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Volume 12 - Issue 6 - March 2007

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  • Theatre
  • Jazz
  • Toronto
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  • Violin

The Complete 1936-1940

The Complete 1936-1940 Variety,Vocalion and Okeh Small Group SessionsDuke EllingtonMosaic MD7-235EXTEN OED PLAY - MOSAIC JAZZTwenty-four years ago Michael Cuscuna, then aNational Public Radio host, freelance writer andrecord producer,joined forces with Charlie Lourie,a record industry veteran, to create MosaicRecords, a direct-mail reissue label specializingin limited-edition boxed sets. These meticulouslyproduced and documented sets have showcasedjazz artists both well-known and not so wellknown.Every Mosaic box is, in some way, acomplete and definitive collection. The first oneissued, "The Complete Blue Note TheloniousMonk", contained all the music Monk recordedfor Blue Note Records. Later sets collected everythingan artist made for a particular companyover a certain period of time, the recent "TheComplete Columbia Recordings of Woody Herman1945 - I 947" being an example. Others, suchas 'The Complete Serge ChaloffSessions", haveoffered everything an artist recorded as leader,regardless of company affiliation. There have alsobeen sets containing everything a specialist labelTravel is more than just A to B. Travel should help you hit all of life's high notes.Before the curtain rises, fall for the Pre- Theatre Express Menu at Tundra,steps aw' from Toronto s opera house and entertainment district.Award-winning cuisine & wine await from 5 to 10:30 pm daiJy.Cocktails & tapas in Tundra Bar until 11 :30 pm daiJy.For reservations call (416) 860-6800®.HiltonTorontoTravel should take you places··TUNDRA145 Richmond Street West, Toronto, Ontario M5H 2L2 Tel: (416) 869-3456 • Fax: (416) 869-3187DUKf lWNGJOH: ftll tOM,LITI 1936-1940 VUl£fY,VOCAUON AND OHH SMALL GROUP Sf$SIOHIissued, featuring a wide variety of artists. First,there was the three-volume collection, 'The CompleteCommodore Jazz Recordings" (now outof-print),followed by "The Complete H.R.S.Sessions" which collects everything recorded forSteve Smith's Hot Record Society label.One of Mosaic's latest releases is a seven-CDset that gathers all the Duke Ellington small grouprecordings made between I 936 and I 940 for theVariety, Vocal ion and Okeh labels. In the I 940sthese masters were acquired by ColumbiaRecords (now part of Sony/BMG). Mosaic licensedthe music and has issued it in a limitededition of5,000.In I 936 Toronto native Helen Oakley, at the timea Chicago-based journalist and music publicist,talked Ellington's manager, Irving Mills, into makinga series of small-group recordings under thenominal leadership of some of Ellington's starsidemen. Trumpeter Cootie Williams, cornetistRex Stewart, clarinettist Barney Bigard, and altoand soprano saxophonist Johnny Hodges werethe men who got the nod. The groups they frontedranged in size from seven to nine pieces, theother players, in most cases, being fe llow membersof the Ellington orchestra. The music theyrecorded is timeless. In addition to the Ellingtonsmall group titles there are bonuses: a session byan Ellington sextet, another by an octet, a triotrack, three Ellington solo piano sessions, and apiano/bass duet date with Jimmy Blanton. There'salso a session by the Gotham Stampers, a pickupgroup combining Ellington and Chick Webbsidemen. Many tunes now considered Ellingtonclassics were first worked out and recorded onthese small group dates, among them Caravan,Echoes of Harlem, Jeeps Blues and The Jeepis Jumpin '.The production of the set is up to Mosaic's usualhigh standard. Special kudos go to Steven Laskerfor his excellent notes and superb digital transferand sound restoration. I' ve been listening tothese recordings for more than fifty years, butthis time it was almost like hearing them for thefirst time.Mosaic sets are available from Mosaic Records,35 Melrose Place, Stamford CT, U.S.A. 06902-7533.Tel: (203) 327-7 111 Fax: (203) 323-3526Website: www.mosaicrecords.comDon Brown78WWW, THEWHOLENOTE.COMMARC H 1 - APRIL 7 2007

