This Is Why We Don’t Let Jim Do Reviews

A Geezer’s Notebook, By Jim Foster

I always thought the Orillia Concert Association was a group of intellectuals fascinated with classical music. They have presented so many wonderful programs over the years.

Back in November the guest artist was Daniel Wnukowski, a brilliant pianist who has played all over the world in spite of the fact no one can spell his name. I’m sure even he has trouble with it and has to stare at it for a minute wondering if that is really how it is spelled or whether he should check his birth certificate. I thought it started with a Z but then I am not the sharpest knife in the drawer. I did such a bad job spelling Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky the Russians threatened to carpet-bomb Mississaga Street. Instead they kidnapped Samuel de Champlain’s statue and are holding him for ransom.

But every now and then they surprise me with a complete change of pace and this year they did it again.

Back in January, the 28th to be exact, the Orillia Concert Association hosted the Robinson-Davis Quartet. It was a fine afternoon of jazz at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church. The four musicians, Chris Robinson on tenor sax, Will Davis on piano, Dave Field on bass, and Omar Gittens on drums, played two hours of simply wonderful music. Had there been a cash bar, I would have stayed well into the evening, but there wasn’t so I went home.

Now, here I am going to spoil my review, as you knew I would. I am a lot like the scorpion who hitched a ride across a river on a frog’s back, then stung him once they were safely ashore. It’s just my nature; I can’t help it.

Now this is not the least bit critical of Chris Robinson’s talent, I think he is a superb musician and a damned good jazz singer. Granted he’s not as good-looking as Diana Krall or Madeleine Peyroux, but he’s passable. The problem is his eyebrows. Now here is where the trouble starts and where I could seriously damage his career. There is absolutely nothing wrong with his eyebrows considering he was born in Orillia but that wasn’t his fault.

Now here is where it gets tricky, it’s what he does with them and more important, do I tell him? You know how it is if you have a friend with a big nose, everyone is aware of it and often joke about it when he or she isn’t there. The problem is when they find out.

Let’s say you are sitting around with a gang on the deck at Couchiching Golf and Country Club, and just to make conversation hoping someone will buy a round, you casually remark, “You know Felicity, in spite of your big nose you are fairly attractive.”

“My what?”

“Well you know, that’s pretty big honker you have there, it must cost a fortune for sunscreen; definitely Walmart or Costco for that stuff.’

For the rest of her life, every time the poor girl looks in a mirror there it is – as large as life, maybe larger.

(By the way if your name happens to be Felicity, I’m not talking about your nose this is another Felicity. No one ever looks at your nose, dear, not with a chest like that.)

I was in the last row and I noticed it in the very first number, All Blues. Whenever Chris went for the high notes on the tenor sax his eyebrows rose and after he hit the notes, they lowered. At first I thought he was winking at me. Maybe all musicians do that I don’t know. I couldn’t see Will’s eyebrows he was always looking down at the piano keyboard, Dave was plunking away on his guitar and I couldn’t see what his were doing. I don’t know if Omar even had eyebrows he was grinning all the time. I kept wondering who his dentist was and whether he or she would accept our dental plan.

Now, do you see what I have done? Chris didn’t know the audience wasn’t listening and had no idea what or if even he was playing. They looked like they were enjoying themselves and I’m sure they were, but it wasn’t his music that spellbound them, it was his eyebrows.

Now every time he plays a gig (a gig is not a musical instrument it is what professionals call it when they are getting paid.) he will remember this column thinking, ‘I hope that jerk Foster isn’t out there. He knows next to nothing about jazz, or anything else by the looks of him. Maybe if I wore a hat and pulled the brim down. Damn, why did he have to bring my eyebrows up?’

By the way, Chris Robinson and Will Davis will be at the Couchiching Brewery on Mississaga Street. Sunday afternoon February 25, March 10, and March 24th. Good stuff. don’t miss it.

(Image Supplied)

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