The Achromatics shines on wide spectrum of sounds on new release | 171129We | Shows for Wednesday, November 29, 2021

The Achromatics -COURTESY

-by Beverly Kreller, SPEAK Music


Think Earth, Wind and Fire meets Enrique Iglesias, The Supremes meet Carlos Santana, and you have Toronto band The Achromatics.

On their debut album, being released tonight at Hugh’s Room (2261 Dundas St. W.) They move effortlessly between R&B, Blues, Soul, Pop, tasty Funk, Jazz and Latin/world styles, all the while dazzling audiences at festivals and venues throughout Ontario. The group, which recently received a nomination for a Toronto Independent Music Award for the Best World category, transmits sound and experience without distinguishing between genres. A truly Canadian band, it’s their mission to create good music that is accessible to everyone.

Give Me that Beat definitely accomplishes that. It opens up with “Let it Play,” a big, bold and brassy tune, as befits an anthem of personal freedom and self-confidence. A perfect mash-up of Latin Jazz horns/rhythms/backing vocals in one section, with fuzz-guitar Funk and James Brown-style lead vocals (by band leader Jay Vazquez) in another, and anchored by an outstanding sax break.

From soft congas and mellow acoustic Flamenco-guitar opening touches, to a captivating horn chart, “Dangerous Game” – A song about how we all love playing with fire —even if we get burned— has it all, leading into an almost cumbia-like chorus, complete with melodica. It features an insanely funky break, building up from drums to add bass, piano, two different but simultaneous horn lines, then exploding with electric lead guitar and a louder, higher horn.

The Achromatics -COURTESY

The title track provides lease-breaking party music to make you get up, dance, and release your inhibitions. Sung by Shannon Graham, this is one that would go great on a playlist next to Stevie Wonder or Jamiroquai, with disco drums, propulsive bass, and punchy brass to keep your feet on the go. If you want to Salsa dance, “Alien From A Strange Nation” is the one for you, with a lyrical reminder that we’re all foreigners or immigrants in some way. It highlights pure Latin Jazz, as befits the title.

“Chameleon” rolls from a sweet opening guitar-scratch into an overpowering, sweeping set of horns, and back down to the quiet verse, again sung by Graham. Soulful vocals and sweet harmonies in the explosive chorus, carry this song about the power to change, whether it’s your clothes —or yourself!

Propelled by a sweet Fender Rhodes electric piano, and a bluesy B.B. King-styled electric guitar, “Lover’s Prayer” is a passionate ballad about how no matter how in love we are, we’re still afraid of pain and disillusion. The sweetness of the gorgeous harmonies in the melodic chorus offset the sadness crying out in the verses.

The song I Need You” features a synthesizer in the intro and is Latin Pop that Shakira could cover with pride, as is “Waiting On You,” which showcases another perfect bridge between Pop choruses and funky verses.

A unique addition to the album, “Moctezuma” opens with tribal rhythms and Aztec flutes, then shifts into a funky conga/bass/Fender Rhodes workout, and provides the album’s only synthesizer solo. The song offers a look into Moctezuma II’s heart as he learns that the first conquistadors are heading to his kingdom of Tenochtitlan.

Alternating English and Spanish verses, the final track “Wake Up” urges listeners not to live their waking lives asleep – to engage in life to the fullest, share love, and dance. The song demonstrates letter-perfect Latin Pop, full of sweet harmonies, propulsive horns, percolating beats, passionate vocals, a Flamenco acoustic guitar solo, and a wild flute. A great way to leave the listener on a positive note.

The Achromatics are: Jay Vazquez on guitar, vocals; Shannon Graham on tenor sax, vocals; Chelsea McBride on baritone sax, alto sax, flute, vocals; Kathryn Scobie on trombone, vocals; Megan Jutting on trumpet; Matt De Luca on bass; Reuven Grajner on keys, melodica, vocals; Aaron Spink on drums; and Josh Molina on congas and bongos.

Admission for the 8:30 p.m. show is just $25 and includes a copy of the album.

SHOW LISTINGS for Wednesday, November 29, 2021

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*6-8pm> The Rock-A-Round with Slim Tim @ ~ Rockabilly tracks (from UK, repeat show from previous Friday)


*5-8> Tony Quarrington @ Boland’s Open Kitchen, 575 Mount Pleasant Rd. ~solo Jazz guitar; $0

6-8> Makeda Murata “Discovery Through The Arts” with guests Rob Christian; more @ 120 Diner, 120 Church St. ~Jazz; $10-20/pwyc

6> The Hope State @ Cameron House (front), 408 Queen St. W. ~indie

6-8> James Dunbar @ Jazz Bistro, 251 Victoria St. ~piano solo Jazz; $

6:30> Thompson Egbo-Egbo @ The Rex, 194 Queen St. W. ~Jazz; $

6:30> The Wrecks; Brick _ Mortar; lovelytheband @ Hard Luck Bar, 772 Dundas St. W.

