfoundland and Labrador Board of Commissioners of Public Utilities which has jurisdiction over rates, policies, capital expenditures and the issue of securities.

Working together, Newfoundland Power and its employees are committed to providing customers with the service they expect and deserve in an environmentally and socially responsible manner. Our vision is to be a leader among North American electric utilities in terms of safety, reliability, customer service and efficiency.

WJB would like to acknowledge and express gratitude for the contributions of NL Power, the Sponsor of the Week!


Sponsor of the Week: Sunlife Financial, Kirk Newhook, Advisor

June 29, 2011


The 2011 Wreckhouse International Jazz & Blues Festival is supported by many generous corporate and media sponsors, without whom this festival would not happen.  To show our appreciation, Wreckhouse Jazz & Blues (WJB) will be highlighting our valued sponsors. 

Kirk Newhook is the founder and former Executive/Artistic Director of the Wreckhouse International Jazz & Blues Festival. After leading the organization for nine festivals he was confident that the Festival had reached a point that it could continue successfully without him at the helm. Upon the completion of last year’s Festival he decided to step down and follow a new career path with as an advisor with Sun Life Financial. Nevertheless, his passion for the event and the music would not allow him to leave the Festival completely, so he stayed on board and donated his service to the Artistic Director role.

Of his role as an advisor with Sun Life Financial, Newhook states “I am a holistic advisor. I work closely with clients to understand their specific situation and goals. Based on their needs, I help them to make informed financial choices to build their savings and protect what they save against unexpected events and to prepare financially for the future. I focus upon life, health and wealth coverage and work to develop a life-long relationship with my clients, so that I am there to make the necessary changes to their financial plan that ensures that they stay on track to meet their goals as their situation changes. In short, I help people achieve lifetime financial security.

My clients include individuals and families, as well as businesses. I work with specialists in the area of Estate and Financial Planning, Long-Term Care, Disability Insurance, and Wealth Planning.”

WJB would like to acknowledge and express gratitude for the contributions of Sunlife Financial, Advisor, Kirk Newhook, the Sponsor of the Week!


Drumming Sensation Mark McLean at the 10th Annual WIJBF

June 29, 2011

Mark McLean began his career as not a drummer but a pianist at age 9, but at the age of 14 he decided that the drums were his true calling.  Since then his career has skyrocketed.  Starting at the age of 18 Mark played for Canadian jazz icon Oscar Peterson, since then he has been playing and recording for some of the world’s best musicians, and is now releasing an album of his own.  Mark has received praise from jazz and drumming experts alike worldwide, receiving endorsements from Regal Tip Mallets and Brushes, Remo Drum Heads, Zildjian Sticks and Cymbals, and Yamaha Drums.

Mark McLean is a powerhouse drummer, and he is sure to bring the house down when he hits the WIJBF this summer, so join him 8:30pm on July 15th at the Rocket Bakery for a drumming spectacle that is sure to leave you in awe.


Get your tickets to see Mark here.


H2 Harkness Herriott Duo Take the Stage at the 2011 WIJBF

June 28, 2011

Newfoundland’s own Mike Herriott will be coming home this summer to perform at the 2011 Wreckhouse International Jazz and Blues Festival.  Mike will be taking the stage with expert guitarist Sean Harkness as H2 Harkness Herriott Duo.  Mike and Sean have each earned their fair share of awards and accolades in the music industry.  Mike has received a 2010 JUNO nomination, and he has played with some of  the best artists and orchestras in the world.  Sean has received endorsements from multiple guitar companies, has 22 years of guitar playing under his belt, and has played all over the world including on Broadway in Disney’s The Lion King.  Mike’s flugelhorn combined with Sean’s sweet guitar makes for a sound like no other, and a concert that will be one to remember.

Come join H2 Harkness Herriott Duo 8:15pm, July 14th at The Masonic Temple for an unforgettable concert, or take in their free workshop on Success and Integrity in Music 2:00pm July 14th at Long & McQuade.

Buy your tickets now at:


Cover Me Canada

June 28, 2011

Calling all Canadian Musicians and Groups – Starting June 6th Submit an Audition by Uploading Your Unique Rendition of One of Four Iconic Canadian Songs at

CBC today issued a call for online performance auditions for a major new music series,COVER ME CANADA, airing this fall on CBC-TV. Unsigned musicians and groups are asked to submit their unique versions of the iconic Canadian music we all love at From the audition pool, the most talented unsigned musicians and groups will be selected to compete as finalists on COVER ME CANADA. The finalists will compete live on television, to win the hearts of the nation and the opportunity of a lifetime: a $100,000 cash prize and a recording contract for their first original single to be released by Universal Music Canada.

