HONK! ON Propaganda (Part 1)

HONK ON square

One of the challenges of bringing the HONK! community to Toronto is actually building the local support network. In other words, we want to expand the broader HONK! community by leading our city into this special musical melee but part of our efforts are spent generating local interest among potentially like-minded musicians.

HONK! ON is unlike a lot of music festivals. It’s non-commercial so there are no ticket sales, for instance.  Apart from some merchandise sales to help generate some operational capital, it’s a hardly a commercial venture at all.  In this regard, gaining “exposure” is less a marketing concern than it is a community-generating concern.  It’s all volunteer-based and bands pay their way to come and play.  Hopefully, in the future we’ll have generated enough community and grant-based funding to offer a stipend to bands to help offset costs.

The priority – at least as I see it – is that bands have a good time!  HONK! ON is basically a community party with music.  I hope that the visiting bands have such a good time that they will want to come again and talk it up to their colleagues.  I hope that local musicians enjoy a unique musical experience that is exciting enough to cause ripples throughout their circles of influence.

In terms of the HONK! world, what’s taking place in Toronto this coming weekend is very special. It’s local music history-in-the-making.  What’s particularly a treat – and the locals generally have no idea about the degree of significance! – is that we are to be honoured by the presence of three of the longest-running HONK! bands: Second Line Social Aid & Pleasure Society Brass Band, Extraordinary Rendition Band and The Carnival Band.

All three of these bands were at the very first HONK! Fest in Somerville, Massachusetts in 2006.  I think it’s absolutely wonderful that they’re all going to be here to help us launch HONK! ON.

Sax Drive begins!

So, first of all, we had a tremendously successful HONK! OFF event on July 7th, meeting with tons of good vibes, support, and raising about $500 in funds for our inaugural HONK! ON Festival coming up in less than two weeks!

HUGE thanks to Drom Taberna for hosting the event and being such gracious hosts to boot.  Thank you to Marion Lougheed, my love and partner, for helping me to put all this together! And special thanks go as well to Micaela Morey, who not only was crucial in helping us organize, but also did an amazing performance of various cover songs with her band.  Lauren Barnett and her partner Demetri Petsalakis – known as Catchfiyah in their duo appearances – also were wonderful (and it was so much fun to sit in with them playing bari sax!)  Both Micaela and Lauren play in my new band…

which leads me to…

Sax Drive - Drom Taberna July 2019

A significant detail for me, personally: the launch of Sax Drive.  We played a great five-sax set of some of my original tunes, which seemed to go over extremely with our crowd.  We are pumped to play our next gig at HONK! ON on the afternoon of Saturday, July 27th at Trinity Bellwoods Park (exact time TBA).

A brief description of Sax Drive goes something like this:

Sax Drive is a new funky jazz combo based in Toronto and led by composer/saxophonist Jason Hayward. The group also features Lauren Barnett and Scott Pearce on alto sax, Nicole Auger and Micaela Morey on tenor sax, along with Tavo Diez de Bonilla on bass and Trevor Yearwood on drums. Beyond that of a traditional jazz combo eschewing a chordal comping instrument, the band’s groove-based aesthetic is informed by diverse influences, including New Orleans street bands, Big Band sax sections, chamber music and EDM.

“Sax Drive” is a name I’ve had in mind for this project for ages!  However, seems like some people have beat me to the name.  Before we get too far along, I may have to change it or add something to it.  Maybe not.  We are way, way cooler after all.

In the meantime…

We started our Sax Drive Facebook page.

And next, we take the world by storm!

Eventually.