**7 (7 p.m. sign-up open stage at 8) with 9 p.m. feature by Robert Priest @ Fat Albert’s, 25 Cecil St. (Steelworkers Hall) ~songwriters

7> Songwriters Association of Canada Toronto Regional Songwriters Group with Rosita Stone; Roger Beckett + open mic @ Free Times Cafe, 320 College St. ~songwriters; $0

*7> Jim Heineman Trio @ Nawlins, 299 King St. W. ~Jazz

7> Chapter 7 @ The Cavern Bar, 76 Church St. ~indie; $

7> Bobby Bazini; Elliot Maginot @ Mod Club, 722 College St. ~contemporary original; $

7> Thrice; Circle Survive @ Rebel, 11 Polson St. ~Metal/Grunge/Hard-core; $

*7-10> Blues jam with Mark Stafford & Ken Yoshioka @ Alleycatz, 2409 Yonge St.

7:30> The Brownies feat. Pamela Attariwala, Nilan Perera, Nicole Rampersaud & Dehashis Sin @ Tranzac Club (Southern Cross), 292 Brunswick Ave. TO

**8-12> Girls Night Out Jazz singers’ jam with Lisa Particelli, Peter Hill et al @ 120 Diner, 120 Church St. ~$10-20/pwyc

8> Gordon Shawcross & Burke Carroll anniversary show @ Graffiti’s, 170 Baldwin St.

8> Jann Arden with symphony orchestra @ Massey Hall, 178 Victoria St.

8-10:30> Arash Behzadi @ Jazz Bistro, 251 Victoria St. ~solo piano Jazz; $

*8-11> open mic @ Ram In The Rye, 63 Gould St. (Ryerson University)

6> Rob Szabo @ Cameron House (front), 408 Queen St. W. ~songwriter

8-1> open mic with hosts Aberdeen Alley Cats @ The Boat, 158 Augusta Ave.

8> The Tea Party (first of five nights) @ Horseshoe Tavern, 370 Queen St. W. ~contemporary original; $

*8> John Bellisario hosts weekly Jazz jam @ The Music Box, 3434 Bathurst St.

*8:30-11> Lonesome Ace Stringband @ Imperial Pub, 54 Dundas St. E. ~Rockabilly/Country; pwyc

8:30> Junior; Rival Town; Duck Fee; Sedge @ Cherry Cola’s, 200 Bathurst St. ~indie; $

9> open mic @ H Bar, 859 Queen St. W.

9> open Funik/Jazz/Hip Hop jam with hosts Two-Bit @ Nocturne, 550 Queen St. W.

9> The Digs @ Reservoir Lounge, 52 Wellington St. E. ~Funk/Jazz/neo-Soul; $

9> Dave; Long Range Hustle; Alex McCulloch @ Cameron House (rear), 408 Queen St. W.

*9 (signup at 8:30)> open mic with Alan Carter @ Lowdown, 276 Augusta Ave.

9> Jordan John Trio @ Poetry Jazz Café, 224 Augusta Ave. ~Blues/R&B; $10

*9-2> What’s Poppin’ indie jam @ Sneaky Dee’s, 431 College St.

9> Free and Improvised @ May Café, 876 Dundas St. W. ~eclectic indie/Jazz/electronica

*9:30-2> The All Nighters open jam @ Lola, 40 Kensington Ave.

9:30> Matt Lagan Quintet @ The Rex, 194 Queen St. W. ~Jazz; $

10> Steve Marriner @ Cameron House (front), 408 Queen St. W.

10> See Through Your Music feat. Pete Johnston @ Tranzac Club (Southern Cross), 292 Brunswick Ave. TO ~Jazz

10-2> Jeremy De Freitas @ The Hideout, 423 College St.

10-2> Action Sound Band @ Grossman’s, 379 Spadina Ave. TO

*10:30> The LMT Connection @ Orbit Room, 580 College St. TO ~Funk/R&B; $10

Midnight-2am> Boozy Broadway open stage @ 120 Diner, 120 Church St.