Ambitious Canadian musicians and groups aged 12 and up who are not signed to a recording contract are invited to submit video performances of their cover versions of one of the following Canadian classics: Sundown (Gordon Lightfoot), Run To You (Bryan Adams), Life is a Highway (Tom Cochrane) and Black Velvet (Alannah Myles).

Auditions are open now until July 8 at All acts selected to be finalists on COVER ME CANADA must be able to perform live with their own accompaniment and vocals and are encouraged to demonstrate this ability in their audition videos. COVER ME CANADA is looking for Canada’s best unsigned musicians or groups covering Canada’s definitive songs.

“CBC is providing a platform for the best emerging musicians from across the country to cover Canada’s greatest songs, and a chance for Canadians to rediscover the songs that we love and feel proud to call our own,” said Kirstine Stewart, executive vice-president, English Services, CBC. “COVER ME CANADA is the opportunity of a lifetime for aspiring Canadian artists. We look forward to showcasing the brightest musical talent Canada has to offer.”

“The bar is set very high for COVER ME CANADA,” says Ivan Schneeberg, co-president of Temple Street Productions, producers of COVER ME CANADA. “In order to make the cut, music artists and performers have to make the songs we all know and love entirely their own. We’re excited to see the results.”

The host and judges for COVER ME CANADA will be announced in the coming weeks. Artists, producers and the biggest names in Canadian music will be part of the excitement, with competitors getting to perform some of the greatest songs in the Canadian songbook.COVER ME CANADA is produced by Temple Street Productions based on a format co-created by 11 Entertainment and CBC.

For more information, including a full list of rules and regulations, visit:

On the web:

On twitter:  @cbccoverme


World Music Group Jaffa Road at the 2011 WIJBF

June 27, 2011

On Thursday July 14th, at 9:30pm, come take in some great world music as Jaffa Road takes the stage at The Majestic Theatre.  Wreckhouse Jazz and Blues are very excited to have such a high calibre world music group playing at this year’s festival.  Jaffa Road brings to the table a unique mix of music from all corners of the globe.  Incorporating elements of Jewish music, Classical Arabic and Indian music, electronica, rock, pop and even dub, their sound is truly one of a kind.  They have been recognized as one of the top world music groups in Canada, with their album Sunplace being nominated for a 2011 JUNO Award.


Jaffa Road is sure to put on a spectacular show at the 10th Annual Wreckhouse International Jazz and Blues Festival, so come join them 9:30pm, July 14th at The Majestic for one of the best world music concerts in Canada.


Check out one of their videos at:

or get your tickets now at:


The 2nd Weekly High Fidelity Friday: Top 5 Soul Songs

June 24, 2011

By Alex MacNeil

Hey everybody,

This article is dedicated to the little cousin of Jazz and Blues: Soul. For those of you not prone to intense listening, if Giant Steps doesn’t make you move, than maybe soul music might be the proper thing. Who couldn’t love it? Danceable beats, lyrics that everyone can relate to, horn sections, and tambourine abuse.

If you are curious, here are a few masters of soul, old and new for you to check out. Hit me!

#1 Edwin Starr – 25 Miles

I’m hoping to choose a few tunes that aren’t obvious, and this is one of the lesser known gems of soul. Love the drum breaks.  If you dig this track, check out Agent 00 Soul released on Motown.



#2 Hiram Bullock – Funky Broadway (Wilson Pickett cover)

This rendition of Wilson Pickett’s classic is so wonderfully 80s. Funky Broadway has been recorded by a legion of extremely cool musicians including Jimmy Smith and Jaco Pastorius. I chose this particular performance for several reasons, including David Sanborn’s hair and Hiram Bullock’s poor public abilities.

This clip is such a great representation of the fantastic musicians that were working in television during this period, and I love to see them let loose with their old band-mate Hiram. His guitar playing, though extremely dated, is none-the-less deadly, and despite my natural inclination to avoid David Sanborn’s music, he plays extremely well.

#3 Martha and the Vandellas – Heatwave

This is very well known song that is often wrongly attributed to The Supremes, but I can’t really imagine why. Martha and the Vandellas are like The Supremes’ cousins from the wrong side of the tracks. Their music is a bit more raucous, full of attitude, and for me, a whole lot more fun. I’ll be the first to say that I dig Diana Ross and her soft, round voice, but Martha has some commanding pipes and sports an attitude that kind of strays from Motown’s air of innocence.

