The Way We Wear Our Hats (Whole Note feature)

Ori Dagan, local jazz vocalist extraordinaire and columnist for the Whole Note, was kind enough to write a few words about what I’m doing around town in his most recent article, which also talks about his thoughts from JAZZFM.91 & the IRCPA’s music business seminar last month. (For my thoughts about the seminar, click here.) Read the full article in the Whole Note here, or keep scrolling to see the excerpt about me!


Chelsea McBride: And here’s Chelsea McBride, awarded the Toronto Arts Foundation’s inaugural Emerging Jazz Artist Award in 2014, in her own words:

“Where to begin! I’m a performer/composer/bandleader first and foremost – probably half or more of my performances are with bands I lead or am very involved in, though the projects I’m a sideperson on are always fun – mostly contemporary jazz groups or pop cover bands that play lots of 70s music. I’m an artistic producer with Spectrum Music – with the other producers, we handle all the logistics involved in putting on four concerts a year. We also all write for these concerts, and with the constantly changing instrumentation, it’s always a new challenge for me as a composer. And it’s lots of fun.

“I found a teaching job in Oakville before I got out of school, so I’m actually out there quite often – I teach voice and piano mostly, along with my main instruments. There’s a lot less demand for woodwinds at the school I’m at, unfortunately…

“In addition to that, I end up doing a lot of administrative work – I’m a copyist for NewYork composer Daniel Jamieson (who’s originally from Toronto), and that occasionally also involves editing/proofreading non-musical stuff, which is something I have done for a long time. And last but not least, I’m slowly getting into the grant-writing thing – this has been tricky because, being so recently out of school, I’m not even eligible for some programs still! But I have been getting lots of practice working with other people on their applications.”

Under the umbrella of bandleader, McBride is busy as a beaver: “Chelsea McBride’s Socialist Night School, (appearing this month Saturday May 23 at the Rex, 3:30pm), performs exclusively original contemporary jazz music – more groove-based than swing. Most of the music is composed by me, but not all. I also lead a sextet called Chelsea and the Cityscape, which performs more in the singer-songwriter, pop and rock vein. I play standards and a few lead-sheet original jazz tunes that don’t quite fit into either of my other band’s styles around town every so often under the moniker Chelsea McBride Group (appearing this month Friday May 1 at Habits Gastropub). I play in a video game cover band called the Koopa Troop, which is exactly what it sounds like – a bunch of jazz-school nerds playing Nintendo music better than you’ve heard it before. And last but not least, I play in the Brad Cheeseman Group (appearing May 8 at the Jazz Room in Waterloo), which is contemporary small-group jazz music played with a strong focus on the ensemble sound.”

Rounding it off: To close this month’s column, here’s another quote from the JAZZ.FM91/IRCPA Music Business Seminar, this one by Peter Cardinali, owner of Alma Records, which drew from the example of soul-jazz superstar Gregory Porter: “There are a lot of 12-year overnight successes.” As such, there is no substitute for hard work and if as an artist you don’t truly love what you do, you’re in trouble.

Thank you for reading this magazine and supporting live music. Check out The WholeNote’s jazz listings and the new column by Bob Ben, Mainly Clubs, Mostly Jazz. Be happy while you may, and Happy May!

Ori Dagan is a Toronto-based jazz musician, writer and educator who can be reached at

~ by crymmusic on May 22, 2015.

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