Every second Saturday of the month, the stately Home Smith Bar is transformed into a back-porch blues jam with top Canadian blues artists swapping songs and raising the roof. BRIAN BLAIN hosts and plays bass and guitar and makes sure he invites only musicians who ‘play well with others’. Everybody plays along at the Campfire Jam.
Now celebrating 50 years as a recording artist, Brian is a major figure on the Toronto blues scene, both on stage and behind the scenes. Originally from the hills of Quebec’s Eastern Townships, he has produced 4 CDs and played with such blues pioneers as Hubert Sumlin and Long John Baldry and toured Europe three times, the last time backing Baldry’s long time collaborator, Kathi MacDonald.
He is well-known in Toronto as a chronicler (and blogger) of the blues scene, whether it’s writing songs about fellow musicians or whining about the music business. Jeffrey Morgan of the Detroit Metro Times wrote, “Now here’s something you don’t hear every day: a bluesman singin’ the blues about how lousy the blues singin’ business is these days.” Brian is a sincere artist with unique brand of slow-cooked, solid-groove folk blues – soulful, thoughtful, and always entertaining.
Tonight, BRIAN BLAIN’s featured guest is indefatigable blues piano legend and 2014 Maple Blues Award “Keyboardist of the Year”, LANCE ANDERSON. In 2015, Lance was music co-producer and performer on ‘Oscar With Love’ a critically acclaimed 3CD package that commemorated Oscar Peterson’s 90th birthday, that included some of the world’s top jazz pianists including Chick Corea, Ramsey Lewis, Michel Legrand, and Oliver Jones, playing Peterson compositions. It was released on December 11th, 2015. He performed ‘Sir Lancewell’ a new Peterson composition written for him, by the jazz great. Anderson spent ten years touring the world with Shakura S’Aida and wrote two Symphony shows for her. As musical director and session pianist, he has worked with Roger Whittaker, Shakura S’Aida, Danny Brooks, Jackie Richardson, John Finley, and many others. Lance premiered the two man theatrical production ‘Oscar Peterson – The Jazz Legend and the Man I Knew’ in 2013 at the Orillia Opera House and performed it at Barrie’s Classical Colours of Music festival in 2014. The show interweaves Oscar’s compositions with Lance’s personal anecdotes of working with Oscar and witnessing first hand the extent of Oscar’s genius.