A bit of sadness last week as Ottawa’s jazz great Brian Browne died. Browne played with some legends of the genre and despite some considerable adversity in his life, he always came back smiling. My small connection with Browne was through The Bulldog on ottawacitizen.com where he sent along a comment. Just out of curiosity, I asked Browne if he was the pianist who played annual concerts at my Erindale Secondary School in Mississauga in the 1970s. He confirmed it. But the wild coincidence was Browne found tapes of some of those shows and was releasing them as a CD, The Erindale Sessions, some 50 years later just as we got acquainted. I wrote a column on the coincidence in the Citizen and some of the story was used in the CD’s liner notes, my modest but greatest claim to musical fame. Browne taught me the joy of a jazz piano, bass and drums while I sat on the floor in the Erindale library. Never lost that. Thank you, Brian. Godspeed … It will be interesting to see what former mayor and provincial cabinet minister Bob Chiarelli ends up doing now that he is bowing out of politics. Whatever it is, it will be valuable to the community. In the meantime, sit back and enjoy a beautiful summer … Now might be a crappy time for local Liberals but it could be an opportunity for former uOttawa law dean and Ottawa-Vanier MPP Nathalie Des Rosiers. Did someone say provincial Liberal leader? …
Above, Ottawa’s Brian Browne playing my high school library in the 1970s. Below, a much more nuanced Browne in 2008 at the National Arts Centre. When I grow up, I’d like to be as cool as Brian Browne.
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