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The Toronto Sun n Friday, May 20, 2011

Jazz soars at Ten Feet Tall
It ’s embar rassing that a w o r l d - c l a ss c i t y l i ke ou r s doesn’t boast a storied jazz club like New York’s Blue Note, Ronnie Scott’s in London or Body & Soul in Tokyo. Sure, we had the Top O’ The Senator and the Montreal Bistro, but they folded and there have been precious few attempts to fire up a replacement. The scene, of course, didn’t die with those closings and spots like Gallery 345, Chalkers Pub, the Dominion on Queen, The Old Mill’s Home Smith Bar, Grossman’s, China House, and Joe Mama’s, to name a few, have filled that void by booking ace local jazz musicians. It’s no secret that booking jazz or running a jazz bar is not the most profitable of ventures, but that hasn’t stopped an East End caf from adding a third jazz night to its roster. “Our Thursday night jazz jam was started for selfish reasons initially,” confesses Andrew Woodley, who manages Ten Feet Tall on the Danforth with Carin Redman. “We love jazz and we’re spoiled every week with being surrounded by some of the best musicians in Canada.

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“The East End has very few live jazz venues and there are a lot of jazz musicians living in this area, so this makes for a great opportunity for them to come and ‘work out’ with their peers,” he adds. The two say they were overwhelmed by the response to the first Thursday night jam. “We were amazed at the big turn out and how excited the musicians and audience were at the prospect of this being a weekly event,” Redman says. “There’s a very suppor tive community feel at Ten Feet Tall, it has a relaxed atmosphere where you can do your thing and truly be appreciated.” Last Friday, a day after telling me that the Thursday night jams are catching fire and that he never knows who’ll show up to play, Woodley sent me an email

informing me that drummer Jason Marsalis, a member of the famous Marsalis jazz family, sat it on drums the previous night. Ori Dagan, who performed at Ten Feet Tall a few weeks back, is back at the spot Saturday with Gillian Margot. They’ll be singing duets that Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong made famous. “Toronto has struggled to keep jazz jams alive,” he says. “Other than The Rex and Lisa Particelli’s vocalist-friendly Girls Night Out at Chalkers, there hasn’t been a venue that has embraced a weekly jam in a very long time. I believe having jazz jams is integral to keeping the scene healthy and alive.” Dagan says Ten Feet is “a fun

place to be, as the retro decor suggests when you first walk in. “The vibe is warm, the ambience inviting, the menu pleasing, and there’s a healthy local following of music appreciators that love to listen.” Dagan, who’s been working with Margot on Saturday night’s show for a long time, calls her “a polished and classy performer who makes excellent musical decisions. “When I first heard her singing, I was completely knocked out; not only is her voice beautiful, but she sings from the heart.” NOTE: Ten Feet Tall is at 1381 Danforth Ave. For more information, call 416-778-7333 or visit tenfeettall.ca

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