Canada, Salami Bay, Toronto discussed on Q

WNYC 93.9 FM
| WNYC 93.9 FM


Radio one in Canada and across North America on Sirius X M 1 69 NPR X I'm tall Yes, Linger in for Tom Power as you may have heard. The singer known as Canada's first lady of the Blues, died over the weekend at the age of 86. Salo, May Bay was often described as a Trailblazer. She moved between music and theater, and she was a crucial presence in both worlds. She was originally from New Jersey. But in 1964 she moved to Toronto and made it her home. That's where she broke new ground as a jazz and blues musician, as well as a writer and performer and all kinds of plays cabarets. Even Children's musicals. Salameh was named an honorary member of the Order of Canada for her contributions. She got a Grammy nomination for her work on the Broadway play Your Arm's too short to box with God. She received two Dora Mae for more awards for her cabaret show called in to Go about the history of the blues. The accolades go on and on beer bottle here from someone who knew her, not just for her incredible accomplishments. I knew her as a person and as a mentor or in Isaac's, is a producer, bassist and former band leader on the Mike Bullard show. He also worked as Salamis touring Bass player and when he looks back at the very first day he played for her when he was just 18 years old. He calls it the day his professional career as a bassist was born or in Isaac's Joins me now to remember Salo May Bay high or in Welcome to queue. To tell you. How you doing? Hey, I'm all right. How about you? Okay, I'm doing all right. Yeah, I'm so sorry for for your loss, and I'm wondering, you've had some days to process this now. What did Canada lose this week? They They lost a jog or not, in terms of not only just a talent, but just in terms of a person. You know Solo me was like I said it was more. She's mourning the musician. She brought people together. And she she had a way about her. That was just It was unapologetically her and For me personally. She was unapologetic. Unapologetically black was what I loved about her. You know, she she She broke some ground here. You know, you mentioned a couple of things in your intro. Like in to go. You know, that was groundbreaking at the time, and I don't know if you know this, but the play into go actually went to a television special. And she was the first black lead in a television special here in Canada. So that's another one for your books. Incredible. Tell me about your personal relationship with her. I want to know about the first time that you met Salami Bay. I was crazy. I was about 18 years old, and I was playing just in a club trainer, you know, hustle around Toronto, get the gig digging scene and Her daughter and I, I think played together. I wasn't sure if we played and get my memory's going. I wasn't sure if we played in a band. I'm pretty sure we played in a band or she was on the same show and so lonely showed up at the club that night. And I lost my mind. I was like, Wow, slow me is here and you got to remember. The only reason I really knew of salami was because of my mother. My mother was a huge fan. So my mother took me to see Indigo as a kid. My mom would take us. My brother and I Teo, the underground railroad, which her husband, Howard ran. Soul food restaurant. You know, one of the only ones at that time, if not the only one in that time in this city, So my mom was a huge fan of slow, so you know, here I am playing at the club and slowly is there and I'm like, Whoa, Okay, Sloan is here. And ah I played my heart out and an afternoon the show. I see her walking up to me. And I was like, starting freak. And if you've ever met her, he shes She's like this figure. She's she's kind of imposing and intimidating in a way because she's such a larger than life, you know, presence, right? So she she walks up to me, and she kind of has a smile on her face. And she looks at me and she has this very deep, majestic voice. And she says, young man, can you read music? I was like, yes. Very much like she started with very much like you're playing young man. Can you read music? Wow. And then you kind of smell And she goes. Would you like to be my bass player? And I was like, you know. What do you say that I was like? Yes. You know, you know what? Yeah, I thought I could say I was freaking out. So I gave her my phone number. And that was it. And I was like, okay, and she didn't call for a couple of days. And I figured maybe, you know It wasn't meant to happen. But sure enough, a couple of these leader she called, and I wasn't home, but she had left a message on my machine. And when I played that message from my mom, my mom lost her mind and it was right then and there that I think my mom said, you know, my son has made it. You know he's going to play. What's the lonely bay? So it started from there. So about 18 I was, you know. What? I consider a professional musician from that planet. What's so beautiful? That is so beautiful. Then what was it like to tour with her? Oh, like I said, the one thing about her. Is What I learned was She's a a consummate pro and People respected her. And I didn't really see that a lot. You know, as a musician coming up the respect for someone, especially being black eye was just like, Whoa, This is crazy. You know, we do all these theater gigs and you know, we we represented Canada in 1992 in a Civil Spain Expo and just the level of respect she got Is what really stuck with me, You know? Ah. As I started to play with her. I want to start getting into production. And so I want to start a little. Ah, home studio and A great story is I didn't have the money. So I went to the credit union. The musicians credit union. Try and get a loan for like $10,000. I was maybe, you know, 20 at this time. And even though I had a co signer, you know they're still apprehensive. I Ah, I had a meeting with the lady who was in charge of approving alone and No, The meeting is going OK. And, you know, you know, she you know was a musician and I started to tell her, you know my future plans are and who I played with. And she says. Well, who do you play with? I said ah, Salami based based paper bass player that you like Salami Bay. Oh, till Howard. I said Hi. We go back a long time. And did it done the whole tone of the The meeting changed as soon as I mentioned Salo measly name and sure enough. You know, Needless to say, I got alone and, you know, Wow, This is history. Right? So that's the kind of respect that she commanded. In terms of you know who she was in the in the industry. She's helping you without, even without even being there, and you're not even being there, right. You're not alone, like so many tributes have have poured out from especially black Canadian musicians who she helped usher in like she. Her own daughter's incredibly talented, too grew in ST But I mean, we heard from divine Brown and and Deborah Cox and and yourself just just about the way that she nurtured young black talent, and it's particularly meaningful to think about right now. Yeah, You know, there she was. She had a way of bringing people together and building you up the the the play that she did was called Rainbow World. And she enlisted unlisted, but she opened up the door for so many young I'm talking young at that time. Divine brown was, maybe, you know 12 Deborah Cox. I don't know. 16. I don't know how old people were marked Strong Strozzi, who's now G 97 the Raptor, and you know the voiceover guy all over the place. Ah, Cathy. Pure, you know was she inspired Kathy Pierre, who is now the only or the first black Choreographer for Circus Olay, Andy Marshall. I could name a bunch of people and a marshal's a director who actually went toe gone to direct television. Siri's that he actually hired me for so it's like She had a way of just bringing up the next generation of musician and especially people of color. It's it's It's It's It was quite the thing. Rainbow World..

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