2014 starts off with a bang for jazz musician

A first baby, a band reunion and a new record on the way for David Braid

Pianist David Braid is still beaming at being a first-time dad.

The two-time Juno award winner is cooing about daughter Amelia Grace who was born a month ago.

She was expected on Dec. 31, but wife Christina went into labour early.

“I had just finished a concert in Shanghai — I don’t think I could have been further away from home,” Braid says, his voice enthusiastic over the phone. “My wife phoned me in the middle of the night and said, ‘The baby’s in position. She’s coming now’.

“So I had to cancel the last two weeks of the tour and get on the next flight home.”

Braid, who lives in the Yonge-Davenport area, didn’t mind coming home early, he says, as it gave him some extra time to catch up with collaborator and cellist Matt Brubeck, who is known for his work with Tom Waits, Tracy Chapman and Sheryl Crow.

The two worked together on the Juno-nominated album Twotet/Deuxtet, released in 2006, and are itching to reunite after their careers took them on different routes.

“[The album] was very well received and we’ve sort of been talking about doing something,” Braid said, noting their last “big project” they did together was a 2010 tour of Australia.

Following a hiatus, Braid performed solo concerts while Brubeck moved on to other groups.

Brubeck Braid, as the duo is referred to, will be performing Feb. 8 at the Paintbox Bistro in Regent Park. The concert is part of a series held every Saturday night in support of Jazz Performance and Education Centre.

They joined forces in January for a concert in Waterloo, but the Paintbox will be their first show in Toronto.

“I think it’s really cool what they’re doing with the Artbox — putting this arts venue in this very interesting neighbourhood at an interesting time,” Braid enthused. “It creates a space to invite artists to come in, and also the collaboration with JPEC.

“It’s nice to see a creative body cooperating with a neighbourhood. The social circle and artists’ circle combining in this way is very fantastic.”

There’s another reason why he’s looking forward to rejoining Brubeck in Toronto. The two have been conspiring to work on another album.

“Just in the last six months we were talking again about getting the duo more on the front burner again — recording — so these concerts that we are doing lately are sort of to prepare us for making a follow-up recording,” Braid said.

The two hit it off in 2004, two years before the release of their immensely successful album.

“I remember, he heard my band at the time play at the Top of the Senator and we ended up going to see a Herbie Hancock concert together,” Braid recalled.

“We were talking about music, and I could just tell by the conversation we had that if we played together we would have gotten along.

“So we thought, for fun, we should just get together and play, which is what we did and then it felt mutually interesting, rewarding and fun, and we started a group.”

Braid says he hopes jazz fans will appreciate the playing without drums, concentrating on tone production, melody, lyricism and counterpoint.

And, of course, he’ll also be playing for his latest fan, Amelia.


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Posted: Feb 6 2014 5:55 am
Filed in: ARTS & LIFE
Edition: Toronto
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