|Juno nominee Paul Tobey brought his incredible talents back to Barrie for his second appearance at the Barrie Jazz and Blues Festival. Paul had participated in the second festival several years ago and was delighted at the opportunity to host a workshop and perform in concert this year.
I am fast finding out with more and more musical events that I attend that I am a big fan of these intimate and up close type of appearances. Paul Tobey is a dynamic individual. He is a natural in front of the audience both when he speaks and plays. His witty banter is very entertaining but of course it is his musicianship that is most moving. With an eclectic set list containing songs by jazz legend Dave Brubeck, Curly Putman’s Green Green Grass of Home (later made famous by the likes of Tom Jones and Elvis Presley), Led Zepplin’s Stairway to Heaven, classic Oscar Peterson, some original compositions and a host of other brilliant covers, it was a most enjoyable performance.
Paul Tobey started playing the piano when he was eight. Forgoing college for life experience, a fortuitous broken leg sent him back to school. It was an Oscar Peterson concert that inspired him to challenge himself to become a concert pianist. After even just the short time I spent in his company, it is hard to imagine him doing anything else. Yet he is more than just an accomplished concert pianist; he is a speaker, filmmaker, composer and pilgrim.
In 2002 Paul traveled the Camino de Santiago in Spain. It was a journey that took him over 2 months to complete but while on the path he was able to put together a documentary film of the experience and compose over 22 new pieces of music. He will be premiering The Road to Santiago Suite at “A Musical Journey Through Spain” next February with the Brantford Symphony Orchestra.
The concert series held in the Rotunda at Barrie City Hall was financially supported by Stollar Construction which enabled the festival to get a first-rate piano (The Yamaha CFIIIS Concert Grand Piano) supplied by The Piano Shop in Barrie.
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