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Volume 12 - Issue 3 - November 2006

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Demonstrative as well as

Demonstrative as well as discordant,his strident runs andchoked vibrato allow him to practicallyrecompose tunes such asGiant Steps and Cherokee. Meanwhilehis glossolalia coupled withthe strident rhythms of drummerMichael Wimberley and bassistGerald Benson give standards likeWhat's New and Softly as in aMorning Sunrise an inchoate dissonancesimilar to the interface exhibitedon shrieking and dissonantGayle originals.Often playing altissimo, the saxophonistmasticates phrases and timbres,then spits them out doubletonguedand with a wide vibrato. Themost characteristic work is on twoextended tracks. Chasing/PraisingThe Lord, for instance, arches upwardsfrom Gayle's crying split tonesand flattement to the trio members'alternating strident, resonating instrumentaltimbres with guttural speaking-in-tongues,evocations of divinemercy and God's name. Wimberly'stympani rolls and Benson's legatoarco swells bounce and ripple behindthe saxophonist's yodeling brokentones on Holy Redemption. When heextends the track with AlbertAyler's Ghosts tremolo bugle-calllikevariations meld with sul tastobass work and blunt percussion attacksto toughen the familiar themeand make it more abstract."Live" is a characteristic reflectionof Gayle's alternately secularand scared art.Ken WaxmanFirst Choice:Piano Solo KK LuzernIrene SchweizerIntakt CD 108Not altering her style one whit despitethe location, Irene Schweizer,Switzerland's pre-eminent improvisingpianist, confirms herskills as a player, composer and interpreteron this CD, recorded liveat Lucerne's classical music concerthall whose initials are KKL.Encompassing child-like fantasias,fortissimo slides and breaksplus internal string manipulatedwith mallets and toys, Schweizer'sseven pieces range across SouthAfrican highlife dances, atonal Eu-74ropean experimental timbres, andAmerican blues and boogie woogie.During one number she effectivelymocks the venue's high culturepretensions by scratching thehigh gloss varnish of the building'swalls while reverberating bottleneckguitar-like slides with handstoppedpiano strings.Commencing with a 19-minuteimprovisation that introduces splayedwaterfalls of notes, repetitive righthandedslurs plus vibrant, polyphonicovertones, she interpolates standardjazz licks and kwela referencesbefore concluding with passingchords and echoing string clusters.With her touch thick and syncopatedas often as it's organic andgently balladic, the pianist's TheloniousMonk-like cadences on onenumber foreshadow her jaunty,stride infused version of his Oska T.- the set's only non-original - whichconcludes the official program. JungleBeats II, her encore, is a jumpyand jocular summation of the proceedings,melding jazz's rubatofreedom with the recurring tremoloof South African dance themes.In the fourth decade of her musicalcareer, the Swiss pianistproves without dispute that a wellappointed concert hall is one properplace to hear her music - shouldshe want to play there.Ken WaxmanSextantGianni Lenociambiences magnetiquesAM 154CDWWW. THEWHOLENOTE .COMMixing modal, minimalist andavant-garde impulses, the pieceson this CD stem from teachingmethodologies workshops Italianpianist Gianni Lenoci leads in hishometown of Monopoli. But there'snothing fussy or academic about thedate.Taking jazzman Eric Dolphy'sbuoyant intensity and composerMorton Feldman's static horizontalsound development as its contrastingboundaries, the Lenoci sextetnot only plays a composition byeach man, but also original tunesthat bound from one extremity tothe other, sonically coloring in theoften elusive middle distances.Playing piano, electric piano, synthesizer and electronics, Lenoci -who has recorded with French bassistJoelle Uandre - is especially noteworthyonSesante, where his sprintingglissandi and flashing octaves simultaneouslyreference legato fantasiaand tremolo improvisation. Buoyedby the hocketing undulations ofsaxophonists Fabrizio Scarafile andFrancesco Massaro, his keyboardnote clusters still leave space for distortedguitar reverb from Adolfo LaVolpe.Louder and more boppish, Puntashowcases Massaro's swaggeringbaritone saxophone growls on topof organic keyboard comping, whileRothko flirts with electronics. Exceptfor an occasional cymbal clapfrom Marcello Magliocchi and slurpingchirps from the saxes, this pieceis all Lenoci, who outputs brokenchord cadenzas and cascading arpeggiosthat expose internal string slidesand ring modulator -triggered gongs.With bassist Francesco Angiulion side to keep the band groundedduring the more traditionally jazzyand electronic compositions, thecomposer/pianist