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Friday, December 9, 2011

Music first.

I play in an original roots/country/folk band called the Max Woolaver Band and we played last Saturday night. Max is an Anglican minister and writes really good music. The band is very good as well. The drummer in the band is Michelle Josef and she has been a player on the Canadian scene for years playing with everyone from Prairie Oyster to Amos Garrett. Michelle isn't nearly as busy as she used to be unfortunately and it certainly has nothing to do with her ability as a drummer. Michelle used to be Bohdan Hluszko. When she was a he named Bohdan, gigs and studio work were plentiful. Life changed in a huge way when he became a she both personally and professionally. The work as much dried up.


I met this fantastic drummer when she crossed over the gender line and was Michelle and not Bohdan. I had heard the stories about this drummer for Prairie Oyster that had a sex change and various jokes and slights against her but never really paid much attention but now that I have been in a band with her for over two years now I have become friends with Michelle. She is a great drummer with wide time, good ears and really likes Bill Stewart who is one of my favourite jazz drummers. Even beyond the musician part of Michelle, she is a rock solid human being who I believe would have my back. I can honestly say that when I first met her I didn't really understand the whole gender change thing and found it different to say the least. I now know that it takes a hell of a lot of guts to believe in something so fiercely that you are willing to turn your whole life upside down to achieve it.


I always look forward to playing with Michelle and I really wish people would put the prejudices and close minded ideas aside and see her for the musician and the rock solid human being that she is.


On a lighter note I have been listening to:


Stevie Wonder's "Original Musicquaruim" which is basically a greatest hits recording. Man Stevie Wonder is so amazing. Great songs, fantastic grooves, awesome singer and a really fine bass player (left hand piano). I love this stuff.


Chicago's "Greatest Hits 1". Another great jazz rock band with catchy pop tunes but real depth to their writing and nice horn section. They were great before David Foster got a hold of them in the 80's.


Viktor Krauss: "Far From Enough" featuring Bill Frisell on guitars, Jerry Douglas on dobro and Steve Jordan on drums along with Viktor on bass. Viktor's famous sister Alison appears on one track which is Robert Plant's "The Log". Curious choice of tune since the two went on to record "Raising Sand" together a few years later and had never met. Nice recording and a real blend of roots music with a jazz improv approach much like another favourite group of mine "Sean Bray's Peach Trio".   :)


That's all for now.
If anyone is interested in guitar lessons and are either visiting or living in the Toronto area I can try to fit you in. braytunes@gmail.com

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