6:30> “Music for MS” fundraiser with Frankie Dee & Sugar Rush; Jeremy Smith; Julie Long & Fergus Hambleton; more @ Balmy Beach Club, 1 Beech Ave. ~eclectic; $25

7> FuntCase @ The Danforth Music Hall, 147 Danforth Ave. ~contemporary original; $

*7:30-10:30> The BTBs @ Relish, 2152 Danforth Ave. ~Jazz; 0$

7:30-10> The Tequila Mockingbirds @ Hirut Café, 2050 Danforth Ave. ~drop-in choir; $0

8:30-10:30> Jeremy Rouse @ Castro’s, 2116 Queen St. E.

*9:30> open stage with Nicola Vaughan @ Black Swan Tavern (downstairs), 154 Danforth Ave.


8-1> Phil & John @ Timothy’s Pub, 344 Brown’s Line  ~acoustic Pop covers & originals

*9-1> open mic with Daniel Gagnon @ The Old Sod, 2936 Bloor St. W.

9-12> Space Jazz jam @ Placebo Space, 2877 Lake Shore Blvd. W. ~Jazz; $5/pwyc


6-8> Laura Cortese & The Dance Cards @ Burdock, 1184 Bloor St. W.  ~songwriter; $15

*7-10> Blues Night with Julian Fauth & guests @ Gate 403, 403 Roncesvalles Ave. ~original Juno-winning Blues

7:30> Harley Card @ Alchemy, 890 College St. ~Jazz

*8-10> Emily Devlin & Nathan Arges @ The Oakwood Hardware, 337 Oakwood Ave. ~Rock/Top 40 covers

8-11> Gillian Nicola, Abigail Lapell, Dana Sipos, Rory Taillon in the round @ The Painted Lady, 218 Ossington Ave. ~songwriters; $10/pwyc

8> The Funk Hunters @ Drake Hotel, 1150 Queen St. W. ~Funk/R&B/Soul

8> Zavier Omär @ The Great Hall, 1078 Queen St. W. ~contemporary original; $

*8-11> Fraser/Daley @ Inter Steer, 357 Roncesvalles Ave. ~original Rootsy Blues

8:30-10:30> Hump Night Blues with host band featuring Dave McManus & George Baumann & special guest Jake Chisholm @ Axis, 3048 Dundas St. W. ~Blues

8:30> Sam Tudor @ Burdock, 1184 Bloor St. W.  ~songwriter; $10

8:30> The Achromatics recording release for Give Me That Beat @ Hugh’s Room, 2261 Dundas St. W. ~original Motown/Latin fusion; $25 includes cd

9> Surefire Sweat @ The Emmet Ray, 924 College St. ~original Funk/Afro/Motown; pwyc

9> BAD River; neon Wave; Parks at Night; Smooches @ Smiling Buddha, 961 College St. ~indie; $

9> ARI @ The Piston, 937 Bloor St. W. ~indie; $

9> Ron Davis & Ross McIntyre @ Mezzetta, 681 St. Clair Ave. W. ~Jazz; $10

9> James McEleney Band @ The Local, 396 Roncesvalles Ave. ~Country/Roots-Rock/Rockabilly

*9:30> Spy vs Spy vs Sly @ Reposado, 136 Ossington Ave. ~Jazz; 0$

*10:30> Luke Vajsar @ Motel Bar, 1235 Queen St. W. ~Jazz


*6-9> Dano & Jaye @ Ray’s Bistro, 1475 Queen St. W., Alton ~smooth Pop/Jazz

7:30> Celtic Session @ Penny Whistle, 2 Quebec St., Guelph

8> Gary Diggins & Barbara Dametto @ Silence, 46 Essex St., Guelph

8> John Zadro @ Manhattan’s Guelph, 951 Gordon St., Guelph

8> jam night with Ian Taylor @ Pops & Ruby’s Tap & Grill, 200 Preston Pkwy., Cambridge

8> John Lee & The Hookers host Blues jam @ Rhapsody Barrel Bar, 179 King St. W., Kitchener

8> Matt Weidinger Band @ Lancaster Smokehouse, 574 Lancaster St. W., Kitchener

*8-11> A New Ground @ Churchill Arms, 355 Erb St. W., Waterloo ~Celtic

8:30> Wooden Bridge @ Red Brick Café, 8 Douglas St., Guelph

9> Tim Louis @ Kiwi Gastropub, 47 Dickson St., Cambridge

*10> Mike Todd @ The Duke, 33 Erb St., Waterloo


*7-11> open jam with The Freacon Band @ The Beacon, 146 45th St., Wasaga Beach ~ Blues, Jazz; $5

*8> open stage @ Dobro Restaurant, 287 George St. N., Peterborough

*8> Booth Street Records Christmas party with Ken Tizzard & The Random Stangers @ Churck-key Pub, 26 Bridge St. W., Campbellford

*9-12:30> Josh Morgan & Mike Francis @ Donaleigh’s Irish Public House, 28 Dunlop St. E., Barrie ~acoustic Pop covers & originals

9> Cody Watkins @ McThirsty’s Pint, 166 Charlotte St., Peterborough

10> Jessica Moss; Ben Shemie @ The Garnet, 231 Hunter St. W., Peterborough ~songwriters; $?

