Kory Livingstone is an author, and Juno-nominated jazz composer, pianist, teacher, and speaker living in the Greater Toronto Area. But before the episode can dig deep into music, we start with his parents Kay Livingstone, theatre actress and community activist and newspaper publisher George Livingstone.
Kory is carrying on their legacy, working as a public speaker himself, and Michael ends up fascinated by Kory’s thoughts on ethnic neighbourhoods and foundational atrocities of this continent. They also discuss the value of diversity and how difficult it can be to pursue it. Confronting systemic and cultured racism is difficult in modern Canada, in part because we’re so willing to address it in good faith.
When the conversation does shift to music, it’s about the joy and beauty found in form that Kory discovered in his teenage years listening to Bach and Bill Evans. Music is the canary in the coal mine of modern life; North America’s mine should be shuttered. This continent’s scene for jazz is losing not only spaces and airwaves, but the meaning of the word. Meanwhile, we learn that listening to the great composers is to be invited into the workshop of a great mind – the power to see genius at work, hearing it one element at a time and then being struck by it all at once.
However, musicianship is more than enjoying good work, or participating in beauty. To practice as a musician is to practice the skills for success in all aspects of life. Which leads to Kory’s book Quiet Determination, which started with compliment he got after a concert from a member of the venue’s staff and grew into a series of strategies to turn talent and art into mastery in your life.