Jazzmania Takes Over Thornbury This Weekend

Music will be everywhere you turn in Thornbury this weekend as they celebrate their 26th Annual Jazzmania.  Adding to the venues that can regularly be relied upon to provide live music, there are others who will be featuring music in order to be part of this little local festival.

Bruce Wine Bar can be relied upon to consistently provide live music every week, with their open mic night on Wednesdays, and their dinner shows on Friday and Saturday, always with the emphasis on original music.  Normally they have two shows from the same artist, one through the dinner hour and one later in the evening, but this Friday, in order to contribute to the variety offered by Jazzmania, they will feature two different bands in one night.

The seven o’clock show will feature Josh Norling and The Rhythm Section, which is a subset of Frank Deresti and the Lake Effect.  Normally Josh plays sax and other instruments in Frank’s band but this time Frank will be playing upright bass for Josh, joined by Lindsay Pugh on guitar.  In keeping with Bruce Wine Bar’s all-original policy, the emphasis will be on original jazz compositions.

Later that same evening, the ten o’clock show at Bruce Wine Bar will feature the Alan Zemaitis Organ Trio, with Nichol Robertson and Lowell Whitty. Organist Alan Zemaitis’ background is in blues and soul music. Nichol Robertson is an accomplished Toronto-based guitarist and banjoist, known for his numerous and eclectic musical endeavors that include bluegrass and country. Lowell Whitty has been a busy drummer in Toronto’s vibrant jazz scene for many years, with a leaning toward a New Orleans style.  Blending these three styles into one trio should make for an interesting hybrid jazz.

Some shows are selling advance tickets, some ask for donations with no cover, and some include dinner with the price of a ticket.

The other venue that can be counted on to bring live music to Thornbury on a regular basis is The Corner Café, right across the street from Bruce Wine Bar.  This place comes alive every Thursday night when David J. Russell hosts his open mic.  Next Sunday afternoon, they will be contributing to Jazzmania with Brian Miessner and friends from 1pm to 3pm.  While they are more in the progressive pop vein than jazz, Brian’s many years of experience as a performer and songwriter guarantees a good show.

Sisi’s, just up Bruce Street, doesn’t normally feature live music, putting the emphasis on fine dining, but on Saturday night as part of Jazzmania, they’ll be hosting The Fraser Melvin Band, a four piece band that specializes in Blues and R&B, with Alex Furlott on bass, Jonathan Hyde on drums and Andrew Moljgun on sax.  They promise to get you out of your seats and singing along.


Out on Highway 26 (Arthur Street) two restaurants will be providing Sunday brunch music, timed so that you can move from one to the other for several hours of live music.  Between nine and eleven on Sunday morning, drop into Steve’s Restaurant to enjoy The Brown’s Music Time Machine, with local favourites Doug and Heather Brown.  Their wide ranging repertoire, with Heather’s sweet voice and Doug’s tasteful guitar licks, is perfectly suited to an early morning treat.

From eleven to one you can enjoy the music of Ken Meyer at The Orchid Restaurant.  Formerly the band leader at Toronto’s Old Mill, his extensive repertoire covers all genres of music from Dixieland, to Jazz, Big Band, Latin, Rock and Roll and Contemporary music.

Follow Bruce Street down to Clarksburg on Friday night where you’ll find the Noodle Factory Jazz Project.  This ten-piece combo was created in 2007 from local jazz players looking to stretch their wings.  They play all original arrangements and compositions, with influences that include  Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus, The Boss Brass, Oscar Peterson, Blood Sweat and Tears and Tower of Power.


Jazzmania wouldn’t be complete without a swing band.  Saturday afternoon at the Beaver Valley Community Centre, get your swing fix with the Skyliners Big Band from Barrie, a 17-piece orchestra that plays all the best of the songs from the Big Band Era, covering the likes of Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, and Stan Kenton, along with some more contemporary numbers, featuring the vocals of Maria Branje.


If your taste runs more toward mania than jazz, you need to hear The Desotos at Maiolos Restaurant down at the harbour.  Their Saturday night concert has already sold out, so they’ve added a matinee, running from 3 to 5.  Six former members of The Martels bring you the hits of the 50’s and 60’s with four lead vocalists, three guitarists, bass, keyboards and drums.  For this outing, the group also features the vocals of Madeleine French (think Brenda Lee meets Patsy Cline) and the sax of Russ Strathdee (think Boots Randolph).

Some shows are selling advance tickets, some ask for donations with no cover, and some include dinner with the price of a ticket.  To find out more, give Linda a call at 519-599-3345 or email info@jazzmania.ca

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