905 EAST

6> Doug Libby @ Simcoe Blues & Jazz, 926 Simcoe St. N., Oshawa

*8> open stage and karaoke with Eddy Culjak @ Boston Pizza, 20 Taunton Rd., Whitby

*8-11> open mic @ Frank’s Pasta, 426 King St. E., Cobourg

*8-10:30> open mic jam with Rob Foreman & Clayton Yates @ Ganaraska Hotel, 30 Ontario St., Port Hope

9> open mic @ The Moustache Club, 15 Simcoe St. N., Oshawa

*10> Two For The Show @ Tartan Tavern, 555 Rossland Rd. E., Oshawa ~Pop Rock

*10> Emerson Ireland hosts open mic jam @ The Gryphon Pub, 114 Dundas St. E., Whitby


*7> open mic night with Tanya Joy Senior @ Col. McGrady’s Pub, 44 Brock St. W., Uxbridge

8-12> open mic with Kevin Ker (sign up at 7:30) @ Unionville Arms, 189 Main St., Unionville

*8:30-12:30> Jared Christopher Stafford @ Falcon & Firkin, 10300 Yonge St., Richmond Hill ~acoustic Pop covers & originals

8:30-11:30> open mic & acoustic jam with Don Fleming & Laurence Walters @ Father’s Moustache Grill, Aurora, 15570 Yonge St.


8> acoustic jam with Frank Logue @ Shepherd’s Crook, 86 Main St. S., Georgetown

*8:45> open mic jam with Matt Zady @ Magnums, 21 McMurchy Ave. N., Brampton

*9-1> open mic jam with Whiskey Birds @ Sweetz Lounge, 5289 Hwy 7, Woodbridge-Vaughan

*10-2> jam night with Switchbeat Trio @ Maguires, 284 Queen St. E., Brampton


7:30> open mic with Keith Toms @ Staircase Bistro, 27 Dundurn St. N., Hamilton

8-1> open jam with RatRod @ Corktown Pub, 175 Young St., Hamilton

8> Chris Murray & guests @ Casbah Lounge, 306 King St. W., Hamilton

8> Romancer; Pfloog; Math Club; Den Mother @ Doors: Taco Joint & Metal Bar, 56 Hess St. Hamilton ~indie; $

8> Chris Chambers or Adam Ostrosser @ Thirsty Cactus, 2 King St. E., Dundas

*8:30> Something Country @ The Endzone, 1900 King St. E., Hamilton ~Country

9> Singalong with Judy Marsales @ Coach & Lantern, 384 Wilson St E., Hamilton ~Rock/Top 40

*9> open mic with Alfie Smith @ L’Etranger on James, 109 James St. N., Hamilton

9> Burning Hell; Wax Mannequin; Dog Is Blue @ This Ain’t Hollywood, 345 James St. N., Hamilton ~indie; $

*10> Jazz jam @ Cat N Fiddle Hamilton, 174 John St., S., Hamilton

905 WEST

*4:30> Adam Cooke @ SB Prime, 380 Brant St., Burlington

*6-10> open mic with host Dan Walek @ Lucy’s Seafood Kitchen, 6905 Millcreek Dr., Mississauga

7> open mic with Gillian Nicola @ Copper Kettle Waterdown, 312 Dundas St. E., Waterdown

8> jam with The Grindstones @ American House, 324 Dundas St. E., Waterdown

*8:30> The Carson Freeman Diversion with guest @ Shore Grill, 71 Lakeshore Rd. E., Port Credit ~Pop Jazz

9-1> Kevin Reid and the Dedbeats @ Roc’n Doc’s, 105 Lakeshore Rd. E., Port Credit ~Rock/Pop; $

9-1> John Marlatt & Friends @ Moonshine Café, 137 Kerr St., Oakville ~songwriters; $5

*9> open mic with Michael Zane @ Shakers Oakville, 589 Kerr St., Oakville


Listings are organized by area in which the shows occur and within each area field shows are listed chronologically.

Listings preceded by an asterisk (*) are repeating weekly events. (Double asterisk indicates repeating event with different hosts/guest/etc.). Events preceded by question mark (?) usually take place but have not been confirmed. Admission prices followed by a slash and minus (/-) after the amount indicates door charge with availability of cheaper rates for some purchases. /+ indicates stated price is minimum.

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