Sunday, January 8, 2023

Michael Snow Tribute #10: Black and White

Jack Vorvis & Michael Snow
Black And White
Toronto, Canada: Track & Light Recordings, 1994
Audio CD, 14 x 13 cm.
Edition size unknown

The first time I met Michael Snow was at a CCMC performance at Nathan Philips Square in May of 1994. Paul Dutton - who I knew from his independent publishing and his role in The Four Horsemen with bpNichol - had suggested I come see him perform with the band (which I think he had only recently joined, though I may be wrong). 

I brought with me Snow's most recent release, a record of Free Jazz, with Michael on piano and Jack Vorvis on drums, which I think I only listened to once (as I'm not a huge fan of the genre). 

Michael signed the disk for my girlfriend at the time and invited us to join him and the band for dinner, at some place around Queen and Yonge long since closed. We were joined by poet Christian Bök (who told me about his forthcoming book Eunoia - which came out seven years later and was worth the wait) and an actor from Phantom of the Opera or one of the other epic theatre pieces of the time. 

I was young and impressionable and it made a big impression. Not because it was a grand meal with important discussions about music and art and poetry and theatre. But because it was just a simple dinner with friends, reminiscing, even bickering about the bill. 

Michael was being feted at the time with the city-wide "Michael Snow Project" (and four accompanying books on his work), and I think this City Hall performance was part of that series. But at dinner he did not hold court as the star. He was humble and sweet and funny. 

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