#4 Etta James & Dr. John – I’d Rather Go Blind

Very cool live performance. Etta is in great shape, and joined, a bit to my surprise by New Orleans heavy weight traditional artist Dr. John (Mac Rebennack). Dr. John earned his international acclaim by fusing his early New Orleans influence with psychedelic influences, but has produced a great deal of really well made traditional tracks.

I chose this particular track because it is an exceptional example of a soul, R&B ballad. It’s dramatic, cheesy and all together infectious. It’s the kind of track that theatre students listen to when they break up with their lovers. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not mocking theatre students, or this track, the dramatic element of the music is what makes it fun.

#5 Cannonball Adderly Quintet – Mercy Mercy Mercy

Thought I’d tuck this one in there considering that this is a jazz blog and I am indeed, an avid jazz fan. This tune was written by Joe Zawinul, Cannonball’s keyboard player who would later go on to be one of jazz-rock fusion`s finest innovators.

Zawinul could pretty much play anything. If you listen to the early Cannonball Adderly Quintet you`ll hear him playing Nat and C-Ball compositions at blazing speeds, but this funky soul number signals his transition from hard-bop pianist to fusion composer and keyboardist.

I think about 70% of the reason I chose this particular recording of it is because of C-Ball`s speech at the beginning. Awesome.


Brad Jefford Trio+ Album Release, Thursday June 30th

June 21, 2011


A History of Taiko Drumming

June 21, 2011

By Jonathan Hicks

Taiko, meaning “big/fat drum” in Japanese, refers to a traditional and very interesting drum which is still used today in Japan and around the world. The Taiko drums and drumming tradition was thought to have been possibly brought to Japan from China or Korea along with the Buddhist faith. Despite this, as the drums began to develop they were regularly made and improved on in Japan. These instruments began to be known as being a very traditional and unique Japanese instrument. After hearing the word Daiko many people often get confused as to why this word is being used instead of Taiko. However it is actually quite a simple concept; “Daiko” is used as a suffix used when speaking of a type of Taiko drum, Taiko drum group or a style of Taiko playing when a compound word is being used. When being used in a compound word the “T” sound changes to a “D” sound.

Byou-daiko (Head fastened with nails)

The construction of these drums is just as interesting as the drums themselves. Taiko drums are traditionally made using only one piece of wood for the shell of the drum. You may be wondering how this could even be possible. These drums were traditionally made by hollowing out a tree trunk. Some of the trees, used for the bigger instruments, needed to be thousands of years old. The largest of these instruments known as an O-daiko could exceed 3 feet (91cm) in diameter and could weigh more than 100 kilograms (220 pounds). When it comes to the head of these drums animal skin is used (much like most hand drums). The most popular skin to be used is that of a young Holstein bull. For the larger O-daiko drums a full hide of the animal is needed to make the drumhead. The heads of Byou-daiko drums are fastened to the drums by stretching the head over the top and then tacking (with some sort of nail) the head to the side of the drum. The heads of Shime-daiko drums, however, are kept on with a rope; these days a bolt or other device can be used. This allows the drum head to be tuned, which is very convenient when transporting the drums to places with varying humidity.

Shime-daiko (head fastened with rope)

The first Taiko drums were believed to have been used as an instrument of war as they were the only instrument that could be sounded and heard throughout an entire battlefield. Often times a soldier would strap a Taiko drum onto his back (like a backpack) and two other soldiers would follow him and play the drum on either side to ward off and scare the opposing army. Another use for the Taiko drum on the battlefield was to send commands to the soldiers of the army who were scattered across a battlefield. In this way this drum was obviously very useful due to its loud volume. Along with being used on the battlefield the Taiko drum was often used for religious ceremonies and also to signal entire communities of an oncoming storm or the beginning of the traditional hunt.

Largest O-daiko (9 foot diameter weighing over 4 tons! That’s 8818.4 pounds!!)

Nowadays Taiko drums are most often played in ensembles containing only Taiko drums. In these ensembles you will find many different kinds of Taiko drums ranging from very small drums to extremely large ones. These drums allow the artist to express themselves in a way which is very unique to their style of music.

This year at the Wreckhouse International Jazz and Blues Festival we will be hosting a concert by Uzume Taiko. This group from Vancouver has experienced success both nationally and internationally. On the international stage “Uzume Taiko has performed throughout the United States, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Channel Islands and Japan”.  This show is sure to be a spectacle of drumming!  Uzume Taiko will be performing on July 16th at 8:45pm at the Masonic Temple.

Related websites:

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