Mad Monk Cafe

Mad Monk Café

Friday April 27, 2018


Curious to find out more about a concert I read about on the Internet, I wandered into a church basement on the corner of MADison and MONKland.  (Thus the name) It was opening night of the season and performing would be Deacon George, no stranger to Montreal audiences at the Montreal International Jazz Festival, and jazz crooner Chris Thomas. The promotional material mentioned, as always, admission and refreshments are free. So I thought to myself well they will probably pass a hat and expect donations. Well my first surprise was the wide selection of refreshments offered which consisted of home baked cakes, coffee, tea, juice, and water. My second surprise was when they announced that this was something that they had been doing for 17 seasons. And my third surprise was when they said they did not expect any cash donations. That was something you could do at Sunday service if you chose to.


Cabaret Blues featured the songs of Bessie Smith, Nat King Cole, Josh White and many more. The two men alternated singing while Deacon George accompanied on guitar. One of my favourite tunes was sung by Chris. It was a Mills Brothers composition titled Till Then. Originally recorded by the Mills Brothers in 1944 it reached number 5 on the R&B charts and 41 on the Pop charts. It was re-recorded in 1954 by the Hilltoppers and made it to 80th spot on the Pop charts. Many of the Bessie Smith songs preceded the recording industry and were sold as sheet music.


The near capacity audience were treated to a concert rarely heard in this era of electronics, and it was only due to previous commitments that I had to leave after the first set. I look forward to the next time.