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Volume 17 Issue 3 - November 2011

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  • November
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material is an eclectic

material is an eclectic mix, includingcompositions from Panton, Antonio CarlosJobim and Paul McCartney (check out themoving interpretation of And I Love Her/Him featuring Don Thompson on pianorendering chord changes that never enteredMcCartney’s mind).On the recording, Panton has cleverlysurrounded herself with superb musicians— including multi-instrumentalist andproducer Thompson on bass, piano andvibes. Guitarist Reg Schwager makes a stellarcontribution with his exquisite solos, asdoes flautist Bill McBirnie. The rich, sonorouslinear lines of Kiki Misumi’s celloalso enhance the arrangements. Highlightsinclude Panton’s Is it Really You, SambaSaravah (from the 1966 film A Man and aWoman, with authentic vocal and percussionfrom Maninho Costa), Jobim’s So Nicereplete with a lovely, breezy vocal and atake on the 1963 Bobby Vee hit, The NightHas a Thousand Eyes — demonstrating thatDiana Paton certainly knows her way arounda standard, Brazilian or otherwise. This isa stunning recording on all levels, and weshould all look forward to more from thelovely Ms. Panton.—Lesley Mitchell-ClarkeDream Maker, Heartbreaker –Sam Broverman sings Johnny MercerSam BrovermanIndependent BR002www.brovermusic.comIt’s clear fromthe first cut of hisdebut album — andthe well researched,informative linernotes — that SamBroverman adores,respects and lovessinging Johnny Mercer. Making DreamMaker, Heartbreaker was a dream come truefor Broverman and how nice for us that herealized his dream with 13 terrific tracks,backed by 18 of Toronto’s finest, includingChris Gale on tenor sax, pianists Peter Hilland Mark Kieswetter, cellist Roman Borys,Reg Schwager, guitar, Kevin Turcotte, trumpetand those wonderful Whiteleys — Chrison harmonica and trumpet, and Ken, multitaskingas always, this time on at least fourinstruments and playing producer.Knowing he would inevitably invoke thosetitans of style and interpretation — Sinatra,Bennett, Tormé — I’ve got to hand it to thisactuarial mathematics professor by day/jazzsinger by night for his bravery, dedicationand careful attention in taking on some ofMercer’s most beloved and recognizablesongs. Impressively, Broverman has put hisown stamp on them. His Laura is lovely andevocative; he swings like the best of themin Day In, Day Out; broods with depth andintelligence in I Wonder What Became of Me.And I was moved by Moon River. Brovermansings it with just the right amount ofsweetness, yearning and poignancy, managingto keep this nugget fresh and unhackneyed.(Oh, and the title of the CD? That’sright — third line, first verse.)Bravo — and Mazel Tov — toSamBroverman, a fellow Winnipegger-It’s difficult to be stirred nowadays bymuch new jazz from young musicians,especially if led by a guitarist, butAlex Goodman has done that with histhird album as leader. The Alex GoodmanQuintet – Bridges ( considerably from his compositionalability — he contributes eight attractive cuts,three intros and arranged tunes by Chopinand Bartók. It’s no surprise that classicalmusic’s virtues figure prominently here,underscored by the degree of group intimacy,cohesion and elegant execution — take a bowNick Morgan, woodwinds, Darcy Myronuk,piano, Dan Fortin, bass and Maxwell Roach,drums. Their subtle chemistry points toa collective understanding mindful of theiconic Modern Jazz Quartet. The plethoraof enterprising,shape-changingstructures has realappeal, as does theevident attentionto detail — the onlybust is a Chopinnocturne thatinhibits invention(the Bartók dancefares better). Thecomplexities arenever excessive, thecerebral soloing issuperb and TristanoBach has to be thecoolest bebop ever.Canadian tenorsaxophonist JohnTank has exiled himself for decades in NewYork, but