Sunday, January 20, 2008

Tribute Messages Wanted -- "Many Rivers to Cross", A Tribute to Salome Bey and Howard Matthews

"Many Rivers to Cross" is a benefit event and a tribute to Salome Bey and her husband Howard Matthews (The First Floor Club) for their combined and individual contributions that are now reflected, not just here in Canada, but across the International Jazz and Blues scene.

Tribute messages are greatly appreciated, kindly contact us or send your messages to (Digital images and video messages are accepted!)

7 Quick Facts about Salome Bey:

Salome Bey

  1. Salome Bey was born in Newark, New Jersey.

  2. At fourteen she took first place in the Apollo’s infamous Wednesday Night in Harlem amateur night competition. Her father refused to allow her to accept the prize.

  3. For a time, Salome Bey studied law at Rutgers University.

  4. Once, when asked how it felt to be known as The First Lady of the Blues, Salome Bey responded, “I don’t think I’m old enough yet.”

  5. Andy and The Bey Sisters performed at Toronto’s Colonial Tavern in 1961. She met future husband, Howard Matthews during that tour.

  6. Besides singing, Salome Bey has performed in theatre and television, appearing in the role of Momma Lolla in the television series Due South.

  7. In 2005, Salome Bey was made an Honorary member of The Order of Canada. She has also received The Martin Luther King Jr. Lifetime Achievement award.

7 Quick Facts about Howard Matthews:

Howard Matthews

  1. In 1947, the first person Howard Matthews met when his family arrived in Toronto was Archie Alleyne. Archie sat one seat ahead of Howard at Lansdowne Public School.

  2. The Matthews were originally from the Island of St. Kitts.

  3. Architect Harvey Cowan, Archie Alleyne and Howard Matthews once shared a house at 260 Church Street.

  4. Howard was the proprietor of Toronto’s The First Floor Club located at 33 Asquith Avenue.

  5. Howard wed Salome Bey wed in 1964. They have three children and one grandchild.

  6. A fundraising concert series known as The Blues Ball was established by Howard Matthews. Proceeds went to the Canadian Cancer Society.

  7. The Underground Railroad, Toronto’s first soul-food restaurant, was opened by Howard Matthews.


In Support of

The Archie Alleyne Scholarship Fund & St. Christopher House Music School

Sunday February 10, 2008

The George Weston Recital Hall

The death of jazz legend Oscar Peterson has the media discussing Mr. Peterson’s 1949 Carnegie Hall international jazz debut while performing with Norm Granz’s Jazz at the Philharmonic. A brilliant performance, the audience that evening experienced a once in a lifetime event.

For the first time in recent memory, a JATP style performance will be staged in Toronto by the biggest names in Canadian jazz music, including Archie Alleyne, Guido Basso, Joe Sealy, Ranee Lee, Frank Wright, Don Thompson Dione Taylor, Kollage Sextet and more.

This JATP style jazz performance is part of the larger multimedia staging of Many Rivers to Cross. Based on a Multicultural History Society of Ontario exhibit of the same name, the show is being staged during Black History Month. Many Rivers to Cross depicts the unique African-Canadian experience from the 16th century, through to the Underground Railroad and on to the present.

Guest speakers include former Chief Justice The Honourable Roy McMurtry and Officer of Order of Military Merit, Major Peggy Downes.

In addition to numerous musical performances, dance, visuals and narration, the evening will pay special tribute to the lifetime contribution husband and wife, Salome Bey and Howard Mathews have made performing, as well as promoting jazz and blues music in Canada and on the world stage.

Many Rivers to Cross promises to be another once in a lifetime event

Tickets are $50.00. To purchase, contact Ticketmaster at 416-872-1111 or visit



Multi-award winning jazz drummer and band leader, Archie Alleyne and other noted Canadian musicians will perform highlights from “Many Rivers to Cross” and be available for interviews. Also available will be the director and students from the St Christopher House Music School. There will be photo and video ops during the performance.

This event will be held at Stonegrill restaurant in the historic Winchester Hotel location at Parliament and Winchester Streets in downtown Toronto.

Please contact the following for further information or to schedule exclusive interviews:

Date & Time: January 22nd, 6pm
Location: @ Stonegrill, 51 Winchester St. Toronto – Open Press Call
Other Info:

Please contact the following for further information or to schedule exclusive interviews:

Elvira Fernandes at 416-271-3879 or