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Sunday, May 28th

Sunday, May 28th


Jewish Brunch Buffet with Ichka (Montréal)

Free Times Café (320 College Street)

Live music as part of the "Bella did you eat" Sunday brunch.
1st seating - Reserve between 10:30 – 11am, music at 11:45
2nd seating - Reserve at 1:15pm Club (1:00 Bistro), music at 1:45

Buffet includes over 50 Homemade Items - Potato latkes, blintzes, lox eggs & onions, challah, french toast, sour cream, apple sauce, bagels, lox & cream cheese mix, salmon patties, gelfilte fish, cheese, salads galore, fresh fruit, cheeses, cakes, sweets, tea, coffee and much more! Children 12 and under 1/2 price, 3 and under free.

Ichka is a young quartet playing Klezmer music comprised of clarinettist Julien Biret, violinist Isaac Beaudet, trombonist Eli Richards and accordionist Laurence Sabourin.

Their story started in Montreal in February, 2012, during evening Klezmer jams. Laurence Sabourin and Julien Biret were already playing as a duo. Upon meeting Eli Richards, they discovered their desire to start a band drawing from the origines of Klezmer music, and to use it to renew and reinevent it. Ichka really took form with the arrival of Isaac Beaudet on violin. The arrival of a second melodic instrument allowed them to interpret and personalize the traditional klezmer repertoire. Just a few months after they started playing together, they found themselves thrown into the Montreal world music scene, being invited to play various festivals and concerts.

More About Ichka

Monk's Music

The Emmet Ray (924 College Street)
Michael Davidson (vibraphone)

Michael Davidson
Michael Davidson is a Toronto-based vibraphonist in the improvised, jazz, and creative music scene.

He works with many of the active jazz and improvised music players in Toronto including: David Occhipinti, Nick Fraser, Brodie West, Ryan Driver, Rob Clutton, David French, Harley Card, Andrew Downing, Alex Goodman, Jim Vivian, Darren Sigesmund, Ethan Ardelli, Fabio Ragnelli, Felicity Williams, Dan Fortin, Jon Maharaj, Allison Au, Rebecca Hennessy, David Braid, and Michael Herring.

Michael leads a chamber jazz septet with cello, voice, bass clarinet, vibraphone, alto sax, double bass, and drums, which is his main compositional outlet.

He also co-leads the chamber jazz quartet Hobson's Choice, who in the words of CBC's The Signal host Laurie Brown,

"...has made a unique contribution to the Canadian scene with their debut album (of the waves). Just when I think I have the sound pegged, they switch things up."

Michael approaches improvising with passion and stunning sensitivity, as well as Monk-like wit. He is an active composer in the realm of jazz, and his inventive compositions are featured in The Michael Davidson Septet, and Hobson's Choice.

He has been composing seriously since 2001 and has received funding from The TAC, The OAC, and The CCFTA for his original projects. Recently, Michael composed and recorded a film score for the BravoFact film, "She Sings for Me."

His compositions have received praise from esteemed Canadian jazz drummer/ composer Barry Elmes,

"Not only are his songs creative and well crafted, each one has a story to tell."

Michael is also a devoted educator through his work at Humber College in the jazz program.

You can hear Michael playing around Toronto with The Michael Davidson Septet, Hobson's Choice, Pocket Camera, Monk's Music, The Dan Fortin Quartet, Bedroom, df md df trio, Ben Gunning, and Ryan Driver. These ensembles represent the diversity of Michael's musical interests, spanning from contemporary jazz to chamber to improvised. Both his original material and his interpretation of standard repertoire are evocative and communicative with the intensity of someone who, while madly in love with the tradition, has something new to say.


Annie Bonsignore + Special Guests

Free Times Café (320 College Street)
Annie Bonsignore (voice/piano)

Annie Bonsignore
Annie Bonsignore is a South African born singer/songwriter/performer/arranger/pianist and producer who has been living in Toronto, Canada for 12 years.

Annie was born into a family of passionate musicians and began singing and playing the piano at the tender age of five, composing music by the age of nine and singing professionally by eleven. She was a top ten finalist in South Africa's "Coca Cola Popstars" competition before moving to Canada, and taught voice and chorus at numerous schools in South Africa. She has performed nationally in South Africa and recently released her self produced album of original songs 'Shades of Red'. Annie's first single 'Best of Me' has been featured on CBC's Fresh Air as well as CBC's Saskastoon Afternoon Edition. In July 2015, another original song 'Feel for You' from the album is being used as the theme song in a massive charity campaign for the Youthdale Foundation (a charity for children's mental illness.)

