You know those friends that you really like, but you never seem to stay in touch with? For me, Tory Cassis is one of those people. Except, of course, I don’t, y’know, KNOW the guy or anything.
I was introduced to Tory Cassis when he opened for Moxy Früvous at Louis’ in Saskatoon in 1999. A singer-songwriter with jazz influences, I quite enjoyed his set and bought Anywhere But Here, his debut album. The next day, I drove to Regina to check out Früvous again (they would change up their sets a great deal from night to night), and I listened to Cassis’ album on the drive up. It’s quite good and I told him so, as I had the chance to chat with him after his set in Regina. He seemed very appreciative and just a genuinely nice guy. I don’t demand that artists (athletes, actors, coworkers, whoever) have to be nice people for me to appreciate what they do, but it does help. I’m kind of a jerk like that.
After those two shows in two days, he kind of fell off my radar. I’d drop the CD in every so often, and I’d still enjoy it, but I never heard about anything new coming from him. Web searches indicated he was playing gigs around Toronto, in the scene that seemed to include Big Rude Jake and (ex-Früvous) David Matheson, among many others. And so it went – think of the album, listen to the album, like the album, look him up online, nothing, repeat.
I should mention at this point that when writing for KMA, I usually listen to music by the artist I’m writing about. I have, however, paused the Tory Cassis album to listen to an MP3 Rob set me of some kind of Ethel Merman dance remix. I have no idea why he sent this or why I am listening to it. Just thought I’d share.
I had wanted the new Novillero CD and unable to find one locally, I hit MapleMusic. Since I was ordering something ANYWAY, this was a great excuse to poke around and see if there was anything else that interested me. And a new Tory Cassis album? Definitely interesting.
I should qualify that by saying I have no idea how new it actually is. Nowhere on the album art or liner notes – which I would kindly describe as "minimalist" – does it actually say the year. CDDB (via iTunes) says 2005, so that’s what I’m going with. Either way, it’s still new to me.
The new album is called The Saturday Night Function, and I can imagine this is what a Saturday night with Tory and a small band would sound like. It sounds less produced than his first album, and I would describe it as more of a jazz album as opposed to being jazz-influenced. I don’t know if that was an artistic choice or if budgetary reasons made the decision for him; either way, the two albums complement each other nicely. The voice and the style carry over from one to the next, and that’s reason enough for me to recommend it.
Truthfully, I couldn’t tell you why I like Tory Cassis as much as I do – his style of music isn’t one that I’m overly familiar with or one that I’ve sought out in the past. But for whatever reason, I keep coming back to his music and I hope it won’t take another nine years between albums.
BUY IT: MapleMusic
1. Meet Me At No Special Place (And I’ll Be There At No Particular Time)
2. It’s All Right With Me
3. Alright, Ok, You Win
4. ’Round Midnight
5. Don’t Set Me Free
6. Nature Boy
7. What Would It Take?
8. Crazy ’Bout My Baby
9. Who Walks In When I Walk Out?
10.What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?