Have passed this cafe by so many times on the way to Cherry Beach and used to wonder about the business model of something stuck in the middle if the Port Lands like this. The only decent building left on this road, it stands out like a sore rhumb – an art deco beacon of commerce amongst the Rufty -Tufty dock lands neighbourhood. It is however right on the spring/summer “flight path” of the gaggles of cyclists that zoom past on their way to the Martin Goodman cycle path that skirts the Lake shore, I was certain that winter heralded a downturn in footfall but the cafe always wore an open sign – a blue and red beacon of promised hospitality amid a pretty bleak neck if the woods.
And so it was with curiosity that we arrived one Thursday night in March, having heard a promo on Jazz FM radio about their Thursday jazz evenings. Ordinarily if we were to have a “school night” out on a Thursday then we would meet a bunch of friends at the Monarch Pub in the Delta Chelsea to watch the superb Jerome Godboo and his blues band. So what to do!
What a great evening upom which to visit. We were treated to a stunning and intimate performance by the Alex Samaras quartet. We had seen Alex perform with the Toronto Jazz orchestra at the Rex Hotel last autumn during their homage to Radiohead
Alex is not your average jazz vocalist – he approaches all his material with the air of one who has studied all the nuances of jazz performing at an academic level with spot- on perfect phrasing and tone. Just looked him up and sure enough he studied vocal performance on the Jazz program at the University of Toronto!
Incredibly versatile, it was obvious from his choice of music for the Cherry Street set that he was very at home with the “musical” numbers from all the great shows of yesteryear.
His 3 piece band who were all playing together with Alex for the first time were consummate professionals who no matter what was requested if them didn’t miss a beat.
Food – this is no gourmet eating venue – burgers and standard cafe fayre; small nicely laid out space with the original brick walls exposed and original deco exterior. A little bit different from your average jazz venue – definitely worth a visit.
Over & Out