Global Toronto Showcase July 31st! 

Hey everyone, Global Toronto was supposed to be a live conference that would bring international and domestic presenters and other music industry folk to Toronto, where a curated group of performers would get the chance to showcase themselves.  My Sicilian Jazz Project was one of those chosen acts, and I'm pleased to share that Global Toronto is still happening, but that the organizers are taking it online.  While we would all rather meet people in person, the upside to this situation is the organizers have…

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Happy International Jazz Day!!! 

Happy International Jazz Day! I have to confess I'm not super driven to shoot video of myself playing jazz at home right now, I'm itching to move some air in the same space as someone else. So instead I offer this, ten musicians who directly changed my jazz life not named Occhipinti (because there's no question that my brother Roberto Occhipinti, and Peter, and my cousin David all helped shape my early interest in music): 

In no particular order and for no particular reason (and to clear, this is a far from…

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Upcoming Gigs All Canceled...Fingers Crossed For When They Happen Again! 

Well, I've taken down my "Upcoming Gigs" page for now, just because everything is either canceled or on hold for now.  Elizabeth Shepherd and I are supposed to be on tour from June 20-July 12 doing Canada's Jazz Festivals and other shows, and while they haven't been canceled, I can't say for certain they'll proceed.  The next few weeks of social distancing and isolation and what they do to the covid 19 virus will probably decide.  The good news is I've been succeeding in my goal of writing at least a couple…

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Covid 19 

Well, with my wife having returned from a trip to Cuba, we're following Toronto Public Health's guidelines and self-isolating (and Toronto in general is doing that).

Like every musician I know, my gigs and teaching have been canceled (except for some video guitar lessons), and we're all looking forward to the federal government announcing some financial relief measures.   We're all missing our contact with other musicians and friends, but I'm trying to stay positive and use it as a time to do things with my…

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Agents - the Good, the Bad, The Ugly 

Ok I'm a musician first, but since I am booking shows at Hugh's Room Live, I do get to see things from a different perspective too, and I'm learning a lot about agents and what I like/don't like. Maybe these general thoughts are useful to those of you with agents, or seeking an agent, or maybe if you are an agent. 

Some agents literally write me " JOE SCHMOE(name of artist). Interested?" 

I have to admit, I'm usually not interested if that's all the agent wants to share with me, unless we're talking about…

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Inside My Concert Booking Mind: Feel Free to Propose Shows & Send Suggestions! 

I've been one of the programmers at Hugh's Room Live in Toronto for a few months now, and while we got off to a slightly shaky start because a few of the other new team members decided they couldn't do it afterall, Blair Packham and I, together with manager Mary Stewart, have settled into a great working relationship.  We're constantly trying to improve things and attract new and younger fans as well, which is why we introduced student pricing for certain shows.  The Hugh's Room Live menu has had an…

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How YOU can support live music! 

Social Media doesn't have to all be about lousy politicians, sometimes you discover great information and comments.  Such is the case with this great post from singer Willa Mamet on how YOU can support you local musicians and music scene.  It's a great read, but hopefully you make note a few of the suggestion and take action!

I'm Now Booking Shows at Hugh's Room Live in Toronto 

Over the years I've had the chance to serve as Artistic Director for Lakefield Music Camp and the Markham Jazz Festival, and I'm excited to now be part of the Artistic Team booking shows at Hugh's Room Live in Toronto.  It's one of the best clubs around, with a great listening audience and fantastic sound and sight lines.  The booking as always been eclectic, featuring singer-songwriters, blues, world and jazz groups, and large tribute shows that bring together diverse musicians.  I'm happy to be the main…

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Flying with Guitars 

As I look forward to touring in Europe with Elizabeth Shepherd later this month, I also have to plan for a few discount airlines where I'm doubtful of geting my guitar on board in its gig bag the way I do in Canada with Air Canada (I hear lots of complaints about Air Canada, but they have my loyalty over Westjet here simply because their website says that guitars in soft cases are allowed as long as they fit in the overhead, and since then I've had no issues other than once or twice having to direct the…

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Learning solos 

I attended the jazz workshop at the Banff Centre for the Arts in 1991, and the amazing saxophonist Bunky Green was one of the faculty that year.  Bunky suggested that we take a song or an album that we liked, and learn every solo on it (he wanted us to go so far as to know what the drummer was doing on his cymbals).  I took his advice when I was traveling around Europe and working on a cruise ship, only bringing a couple of cassettes (Walkman days!) with me so that I would have to get really familiar with…

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