confirms that fluentimprovisations can arise fromcerebral forethought as well as inthe-momentplaying.Ken WaxmanAwakeningMark O'Leary;Steve Swallow; Pierre FauveLeo Records CD LR 460GateSound in Action TrioAtavistic ALP160CDAll That Is TiedRan BlakeTomkins Square TSQ1965Irish guitarist Mark O'Leary hasbeen making a stir over the last fewyears. Making records with everyonefrom Tomasz Stanko, Uri Caine,Mat Maneri to Matthew Shipp, he'sswallowed up whole by the art ofstretching his proverbial wings toenrich the jazz guitar landscape.Let's face it; there aren't manytraditional jazz guitarists willing togo out on a limb, which is whyO'Leary's latest trio "Awakening"is such a welcome sign. His modularsound reminds one of a harsherMetheny, but one who shows assuranceand a knack for testing newwaters. Bassist Steve Swallow,along with percussionist Pierre Favre,creates some interestinggroundwork for O'Leary to bask in.Swallow's insistence on leading thesession results in some rather tenaciousconflict in certain sections, allthe while Favre throws in colouringgalore in between the string players'skilled interaction. The moments ofstark beauty arrive when O'Learytrades in his electric guitar for 12-string acoustic and duels out withSwallow's tenderly spoken bass.What is most enthralling about thissession is the dialogue that is developedamongst the trio. This is a trulyrich and starkly beautiful session -the outcome of three players talkingon a par with one another.Judging by the amount of materialreed player Ken Vandermark hasthrown at us over the last little while,it's a surprise this is the first timehe's come up with a two percussionist- one reedman line-up. Recallingthe wonderful Brotzman-Benninkaxis, Vandermark moves fullonwith his programme. Employingpercussionists Tim Daisy and RobertBarry, his modus operandi is tothrow caution to the wind. This isn'tfree-playing by any stretch of theimagination. Though the trio getswild'n'heavy at times, Vandermarkkeeps everyone in check. His ownwild demeanour ensures the othersknow their place in the scheme ofthings. Both drummers (Barry beinga Sun Ra Arkestra alumni, whileDaisy is only half his age, but alreadymaking a solid name for himselt)strike out into the free-regions ofpoly-rhythmic scales and multi-facetednon-metric drumming.Throughout it all, the pulse remainssolid. When players break out in theirwildest abandon, they're still broughtback into reality and play more orless in a harsh melodic fashion. Withfive originals (dedicated to variouskey percussionists), and six choicecovers (from Eric Dolphy, Sun Ra,Albert Ayler, Ed Blackwell, HerbieNichols and John Coltrane), Vandermarkis eager to show an open-endedprogramme that will be encompassedby those who love free musicand those who love the history of jazz.N OVEMBER 1 - D ECEMBER 7 2006

Which only leaves me with one question:is this really free jazz for thosescared to dig deeper into the genreor is it simply a history lesson in jazzdrumming?Much in the same way I findMonk's music difficult to talk aboutI also find it very hard to discuss Ra~Blake's music. Not because I find itdemanding or off-putting. Just theopposite is true. Over the years, I'veconnected to his quirky delivery, hissense of adventure and his singularityon the piano. This personal magnetismmakes it very difficult to geta fair distance from the subject thatis being discussed. Forty years sincehis solo piano debut and an occasionto celebrate his 70th birthday, "AllThat Is Tied" marks a key milestonein this genius' lifeline. Every singlekey that is struck, every single chordchange and every single phrase hasa purpose. Blake is not known forwasting anything in his delivery. Withthe exception of the title piece, allnumbers are Blake originals whichconfirm the importance of this singularfigure in the world of newmusic, not just jazz. To relegateBlake to the jazz category wouldin fact be a misnomer, even thoughhe tends to be boxed into this category.When he strikes the ivorykeys, it's with a sense of purpose.Harsh, tender, mellow or somewherein between, he 's never indifferentwhere his fingers land.Mapped out in his head, the masterplan is balanced mix of the contemporary,jazz and new musicfields that sit nicely together. Mostof all, it's great to hear Blake hasnot lost his sense of quirky self. Thenotes sound half-complete, thephrases seem to be cut mid-waybut this makes all the sense in theworld . Welcome back an old genius,who I hope is brave enough torecord more solo work in years tocome. Flawless!Tom SekowskiEditor's note: The three labels representedin Tom Sekowski's revieware among the many avant-garde offeringsavailable from Verge Music(, an Uxbridge-baseddistribution companyspecializing in independent, alternative,new