Annie maintains a thriving voice studio in downtown Toronto and also does session singing and writing for jingles and TV. She performs in and around Toronto where she has a steady fan base of friends and admirers that she has drawn in with her extraordinary voice, immense talent, stage presence and natural charm. Annie's original music is emotional and raw with layers of piano, vocals and harmonies. Annie sings a vast range of genres, such as Jazz, Country, Classic Rock, Contemporary hits, Original music, Pop and even Opera.

More About Annie Bonsignore

Aaron Shragge: Dirt In The Ground CD Release

The Emmet Ray (924 College Street)
Aaron Shragge (shakuhachi/trumpet), Ted Crosby (saxophone), Steve Raegele (guitar), Daniel Fortin (bass), Nico Dann (drums)

This jazz quintet interprets the unique beauty of the songs Tom Waits. As an ensemble they create haunting and blissful sonic landscapes that draw upon the simplicity of the songs as the source of their interplay and improvisations. Their first record Innocent When You Dream: Celebrating The Music of Tom Waits was released through Jazz Collective Records in 2010.

More About Aaron Shragge

Monday, May 29th

Monday, May 29th


Nebyu Yohannes

The Emmet Ray (924 College Street)
Mingjia Chen (voice), Matt Lagan (saxophone), Deniz Lim-Sersan (drums/voice), Hayden Farrar (bass), Alfie Vienneau (drums), Nebyu Yohannes (trombone)
More About Nebyu Yohannes

Michael Burton hosts Open Stage Mondays

Free Times Café (320 College Street)
Michael Burton (voice/guitar)

Signup at 7pm.

Every Monday, all artists are welcomed to sign up and share their songs, poetry, prose or comedy act on Toronto's longest-running open stage; local artists, or those visiting Toronto are encouraged to attend. Here are some of the artists who started their careers at the Free Times open stage: Jason Fowler, Jory Nash, Kat Goldman, Ron Sexsmith, Emm Gryner, Laura Fernandez, Sarah Slean, Noah Zacharin, The Lemon Bucket Orkestra.

Michael Burton
Long time singer-songwriter, club director, concert producer (including "Hearts Of Song"), festival and stage host far and wide, Michael Burton brings a lifetime of devotion to the exacting acoustic folk standards set by Canada's finest artists. With "Real Life" as the over-arching criteria, he draws on experiential and observational stories to fuel his songwriting. Using the acoustic guitar and voice, he delivers a credible, sensitive lyrical story experience for audiences. From his background of engineer, boatbuilder and mariner, and a long list of places he's called home (and always a busy arts proponent), Michael is delighted to present the "Hearts Of Song" concept and the wonderful lineup for your listening pleasure.

More About Michael Burton

Hans Luchs (Chicago)

The Emmet Ray (924 College Street)
Hans Luchs (guitar)
More About Hans Luchs

Wednesday, May 31st

Wednesday, May 31st


Westwood Concerts Presents: Hearing Double

Gallery 345 (345 Sorauren Avenue)
Michael Westwood (clarinet), James Petry (clarinet), Megumi Okamoto (piano)

Not one, but TWO clarinetists performing a show stopping and not commonly performed music for two clarinets by Poulenc, Mendelssohn, Krommer, and Joplin! This will be an incredibly fun concert performed by clarinetists James Petry and Michael Westwood and joined by pianist Megumi Okamoto!

- Francis Poulenc: Sonata for Two Clarinets
- Felix Mendelssohn: Concert Piece No. 2, Op. 114
- Franz Krommer: Concerto for Two Clarinets, Op. 91
- Scott Joplin: Ragtimes (arranged.)

Michael Westwood
After taking a short hiatus from performing, Michael Westwood is solidly back in Toronto's music scene with his own chamber series, some high profile solo performances, a teaching degree, and is developing tour dates across Canada. He is much more than a clarinetist; he is a highly sought after soloist and chamber musician who has collaborated with a great number of leading Canadian musicians over the past two decades. He frequently appears in solo recitals, chamber music concerts and as soloist with orchestra. His programming ideas combine a passion for the monumental standard repertoire, rarely heard music spanning the past two centuries, and new music of the past few years. A tireless musician with a desire for constant renewal and inspiration, Michael founded a new chamber music series in Toronto in the summer of 2013, Westwood Concerts, to further share his unique programming and interest in a diverse range of music.

