Eye Weekly
showtimes concert chart listings classifieds
  GRAPEVINE  

Cashes in hand, jazz fest back on track

BY LIISA LADOUCEUR

The Cash Brothers celebrate a whole year of performing together with a gig Saturday (May 6) at the Horseshoe, but Andrew Cash says his project with brother Peter still feels like new.

"It's an odd thing, considering we have released about 11 or 12 albums combined, but I kind of feel that this is a brand-new act," he says. "It is so comfortable, so very right."

The duo is promoting its debut disc, Raceway, released independently last summer, which has been slowly receiving attention across the country -- unlike the days when Andrew was the first Canadian signed to Island Records and Peter was enjoying Capitol-funded capital with the Skydiggers. But that's a good thing.

"A good song is a good song," says Andrew. "It doesn't really matter to an audience how long the record has been out. With Raceway, people are discovering it a few at a time, and that's fine. It's such a great honour to have people like your music. The media gets caught up in who is selling a million records, but even if it's just a crowded club of people enjoying your songs, you can't lose sight of how special that is."

Although the Cash Brothers have recently played a few shows as an acoustic duo, this weekend's gig at the Horseshoe will feature the full band, including guitarist Gord Tugh, bassist Dave Taylor and drummer Randy Curnew.

DOWNTOWN JAZZ LINEUP ANNOUNCED

For all the worrying about lack of sponsorship for this year's du Maurier Downtown Jazz Festival, there are plenty of titled stages at the event. The first round of lineup announcements, revealed May 2, included the Toronto Star stage, the CTV Series, the CBC Radio 2 After Hours Weekend and the Heineken Red Star Series, in addition to all the gigs that will be performed under du Maurier banners.

The festival runs June 23 to July 2, and features a lineup including Elvin Jones, Olu Dara, Dianne Reeves, Joshua Redman, Jane Bunnett and Maceo Parker, among many others. As usual, there'll be both ticketed and free events, with the main stage moving to Nathan Phillips Square after many years on King Street. A major new feature is the Canada Day street party, which will shut down University Avenue for a salute to Louisiana (which for some reason includes a new Cajun pizza developed by Pizza Pizza!?).

More authentically Louisianan, perhaps, are the performances by New Orleans' Bryan Lee Blues Band, CJ Chenier and the Nils Landgren Funk Unit. For critics of the fest's traditional jazz stance, they're presenting the Night Life Series in conjunction with the JVC Jazz Festival, which sees acts like One Step Beyond play in various clubs. More on the jazz fest in the weeks ahead.

SAUKRATES SIGNS TO DEF JAM

Toronto rapper Saukrates has signed a worldwide deal with a new Def Jam imprint headed by New Jersey's Redman. The new alliance, which was feted at a Saukrates birthday bash last month, will be officially announced this week.

Sauk's much-publicized signing to Warner Bros. a few years back came to an end last fall after his album was shuffled more times than the label staff, forcing the artist to seek a new home. Manager Chase Parsons shopped a demo to Def Jam that caught the ear of Redman's manager, who heard it playing in the office and "was blown away," according to Saukrates publicist Mansa Trotman. The first fruits of the new deal will be recorded in both Toronto and New York over the next few months, with an anticipated release by year's end.

"Both Saukrates and Def Jam are anxious to begin work on his album so that they can ensure a timely release date," says Trotman. He'll be pulling overtime to attain that goal, as he's also doing production work with Maestro, Michie Mee and some other U.S. artists. "There is no such thing as time off for an artist like Saukrates," she says.

GUEST OF THE WEEK

Yes, that hulking figure you spotted last week just may have been Busta Rhymes. The wacky rapper was in town for a few days to shoot still more scenes for this summer's Shaft remake (in which he plays the sidekick Rasaan) and snuck in a few hours to mix some tracks from his upcoming disc, Anarchy (due June 20), at Metalworks studios.

Torstar Corporation Torstar Digital