Jon Hendricks, one of the originators of vocalese jazz music, plays with a 250-voice children’s choir from Jane-Finch elementary and middle schools. Tonight (Thursday, April 24), 8 pm, at Roy Thomson Hall. $20. 416-872-4255.
Can you tell me about what you’ve been working on here in Toronto?
I’m working with the Art of Jazz folks and their Community Voices project, teaching children from the Jane-Finch area how to sing vocalese jazz music, the style I invented for Lambert, Hendricks and Ross. They have shown such aptitude – you will all be surprised by how well these beautiful children perform.
What Toronto restaurant do you like to eat at before a show and why?
We discovered this wonderful Italian restaurant called Spuntini (116 Avenue Road, 416-962-1110). The food is excellent, and the service is impeccable.
Where in Toronto do you go after a gig? Why?
I’ve enjoyed the Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar. We’ve had some good times there.
Who’s your favorite Toronto artist?
Veronica Tennant. She’s a high-class lady who’s also completely down-to-earth. And of course Jane Bunnett and Larry Cramer – the work they do through the Art of Jazz organization is inspiring and exciting.
What do you love most about Toronto?
It’s civil, it’s sane. The city’s even more valuable to me because of the strife going on in my country.
Hotel of choice and why?
I like the Sutton Place – I’ve had a room that’s like an apartment. I can just walk over to the kitchen and make myself a cup of tea. I like that.
How do you spend your day off in Toronto?
I’m interested in old books – 16th century books in particular. I always look for rare editions. I’m looking for the writings of Francis Bacon, which are hard to come by. If you’re lucky, you stumble on one once in a while.
Most memorable border-crossing experience heading to Toronto?
The first time. I came to Toronto with a child, intending to immigrate to Canada. We were told we would need at least $1,000, but we only had $300, so we had to turn around and go to New York. I eventually became a star there, so it turned out to be a great move. But we were always looking to go to Canada. I would still like to move to Toronto.