on occasion sneaks back to tour.One recent visit spawned the excellent JohnTank Group – Jazz Live From The Registry(OlivOr 20112, a weighty75 minute session at the Kitchener venuethat illuminates the talents he displayedwhile a Toronto staple in the early 1970s.Backed by contemporary staples in BernieSenensky, piano, Jim Vivian, bass and TedWarren, drums, his bold technique and big,warm sound expressing consistently creativeideas is very appealing, though aggressivenotions are never out of control. ThinkSonny Rollins, as well you might during thelong, boiling opener Johtanson. Senenskyas always is a perfect and often-exhilaratingfoil throughout the seven long tunes, four byliving-in-Toronto. Ya done “The Peg” proud!—Sharna SearleConcert Note: Sam Broverman will performmaterial from Dream Maker, Heartbreakerat the Green Door Cabaret, December 3.It’s Our JazzGEOFF CHAPMANTank and two by him. The joint jumps withTank’s bruising What Is That Thing WithThe Swing and hard-nosed New Irk, NewWork. This band crackles from start to finish.Need a lift from still-mourning-summergloom? The versatile pianist and jazzentrepreneur, Bill King, relives his personaljazz and blues roots on The Bill King Trio –Five Aces (7Arts 0021 with a bustling dozen tracks (eightstrong originals by him) that feature skilledsidemen in electric bassist Collin Barrettand everywhere-man drummer Mark Kelso.This jazz journey gathers R&B, soul, swing,gospel and boogie under its entertainingwing, with King also exercising considerablechops on B3 organ and offering specificnods to James Brown and Eddie Floyd alongthe way, plus arollicking treatmentof Otis Redding’sI Can’t Turn YouLoose opening theaccount. There’soodles of short,sharp phrasing,spot-on emphasesand rhythmic drivealongside slow andsure, churchifiedentries such asCome Walk WithThee and I’ll ChaseThat Rainbow.My favourites:the definitive B3workout on Stax‘em High and the muscular King City Stomp.Jim Heineman’s Dream Band Rh Positive –Live @ Lorraine’s (Tima Town has the rarelyrecordedToronto veteran Heinemandirecting a lively, often cheerfully raucousset at an Ossington Ave. venue. It’s verywelcome. He plays tenor saxophone, fluteand saxello, composed the 12 wide-rangingtracks, many with a Latin flavour, and singsa bit, with fine jazzers in support — pianistStacie McGregor, bass Brandi Disterheft anddrummer/vibist Mark Hundevad. Also onhand are (son) Sam Heineman and frequentguests who back the leader’s tough, grainytonedand always swinging horn, heard togreat effect on alluring tunes like Stingy andthe bluesy Some Things Never Change.66 thewholenote.comNovember 1 – December 7, 2011

McGregor and Disterheft are in excellentform throughout. Best on disc: Them ShapeShifting Reptilians.Long-timecollaborators bassistMichael Herringand guitarist DonScott are importantmembers of thecontemporary jazzpicture and theyflourish withintheir able quartet. It’s to be enjoyed onPeripheral Vision Spectacle: LIVE (Step3 –004, tapedat Vancouver’s Cellar Jazz Club. Joined bytenor saxist Trevor Hogg and avant-jazzveteran Nick Fraser, their eight-tune set isinfinitely better than the unit’s self-titleddebut, always sophisticated and accessibledespite liberties taken with conventionalforms and ideas. That’s helped by thecompositional quality (five Herrings, threeScotts), the confident soloing by all, notablythe ever-improving Hogg, and the wayindividuals mesh before emerging fromoften-dense ensembles. The inspired ButterSide Down, the agile Living The Dreamand the seductive harmonies of Abide areparticularly memorable.Also worth noting:Benoit Delbecq/Francois Houle – BecauseShe Hoped (Songlines SGL1592-2) isa joyous, esoteric improvised musicworkout by long-time colleagues andveteran avant-jazzists, pianist Delbecq andclarinettist Houle, that swoops and soarsand reflects in astonishing sonic ways.Lester McLean – LM 4321 (LME002 showcases the manytalents of saxist/vocalist/songwriter