Megumi Okamoto
Megumi Okamoto started playing the piano in Japan at the age of three and studied at Toho School of Music. She moved to the U.S. at the age of twelve. She has won numerous awards, including first place in the Young Artist's Competition at Bozeman State University; first place in the Yamaha Music Competition, State Division; and Gold and Silver winner in Spokane Arts and Music Festival. She was a guest soloist performing with Glacier Symphony Orchestra and with the Billings Symphony Orchestra. She received a Bachelor of Music at Indiana University, Artist Diploma at Royal Conservatory of Music, and a Master's degree at University of Toronto in piano performance. Megumi also holds a Master's degree in music theory.

Megumi has recently completed the doctorate program in piano performance at University of Toronto in the studio of Marietta Orlov. She has written a dissertation on the structural and performance issues in Nicholai Kapustin's Eight Concert Etudes, Op. 40. She is also an active chamber musician and specializes in viola repertoire, working as a collaborative artist at University of Toronto, Royal Conservatory of Music and Morningside Music Bridge festival in Calgary.


Peter Boyd & Noah Zacharin

The Emmet Ray (924 College Street)
Peter Boyd (guitar/voice), Noah Zacharin (guitar/voice)

Peter Boyd
Peter Boyd has been a songwriter for over thirty years. Drawing on gospel and blues from Chicago all the way back to the Delta and re-invented upside-down-and-backwards, Peter's songs are a sepia-tinged glimpse into his messy, not-fully-developed soul where faith has as much a chance as folly to send you careening into the abyss.

Peter's new CD 'Beulahland' is garnering great reviews, most recently a rave from Greg Quill in the Toronto Star - "stunning and powerful blues-rooted original songs and astonishing guitar wizardry. Among the best of the year's roots/blues crop."

Noah Zacharin
Noah Zacharin was born in Montreal and resides in Toronto. He was given his first guitar at age 9, wrote his first song at 13, began performing at 14, and is happy to say that he still loves playing music. He has been called "a wonderful songwriter and performer, and stunning guitarist" (Paul Mills, Borealis Records, Producer (Stan Rogers, Oscar Peterson), a "wonderful, adventurous guitarist" (Blues Bytes), "a poet, a songwriter, a singer we have been waiting for" (Penny Lang), "a great guitarist/singer/songwriter...a wonderfully musical player" (Randy Finney, President and Founder Toronto Fingerstyle Guitarist's Association), "in a league of his own" (Brian Gladstone, AD Winterfolk Festival), "one of the best songwriters this country has produced" (the late great Rick Fielding, recording artist, radio host) and "deserving to be mentioned in the same breath with names such as James Taylor and David Wilcox" (Minor 7th).

Zacharin's recordings have garnered praise from fans and critics alike. silence spoken here (1997) was called "an understated classic...musical versatility and lyrical depth" (Xpress-Ottawa); Scene Roots and Blues dubbed aLIVE! (2000) "a real gem"; and a review of crow dark wind (2001) in Minor 7th elicited the following: "like Bruce Cockburn, Ry Cooder, and Bonnie Raitt, Noah Zacharin possesses a virtuoso command of the songwriting."

More About Peter Boyd | More About Noah Zacharin

Thursday, June 1st

Thursday, June 1st


John-Wayne Swingtet

The Emmet Ray (924 College Street)
John-Wayne Swingtet, Wayne Nakamura (guitar), Abbey Sholzberg (bass), John Farrell (guitar)

John-Wayne Swingtet
The John-Wayne Swingtet is comprised of four members of the Toronto Gypsy Jazz scene. John Farrell (guitar) and Abbey Sholzberg are original members of Toronto's first Hot Club band, Club Django Toronto. Wayne Nakamura (guitar) is the host of Toronto's most established Gypsy Jazz jam, The Hot Club of Corktown. Alexander Tikhonov (clarinet) has received his designation as "Master of the Clarinet" back in his native Russia. Together these four play the music of Django Reinhardt, Charlie Christian, Fats Waller, Hank Williams, and the list goes on...

More About John-Wayne Swingtet