Cliff “Kid” Bastien played New Orleans jazz at Grossman’s Tavern every Saturday, more-or-less continuously starting somewhere around 1970 or so. Saturdays at Grossman’s grew to be part of the cultural bedrock of Toronto – generations of fans and musicians flourished there. Then one day in February 2003, Cliff passed away suddenly of a heart attack and Kid Bastien’s three-decade reign came to an end.
At Cliff’s funeral, the church was filled beyond capacity, and the Magnolia Brass Band played him out, New Orleans style. Just about every traditional jazz musician in Toronto was there, and Kid Dutch, Jean-Pierre Alessi and Kjeld Brandt flew in from the US, France and Denmark respectively, to help celebrate the Kid. Even my then seventeen-year-old daughter Alex, who had grown up knowing “Uncle Sniff,” played trumpet and took the lead on West Lawn Dirge. Friday night, Saturday afternoon and again Saturday night we all took over Grossman’s Tavern for a wake that had to be seen – and heard – to be believed.
A little while passed, the Happy Pals regrouped as we could, and we began to wonder: Why not hold a celebration of Kid Bastien and all that he did for New Orleans music in Toronto? Why not base it on his wake, which none of us will ever forget? What would Cliff do?
One year later, the Kid Bastien Forever Kick-Ass New Orleans Jazz Party, was born when Gregg Stafford and Kid Dutch came to Toronto to celebrate the Kid. It was, as Cliff always said, “Kicks!” Since then, Kid Bastien Forever has featured guests like Gregg Stafford, Kjeld Brandt and Chris Burke, who play the New Orleans style that Cliff dedicated his life to.
For the 2007 party, we were fortunate to have the superb British clarinet and tenor sax player Brian Carrick. Brian plays clarinet in the tradition of New Orleans master George Lewis, and in fact he played one of George’s own clarinets on these sessions. His tenor is reminiscent of Emanuel Paul, the long-time Kid Thomas sideman. This CD may give you a hint of what a great party – and what a great memorial for the Kid – it was.
After Cliff’s passing, a lot of people asked, “Is the music going to carry on?” I could only answer them, then and now, “It has to. Or he’ll come back and kill us!”
released December 1, 2007
Patrick Tevlin – Trumpet, Vocal 1, 9
Brian Carrick – Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone, Vocal 2
Toby Hughes – Alto Saxophone
Roberta Tevlin – Trombone, Vocal 6
Roberta Hunt – Piano, Vocal 3
Rainer Hunck – Banjo except 7, 9
Alex Ralph – Banjo 7, 9
Phillip Carney – String Bass
Chuck Clarke – Drums
Recorded live at
The Fourth Annual Kid Bastien Forever Kick-Ass New Orleans Jazz Party
Grossman’s Tavern, Toronto, Canada
February 9-10, 2007
Recorded by Lindsay Kotowich, Paul Norton, Marla Dixon and Patrick Tevlin
Produced by Patrick Tevlin at New Orleans North, Toronto