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A Conversation With Lily Sazz of Cootes Paradise


Downstream, is Cootes Paradise’s 2nd CD (release date August 21, 2020), following up on the success of their Maple Blues Award nominated self-titled first release. Producer Nick Blagona’s death and the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the release of the album, but under the capable hands of Roman Marcone (Halo Recording Studio), the project was completed, and the band is eager to present their new music to the world.


Ken Wallis is the former Associate Dean, Media & Entertainment, at Mohawk College, Hamilton, Ontario. Now retired, he currently is a music promoter at Blues Source Entertainment, and presents two radio shows, Blues Source Canada and Blues Source International, which air weekly on Blues & Roots Radio and The Hawk FM. Ken is a nominations panellist for the Maple Blues Awards.


Cootes Paradise is a collective of six musicians who chose to play together based not only on their talents, but who they are as people. The business of music can be a cold and punishing enterprise, so forming a group comprising of kind, enthusiastic, collaborative individuals was the goal that founding member Lily Sazz had in mind when she began to recruit the musicians. The hope was that if these gifted individuals gelled personally, great music would follow. And she was right.


Cootes Paradise specializes in original roots based music that is bluesy, funky, and filled with soul. Featuring lead vocals by the legendary Sue Leonard ( k.d. lang, Bruce Willis, Bon Jovi ), and Wayne Krawchuk ( Sidestreet, Tight Little Island ) supported by Mark Volkov (a triple threat, playing flute, sax, and violin), Lily Sazz (keyboards, vocals), Amy Di Nino ( drums, vocals ), and Ian Taylor ( bass, vocals ), the result is an infectious, groove-based sound with a mix of super cool covers and originals that easily stand up to the rest of the repertoire.




Ken chats with founder member Lily Sazz about the new album.


Ken Wallis


This is a band that's got a knack for turning out some great tunes., and joining us is Lily Sazz keyboardist and I guess I should say, the founder of Cootes Paradise.

Lily Sazz


Yes, definitely. It was definitely my brainstorm that came up with the idea for sure. Yeah.

Ken Wallis


First of all Lily, tell us where the title Downstream came from?

Lily Sazz


Well, first of all, we didn't want to name the song after any specific track in the album, and the reason why is because we have two incredible lead singers and I really wouldn't want to single out one of them by choosing one of their tracks to be the title track of the album. We solved that problem with our first CD because it was self-titled. But with the second CD, we wanted to come up with something.


It started with an idea I had. We're all downstream which kind of to me means that everything that happens, when the factory pollutes down the street upstream, we're all downstream from that. We're all affected by it, and it was just kind of inspired by what's going on in the world. Then we just decided that we would shorten that to downstream because of course, Cootes Paradise has lots of water, and we have Spencer Creek and Dundas and it just felt like the visualization that made sense to us. Even though it really isn't for any particular reason, we just liked it

Ken Wallis


The album features a full wall of sound, and you know, that's a term that's often used with power trios, but what I get on this CD is this is a full band sound.

Lily Sazz


It's very much a collaboration even more so with a second record because with the first record we brought songs that have been written for the most part to just kind of get things going. But, now with the second record, there's a lot more collaboration, a lot more co- writing going on. It is very much a team, and yeah, I'm happy that you pick up on that sense because it really is very much a group, and really for our listeners that may not know the band, I'll tell you one thing, we're certainly going to make sure that they do know the band.

Ken Wallis


Why don't you give us a rundown on who's in the band and who's playing what instrument?

Lily Sazz


Sure, I always like to list them alphabetically, because we're very democratic that way. We've got Amy Di Nino on drums. Wayne Krawchuck on guitar and he's one of our lead vocalists. Sue Leonard is our other lead vocalist and myself, Lily Sazz on keyboards, and then Ian Taylor on bass and Mark Volkov is a triple threat on saxophone, flute and violin.

Ken Wallis


And recently you also put out a new music video.

Lily Sazz


Yes, we did. You would know all about that. Thank you very much for the lovely interview that you did as part of our premiere for that. That was one of the songs that is featured on this new record is called The First Time and The First Time was performed live at Hugh's room back in the olden days when we were allowed to perform live. We had it beautifully filmed by Adam Carter from Melodic Pixel Media, and so we thought it would be really nice to have that video released and it was generously premiered by the Toronto Blue society back in what was that, June I guess? It was great because it is one of the songs on the record and the live performances a pretty good reflection of the song, so it was kind of nice to have something out there, and that's a perfect segue into the next question.

Ken Wallis


With things opening up a little bit now, does Cootes Pararadise have any thoughts about any live performances or anything else coming up in the future?

Lily Sazz


The truth is, I feel as though solo, duo and trio performers are going to have the option to work before a six piece band like us does. We do have a couple of ideas about ways that we might be able to perform, but it may be a combination of virtual and distance. But nothing solid at this time. Not until things open up a little more for everyone's safety, we are kind of just laying low and focusing on our virtual existence for a while.

Ken Wallis


And again, the release is called Downstream, and Lily where can folks get a copy?

Lily Sazz


So if they are still looking for a physical copy, it's going to be available for order online via bandcamp, and of course, digitally it'll be downloadable and streamable on all the usual platforms, Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, all that stuff.

Ken Wallis

Lily thank you so much for your time,.

Lily Sazz


Thank you so much, Ken. We've always appreciated your support and we really enjoy your show. I love listening to your show anytime I can.



Website: www.cootesparadiseband.ca

Facebook: www.facebook.com/cootesparadise

Instagram: www.instagram.com/cootes_paradise_band

Twitter: twitter.com/cootes_paradise



 

 

 

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