Articles written by: Irwin Block

American songbook: An intimate chat with jazz pianist Barry Harris
Features

American songbook: An intimate chat with jazz pianist Barry Harris

When a musical legend comes to town, you don’t want to miss the show. When the concert is in the intimacy of a club seating fewer than 100, you make your reservations immediately. That is the setup for the return to Montreal of pianist Barry Harris, 83, an active teacher […]

Folk Festival on the Canal: Guitarist Roger McGuinn headlines
Reviews & Previews

Folk Festival on the Canal: Guitarist Roger McGuinn headlines

Montreal’s Folk Fest on the Canal—newest kid on the spring festival block—is back with an exciting program well worth checking out June 12-15. Much of it is free and outdoors. If the weather cooperates, it’s a winner. Last summer, we dropped by and came away with a happy buzz, thanks […]

Djuna Barnes
What's Happening

Bloomsday Festival: McGill gets intimate with James Joyce

James Joyce is celebrated as one of the giants of 20th-century English Lit, but how many have read his challenging prose? You are invited, along with those who have read his masterwork, Ulysses, to get to know Joyce’s stream-of-consciousness writing in a series of films, lectures, live music and staged […]

Montreal International Jazz Festival: Meet the greats during jazz series
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Montreal International Jazz Festival: Meet the greats during jazz series

Getting to hear the greatest musicians in concert is the essence of Montreal’s annual international jazz festival, but you can do more than just listen. Music fans can get deeper into the minds of the men and women who make the music—what motivates and inspires top jazz artists to excel—in […]

Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children: Cash, no apology for former victims
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Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children: Cash, no apology for former victims

Harriet Johnson was raped when she was a helpless 9-year-old and a ward of the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children in Dartmouth, outside Halifax. When hearing that the home, faced with a class-action lawsuit, has agreed to pay a total of $5 million to victims of abuse, Johnson—a Montreal […]

Victoriaville music festival: Organized, improvised sound
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Victoriaville music festival: Organized, improvised sound

Normally placid Victoriaville becomes a musical Mecca May 16, as musicians and fans from across North America gather for the 29th edition of the Festival International de Musique Actuelle. With 20 concerts over four days, it offers a panorama of musical territories and sonorities, expanding the possibilities of organized and improvised […]

Folk diva Judy Collins’ life an open songbook
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Folk diva Judy Collins’ life an open songbook

In the pantheon of musicians who emerged in the late 1950s and 1960s during the folk revival, holding a prominent place alongside Bob and Joan and Joni is clear-as-honey voiced Judy Blue Eyes. Listening again to the five LPs she recorded during that era, I was transfixed by Collins and […]

Montreal Chamber Music Festival screen grab
Reviews & Previews / What's Happening

Montreal Chamber Music Festival: First-class jazz is in the cards

Musical gems culled from three centuries played in small-group formations by top-tier performers—that and some first-class jazz is in the cards during the month-long Montreal Chamber Music Festival that gets underway this month. Talking about it with festival founder, cellist Dennis Brott, I returned in my mind to the marvelous […]

Book review: A Land to Die For? by David Ranan
Reviews & Previews

Book review: A Land to Die For? by David Ranan

Throughout Israel’s embattled history, it has been a badge of honour to serve in the country’s armed forces. For obvious reasons, public expressions of conscientious objections, draft dodging or anti-war sentiments have been virtually non-existent. While objections to the draft remain relatively marginal, there has been a change among Israeli […]

Retiring teachers’ union leader: ‘Easy-peasy it was not’
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Retiring teachers’ union leader: ‘Easy-peasy it was not’

Union leadership usually begins on a voluntary basis, when none of your colleagues wants to accept the challenge of standing up for a worker’s rights, in the office or on the shop floor. It puts you in conflict with management, marks you as “the enemy within” and exposes you to […]