If you were the betting kind familiar with the history of music promoter and versatile drummer Jon Long and the longtime live music room Black Swan at 154 Danforth Ave., you could be collecting some winnings right about now.
To this writer it was as inevitable as the fact that, no matter how bleak the weather may seem right now, eventually it will be replaced by Spring, that Jon and his Danforth Jam crew would be returning to the club to reclaim their Wednesday night jam spot at some point.
Of course, some might have thought that the fact that super-host Nicola Vaughan has been running a very successful acoustic open stage on the club’s ground floor stage on Wednesdays for the past several months might mitigate against that possibility. Perhaps they forgot that the Swan also has an upstairs lounge/concert venue that is where, after all, the Danforth Jam got its name.
Those who attended Long’s highly successful Danforth Jam Festival on both clubs last April 13 got a foretaste of what to expect when, starting this Wed. Jan. 29, Long returns to run his jam upstairs while Vaughan continues to host the open stage on the ground floor. That event showed the two could work together very well indeed, as both rooms were packed with players and listeners.
Long has been staging shows across the city over the past few months since starting his new Long Shot Productions company but has never given up his love for the Swan, where he’s been appearing Wednesdays since what seems like forever but must be well over a decade now.
To kick off the new event he’ll have help from some of the Long Shot artists he’s working with, including Southern/indie Rock sensation Mena Hardy, who will be guesting with the band and shooting a live video of one of the tunes from her forthcoming new album of originals. This woman’s amazing voice and magnetic stage presence leaves everyone who sees her in awe and an instant fan.
Also in the vocals department Long has a long-time favourite of the west-Danforth scene, singer Rod Clark of the Crazy Babies tribute to Ozzy and Black Sabbath, coming out to do a set and no doubt help with hosting. Many players recall fondly the days when Clark used to run his own weekly jam across the street Thursdays at the old Rio bar –now a medical clinic L.
As for the house band backing these powerhouse singers, it’ll include guitarist Frank Wilks,who has been teamed up lately with Long and bassist Johnny Bootz Hutt as The Long Boots trio performing in a variety of venues to good response. Hutt hosts a Wednesday jam of his own (at Lola in Kensington Market) so can’t take part in the Wednesday revival but another talented 4-string veteran Jeff Lazare, will look after bottom-end duties, while Long will man the kit of course.
(Wilks, btw, will also be returning to the room this Friday, Jan. 31, for a show featuring classic Rock faves and many of the originals from his many albums –for $10 you get a free cd of your choice!)
Is Jon Long crazy, some people ask? Absolutely, I reply. Like a fox. -Gary 17