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6 years ago

Volume 11 Issue 8 - May 2006

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Serenade Oliver Jones

Serenade Oliver Jones Justin Time JTDVD 5101-9 Released on Justin Time this is a generous serving of Mr. Jones. There is a concert videotaped at the 2004 Montreal International Jazz Festival where he is accompanied by Dave Young on bass and Norman Marshall Villeneuve on drums. It Terez Montcalm Voodoo features a well-balanced programme of standards, among them, naming only a few, songs like Street Of Dreams, In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning and a medley of George Gershwin gems, along with some of Oliver's own compositions, Blues For Helene, Dance Again Diana, Tetra Tetra and Snuggles. The video quality is excellent and anyone who has heard him recently can vouch for the fact that Oliver has lost none of his musicianship. Bonus tracks include a lengthy informal interview with Oliver seated by a piano and talking about his life, the influence of Oscar Peterson, the difficulties of finding places to play when he was young and an appreciation of his long relationship with Jim See Terez Montcalm LIVE in Toronto May 9 at 9pm Montreal Bistro 65 Sherbourne St, at the door May 11 also appearing at Jazz FM's Jazz Lives 2006, Convocation Hall, U of T Buy her new sultry, jazz-inspired bestselling CD VOODOO Available at select Chapters and Indigo, in-store and online .: . West and Justin Time Records, and the icing on the cake comes in the fonn of a couple of numbers where Jones joins the Oscar Peterson Quartet, featuring UlfWakenius, guitar, Alvin Queen, drums and the late Nils-Henning Orsted Pedersen on bass. This DVD provides an enjoyable and interesting visual and aural picture of someone who has made a lasting impact on Canadian jazz. It's also a reminder that nice guys can be winners. Jim Galloway New Orleans - That's Our Home Bob Barnard; John Sheridan; Don Vickery Sackville SKCD2-3068 This tribute to the beleaguered city of New Orleans is performed by three outsiders, but that's no cause for concern. The happy results are infused with the indomitable spirit and panache one automatically associates with the Crescent City. Cornetist Bob Barnard, who hails from Melbourne, Australia, pianist John Sheridan, a native of Ohio, and drummer Don Vickery, born in Halifax, but long resident in Toronto, summon up the shades of the original creators of this music with love and admiration. The three men obviously share a life-long familiarity with New Orleans jazz. Their playing is filled with small details that pay homage to such giants as Armstrong, Morton, and Oliver. And they've chosen some great tunes, all associated with New Orleans or its environs. Composers represented include Jelly Roll Morton, Joe Oliver, Lil Armstrong, Ellington, Johnny Mercer, and Hoagy Carmichael. There's also a Bob Barnard original. Possessor of a gorgeous tone, Bob Barnard has developed into one of the most impressive brassmen on the scene today. He plays with the kind of ease and authority one used to hear in the work of Ruby Braff and Buck Clayton. And pianist John Sheridan never fails to impress. I've always enjoyed his playing but was really knocked out by the way he can evoke Jelly Roll Morton without resorting to imitation. Then there's the always dependable Don Vickery, who tips his hat here to New Orleans drum pioneers Baby Dodds and Zutty Singleton. Don't miss this one. Don Brown Preface OneUpOneDown Independent OUOD-001 (www .oneuponedown.ca) The appeal of OneUpOneDown's debut "Preface" is its gentle fluidity. Both Canadians, saxophonist Cameron Wallis and pianist Paul Shrofel who make up the duo, look on their music as something that is to be savoured, rather than simply ravaged through. This isn't a quick, run-of-the-mill "let's amaze them with our skills" blasting session but a tender, reflective, at times even ponderous recording of two minds that think alike. Luckily, nowhere does the music hit that dreaded "smooth jazz" category that I absolutely dread. Rather, this is a lyrical session that showcases the writing talents of both individuals ( writing credits are almost equally shared). Their musical friendship has led them to understand each other's core values and to take note of each other's abilities. Is this an album full of ballads, you ask? Sure it is. However, they're not wilted leaves fallen on a forest path . They're more like budding flowers in the spring, waiting to bloom. Shrofel's piano is mostly meditative and at times gets a tad too serious and dire, while Wallis blows soprano passages that are lovely, though at times a bit too sweet for my ears. I wish the two actually explored a form of outright improvisation that would showcase instant composition methods that are available to them. With that said, "Preface" is just a fair debut. But there is promise here and I look forward to the possibility of future projects that cou Id actually place the duo in an "outstanding " category. Breath Steve Amirault Effendie FND059 Tom Sekowski "Breath" is the 4th album from lyrical Montreal pianist Steve Amirault and features nine original songs per-

