Savvy Musician Drums Up a Steady Jazz Gig in Toronto

Article excerpt

Before each Thursday night gig at the Azure Restaurant and Bar, in the InterContinental Toronto Centre, Dan Bodanis of Local 149 (Toronto, ON) goes to the Black Forest Pastry Shop and picks up a box of gourmet dark chocolate Belgian cookies for the members of his band and the restaurant staff. "You know how Italian mothers can never feed you enough?" says Bodanis, drummer and leader of the Dan Bodanis Band, who has had the Azure gig every weekend since April. "That's how I try to treat my musicians."

It's not just the decadent cookies that make working for Dan Bodanis a sweet gig-it's the benefits. Musicians that work with Bodanis receive full pension contributions and work dues, are paid higher than scale, get fed at every gig and rehearsal, and they even get free valet parking worth $35 a night. Bodanis makes sure every gig is up to contract and files jobs with Local 149 (Toronto, ON). Regular bandmates include Local 149 members Bernie Senensky on piano and Steve Wallace on the bass. Sometimes sax player Pat Labarbera and trombone player Russ Little, also of Local 149, play with the group.

In a time where regular gigs for jazz bands are few and far between, the Dan Bodanis Band performs Thursday through Saturday nights, every week, and was recently offered a five-year contract with a six-month option at Azure. "The hotel's general manager, Renaud Payette, is a tremendous jazz fan and loves the band and treats them well," says Bodanis. "We are so blessed to have this gig at Azure and work for people who truly understand jazz, are fans of musicians, and treat us like royalty."

Bodanis, a senior financial advisor at Dundee Private Investors Inc. and certified portfolio engineer, says his background in business and marketing helped him land the Azure gig in the first place. Bodanis is also the author of, Drumming Up Referrals: How to Build a Successful Business by Word of Mouth. "Business people used to be called drummers, so I am a drummer," says Bodanis. "Drumming is a metaphor for my business and my life. …