Back BeatEnthusiast's date withpianos of the greatsfine fuel for fantasyFlipping through the February WholeNote,savouring a review here and there, I came tothe full page ad inside the back cover. It leftme unbelieving.An invitation to play the personal pianos ofVan Cliburn and Horowitz! Anyone couldregister for 15 minutes with these legendarypianos and a third Steinway designed to commemorateGeorge Gershwin?I called Remenyi House of Music immediately."Monday Feb 19th at !pm." Just likethat. And I get a recording too. I look at thead again and now the photos of Van Cliburnand Horowitz seem to say "Carmin! nowyou better find some place to practise!"(Some downtown Torontonians may recallmy recent candidacy for city council in Trinity-Spadina,campaigning for a kind ofTinPanAlley, a small welcoming place for songwritersand piano players. Hey! there's adiscovery district whatever that means .... what about a song-writing district? Thatwas my campaign.)Right now, oh for half an hour to practisein some such place before my fifteen minuteson some of the most incredible instrumentsever built.As it happened, I had an audience of two.The gentleman on the staff of Remenyi incharge of recording us enthusiasts and JoeF iorito the Metro Diary columnist of the TorontoStar (whose book Union Station is oneof my favourites about the city).I started with Berkeley Street Blues andMy Way to Toronto Song, two of my own.(What wanna-be composer of popular songcould resist the chance of being able to say"here's the Van Cliburn version")? As a tokenof respect I chose a few bars from Rhapsodyin Blue and the Grande Polonaise ...and, finally, Billy Preston's great You Are SoBeautiful (which he said was musically inspiredby Chopin).I might as well have been in CarnegieHall! All I needed was Paris Hilton there tomake it a complete dream come true. Whenit was over I felt it was perhaps one of themost memorable few moments in my life.Joe smiled (and told me I might make it intohis column) as he waited for the next pianoenthusiast. And the gentleman from Remenyi's complimented me.Back to the store later to pick up the CDand arrange for the photo, another piano enthusiastwas just sitting down. A breathtakingflourish of melody came from the mikedHorowitz piano .... the fellow had given up asa concert pianist at 23 and was now a successfulstockbroker in the Hong Kong market.Still , I thought I could hear Van Cliburn,Horowitz and Gershwin applauding and shouting"Bravo." (And Paris Hilton whispering "nevermind Carmin! You were hot too.)Cam1in PrioloM AR CH 1 - APRIL 7 2007iorld 's Le°{f f ~~;:i~t;;;,,~~~~::~;;:::°'• Featuring great Canadian artists2 o o 1 All this at an astonishingly low price!-.\llA.\ ISI •.111ufklr1 ·,,.~!' ,~ ..... itJohn AdamsComplete Piano MusicRalph van Roat, piano8559285George Frideric Handel - TobitKnut Schoch, tenorBarbara Hannigan, sopranoFrankfurt Baroque Orchestra8570113-14il tl l \l h.~ J'I :.... . '1.-:..,1~ .. -·....... ,.,...,.••,1. • •...,·~·,•t..I. ""'·-'11.-, ... ~,~~f! ... ~.r ....... ~..oo.1...>..hPyotr Il'yich TchaikovskyViolin Concerto in D major, Op. 35Ilya Kaler, violin • Russian PODmitry Yablonsky, conductor8557690Dietrich Buxtehude - Vocal MusicEmma Kirkby, soprano8557251Available at HMV 333 Yonge St., TORONTOAntonio VivaldiComplete Bassoon Concertos • 4Tamas Benk6cs, bassoonBela Drahos, conductor8557829't~ Ill HJ 1.: IFranz SchubertString Quartet No. 5 in B flat majorKodaly Quartet8557126wholenoteWholeNote Magazine applauds its distinguishedperforming members and industry partnersnominated for the 2007 Juno Awards!. ..Associates of the Royal ConservatoryCanadian Children's Opera ChorusAnalektaATMA ClassiqueCBC RecordsCentrediscsEMI ClassicsUniversal MusicCongratulations to ALL the nominees!WholeNote promotes the recording industry with our extensive monthlyCD review section, D/SCoveries, available in print and on-line.Visit our Juno Awards on-line page for a description of the nomineesand reviews that have appeared in WholeNote.www.thewholenote.comWWW, TH EWHOLENOTE.COM 79

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