formed in a trio setting with Amirault' s long time collaborator Jim Vivian on bass and up and coming drummer Greg Ritchie. Amirault is a magnificent player with a fluid touch and ample technique. He's not afraid to really stretch a tune and often some of the best group playing occurs on the extended outro's of tunes like Society Intrigue and It'll be OK. At times it feels as though Jarrett is in the room, especially on the 'concert hall gospel' treatment of le Vois Clemente Danser and Amirault's languid phrasing on most everything. The band works well together to wring as many textures as possible out of the piano trio setting. Veteran bassist Jim Vivian is solid in support and delivers fine solos on Acceptance, If We Believe in Love and a wonderful intro on It'll be OK. Drummer Ritchie definitely holds his own, and adds a shimmering rhythmic punch to much of the material. The only knock on this fine CD is that a few of the original tunes seem to be chords in search of a melody or bed tracks for a soloist that didn't make the session. However, after a few listens, it's easy to forget to nitpick and just get happily lost in this highly personal, impeccably performed and well-recorded CD. Richard Underhill Alexis Baro fl ii'.' iln" fl ,:II r! 11 ii Havana Banana Alexis Baro, trumpet Groove United ABA 406 2004 National Jazz Award co-winner Alexis Baro was a nominee in several NJA categories again this year - quite a feat given that only six years ago he was a young man still living in Cuba. But since moving to Toronto, Baro has made many musical friends, a reputation for himself as a hot trumpet player and now, a CD. Baro wrote the majority of the 10 MAY 1 - ]UNE 7 2006 tunes on "Havana Banana". In general this isn't a pour-yourself-a-single-ma! t-and-chi I I-out-by-the-fireplace kind of disc. In fact, I don't think I heard anyone play anything longer than a quarter-note in the first few tracks. But Baro and the band hit some nice grooves, which are at times reminiscent of70's Latin- and non-Latin jazz, with the presence of the Fender Rhodes. The covers Baro has chosen are gems: Wayne Shorter's Footprints and Oliver Nelson's Stolen Moments, which add to Baro' s stylistically varied originals. Barn's sound is more Maynard than Miles, owing to his bright, edgy sound and smokin' high notes, which he employs on nearly every tune. With the 70's and 80's jazzfunk style and tenor and trumpet horn lines (sax duties are shared by Jeff King and Jeff Bornes), the Brecker Brothers come to mind more than once. Steady bandmates Luis Orbegosa on congas, Chendy Leon on drums and Paco Luviano on bass drive the tunes forward. Cathy Riches The Hidden Land Bela Fleck and the Flecktones Columbia 8279696417 2 Banjo player Bela Fleck once again demonstrates why he is credited by many for reinventing the image of the banjo, on the latest recording with his group the Flecktones. "The Hidden Land" opens with the fugue from Bach's Prelude and Fugue No. 20 in A minor - skillfully arranged for the band's unique instrumentation (which also features Jeff Coffin on saxophones, Victor Lemonte Wooten on Bass and Future Man/Roy El on drumitar/percussion) - and moves without pause into the heavily swinging P'lod in the House. The original compositions stay true to the virtuosic style that fans of this band have come to expect; Kaleidoscope which is by turns wonderfully danceable and mind-twistingly complex rhythmically, while Coffin's warm clarinet tone and Fleck's acoustic banjo make for a beautiful duet at the beginning of the WWW.THEWHOLENOTE. COM / THE SMARTEST TIME TO INVEST IN A STEINWAY IS AL\VAYS THE SANIE. _,) ' I j TODAY. Steinway Pianos have a legenda1:y record of financial appreciation, increasing in value to many tirnes their original purchase price. \Ve invite you to visit us today or call for a complimentary investment brochure. Ontario'.~ Only Authorized Stein1Vay Gallery and Restoration Centre. www.remenyi.com Main Store: 210 Bloor St. W. Toronto Tel: 416.961.3111 North 1455 16th Ave. Richmond Hill Tel 905.881.3400

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