and improvised music."Happy 25th BirthdayTo You, Centrediscs!"The recording label of the CanadianMusic Centre is celebrating25 years of bringing themusic of Canadian composers tolisteners both at home andabroad. Since its initial releaseof electroacoustic music by theCanadian Electronic Ensemblein 1981, 27 vinyl recordingswere produced until 1987, andover 90 compact discs releasedsince that time . Centrediscs hasconsistently produced high qualityrecordings with impeccableproduction values, programming,artwork, choice of performersand works . It is no surprisethen that releases from itsroster have won three JunoAwards, two Grand Prix duDisque Canada, and numerousmentions in "Best Recordings ofthe Year" reviews.Every two to three years theArtists and Repertoire Committeemeets to choose recordingprojects from submissions received.Of key importance isthe fact that the committee acceptssubmissions "from anyonewho cares to present one", aguideline which, along with thestipulation that repertoire mustbe written by Associate composersof the Canadian MusicCentre, has resulted in recordingsof wide ranging flavour andcompositional flair. Such is thecase with two of the newestCentrediscs releases.Danse Sauvage (Allan Bell;Allan Rae; Mark Hand;Quentin Doolittle;John Abram;Kelly-Marie Murphy)Colleen Athparia, pianoCentrediscs CMCCD 11706EXTENDED PLAY: CentreDiscs at 25WWW. THEWHOLENOH.COM"Danse Sauvage" features thepianistic prowess of CalgarybasedColleen Athparia in performancesof solo compositionsby six current and former Prairieprovince natives. Athpariaapproaches all the works withan enlightened sense of sophistication.From the robust rhythmicnature of Allan GordonBell's title track Danse sauvageto the haunting prepared pianochiming of Mark Hand's Integrationand the eerie electroacoustic"scratches" accompanyingthe minimalist pianist writingof John Abram, Athparia is incontrol. She is at her best in themore virtuosic works, Take Backthe Ring by Allen Rae and TheQueens of Alice by QuentenDoolittle. The CD finishes withsuperstar composer Kelly-MarieMurphy's three-movement tourde force,Aural Tectonics , a technicallydemanding and aurallysatisfying composition.3 Solos: R. Murray SchaferBradyworksCentrediscs CMCCD/DVDU006"3 Solos: R. Murray Schafer" isa two disc release featuring a CDversion, and a second DVD-Audiodisc for surround sound listeningat no extra cost. Schafer is anicon of the Canadian landscapeand I cannot imagine a single Canadianartist whose work has notbeen influenced by his vision. Hismusic should be required listeningfor all Canadians! Here threemembers of Bradyworks (a grouporiginally formed to play the musicof guitarist Tim Brady) performworks composed by Schafer ·over, coincidentally, a 25 yearperiod.Soprano Anne Tremblayshines in her performance of Musicfor the Morning of the World(1970). The original analoguemasters of the 4-channel tapepart have been restored digitallyin this new version of the tapeaccompaniment. The text is anEnglish translation of severalwritings by the 13th century Sufimystic Jalai al-Din Rumi. It is alengthy work with meditativequalities in which an almost auralgame of tag is played betweenthe voice and tape part.Le Cri de Merlin (1987) featureselectric guitarist Tim Brady in acompelling performance of thiswork based on the story of Merlin,Wizard of King Arthur'scourt. The ending features atape part in which the performeris asked to add a soundtrack ofnative birds, in this case recordedon a very cold Februarymorning outside Brady's house!Finally, pianist Brigitte Poulindelivers a stellar performancein the solo piano work, DeluxeSuite for Piano (1995) , a workcommissioned by the CBC forJanina Fialkowska. Schafer'sonly solo piano compositionsince the early Polytonality of1952, Deluxe Suite is a technicallychallenging work with animprovisational quality thatmakes it an important addition tothe piano repertoire.Throughout its 25-year history,Centrediscs has produced aplethora of important recordings, from its 3-disc vinyl boxset of Harry Somers' opera LouisRiel to the recent continuingretrospective CD series "CanadianComposer Portraits" (seeRichard Haskell' s review of thelatest edition - Srul Irving Glick- above) . WholeNote readersare strongly urged to take thetime to explore the Centrediscscatalogue. Distributed by theCanadian Music Centre DistributionService, releases may bepurchased at all CMC officesselect Canadian record stores'.and of course, by mail order andonline. (In Toronto, contact theCMC at 416-961-6601 or at theirwebsite is truly the diamondof Canadian recording labels -here's a champagne toast tomany , many more years of recordinghealth , wealth and diversity!Tiina Kiik

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