Collier’s Canadiana pleases Peterson

Master musician Ron Collier has been on an Oscar Peterson kick this past year or so. The composer, arranger and trombonist assembled a big band to perform his own arrangement of Peterson’s classic Canadiana Suite, which Oscar wrote in 1963. It was given its first concert performance at the Charlottetown Festival in 1964.

Collier’s big band version had its debut in Vancouver last year, under the auspices of the Ah Um Theatre Workshop, headed by Gregory and Kris Elgstrand. (Ah Um – the name comes from the title of a Charles Mingus album – is truly bi-coastal. Kris lives in Coquitlam, B.C., and brother Gregory operates from Sackville, N.B.).

Peterson heard a tape of the Vancouver performance and later wrote to Kris Elgstrand, expressing his appreciation of the “musically gratifying performance.” The Collier arrangement was introduced to Toronto audiences at this year’s DuMaurier Downtown Jazz Festival in June and performed again at Ottawa’s Confederation Park in July. Further dates were scheduled for Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

Ron Collier has hopes a CD will soon be made of this big band version of the thrilling Peterson piece.

<FONT color="#10173" siz=”4″>Memories of Marilyn
George Bailey insists he is not a Marilyn Monroe nut. However, he admits to being a Niagara Falls nut. The writer and photographer has been toiling in that city’s hospitality industry for some 25 years.

His latest book is titled Marilyn Monroe and the Making of “Niagara.” It deals with the filming of that movie in 1952 at the famous honeymoon capital, and includes numerous pictures of Marilyn, Joseph Cotten, Jean Peters and the film’s director, Henry Hathaway. There’s also a good bit of Marilyn trivia. One such item reports that Marilyn could often be seen, late at night, walking around in her suite at the General Brock Hotel in the nude. Some fans brought binoculars to get a better look.

According to Bailey, someone stole the toilet seat from Marilyn Monroe’s hotel suite after filming wrapped. Another yarn is about Manny Bailey, the author’s father, who was given a bit part in the movie by director Hathaway – for the fat fee of $5. However, Hathaway later told him the scene was not going to be used, so Bailey never got his five bucks.

Barrymore is back
Toronto area audiences get their first look at Christopher Plummer as Barrymore when he brings his one-man show to the Ford Centre for the Performing Arts for two weeks beginning Nov. 24. The show, first done at the Stratford Festival, was a smash hit there and later on Broadway.

Now touring major U.S. cities, from Washington to San Francisco, the Plummer portrayal of “the Great Profile” ends its tour in North York.

(Just before the Barrymore show, the same theatre offers Smokey Joe’s Cafe, Oct. 28-Nov. 22. In January, the Ford Centre offers Bring In Da Noise, Bring In Da Funk and in February it’s Cathy Rigby starring as Peter Pan).

Meanwhile, Harry Rasky, who last year made an hour-long TV biography of Plummer, is hoping the CBC will air it while Plummer is in town. Among those appearing in the biography are Julie Andrews, James Earl Jones, Julie Harris and Zoe Caldwell.

Rasky, one of Canada’s best documentary film makers, has previously done highly praised filmed profiles of Arthur Miller, Marc Chagall, Tennessee Williams, and Teresa Stratas.

Broadfoot’s burden
Noticing that Dave Broadfoot is doing a one-nighter at the Markham (Ont.) Theatre on Nov. 19 reminded me of a favourite Broadfoot yarn.

The Vancouver-born humourist came from a straight-laced family who never approved of his show biz ambitions. Fortunately for us, he ignored their objections.

Once, in the mid-60s, when Ed Sullivan headlined the big grandstand show at Toronto’s CNE, Dave was on the bill and obviously impressed Sullivan. A few weeks later, Sullivan’s TV producer called Dave and invited him to go to New York to appear on the Sullivan show that Sunday night.

Just before boarding a plane for New York the day before the show, he decided to phone his parents in Vancouver and tell them about his appearance the next night.

Dave’s mother listened to her son’s news impassively. And then he heard her disapproving reaction: “You have to work on a Sunday?”