McLeanon 15 mostly upbeat pieces, a dozen of themhis smart creations. The soulful, groovyatmosphere is aided by solid companions inhis ace brother Mark on drums, guitaristMichael Occhipinti and bassist Louis Simao.Turtleboy – Smart Matters (Songlines SGL1590-2 is a threesomeadept at re-imagining the sound of a sax trio,with Jonathan Lindhorst, tenor, Ryan Butler,guitars and Adam Miller, drums. Goodmelodies, integrated playing, pop and freejazz sensibilities abound.Something in the AirBrass-y Women Stand OutKEN WAXMANPOT POURRILand and SeaSarah SleanPheromone Recordings PHER CD 1019Enhanced freedom in music over thepast 60 years has involved more than theaddition of new instrumental techniquesand compositional strategies. Recasting ofgender roles has also taken place. No longerare women instrumentalists expected to playtraditionally delicate female instrumentssuch as violins or flutes; or those wherethey sit demurely such as the piano, harpor cello. This change is mostobvious in improvised music,where the number of womenwho stand up to play hasmultiplied exponentially. Manyhave chosen to become brassplayers, adapting their skillsto apparatuses which demandpower and stamina.Take Toronto trumpeterNicole Rampersaud for instance.The high-quality improvising she exhibitson Halcyon Science 130410 (BarnyardRecords BR0323 the company of saxophonist Evan Shaw,drummer Jean Martin, bassist Wes Nealand percussionist Tomasz Krakowiakdoesn’t distinguish in any way between hertalents and those of her colleagues. Duringseven group compositions, the quintetvaults back-and-forth from high-energyanthems to more cerebral explorationswith equal skill. Take me To Your Leaderis an example of the latter, as clatteringfriction from Krakowiak’s noise-makersevolves in stacked counterpoint alongsideShaw’s irregularly squeezed vibrationsplus the mouthpiece suckles and tremoloemphasis of Rampersaud. Her rubatoslurs and valve squeaks intersect perfectlywith the baritone saxophonist’s tonguedpercussiveness as Martin’s ratamacues, popsand drags presage harmonizing vamps anda final quivering dissolve. Meantime, thetitle tune and Dirigible movewith a chromatic gait. Theformer resembles an EricDolphy line, with repeatedclimaxes interrupted by midrangehonks from Shaw andstuttering pitches from thetrumpeter. Dirigible stackstimbres so that space betweenRampersaud’s staccato andheraldic tone and Shaw’sjuddering tempos are obvious. Still a nearbuglecall on the trumpeter’s part in the finalsequence signals a slowdown to barely thereflutter tonguing on her part, accompanied bythe reedist’s smooth obbligato, until togetherthey dovetail into muted tones framedby drumstick-rubbing friction from thetwo percussionists.For views on the work of other distaffbrass players including Bay area trumpeterCJ Borosque, Hamburg-based trumpeterBirgit Ulher and trombonist Gail Brand fromLondon, see the continuation of this columnat contrastin styles betweenthe two discs thatcomprise SarahSlean’s Land andSea is remarkable.Although why themonikers “Land”and “Sea” werechosen is not readily apparent, nothing muchis readily apparent on this recording. AndI mean that in a good way — a lot of Slean’ssongwriting needs to be sat with before itsbeauty and meaning can be gleaned. Themusic on the two discs has basically beendivided into hard-scrabble, guitar-prominentpop/rock on “Land,” while “Sea” is allswelling strings (arranged by JonathanGoldsmith) and rolling melodies.I confess I preferred “Sea,” largelybecause Slean’s Kate Bush-esque sopranois softened on the more languorous tempos.But there is still a lot of drama and gutsinessto “Sea,” especially on Napoleon andAttention Archers. “Land” features the sameintelligent, worldly lyrics as “Sea,” whileJoel Plaskett’s production choices draw outthe fun side of Slean’s work. So the adviceto get rid of baggage in Set it Free comesoff as cute and non-preachy, and the gospeltouches on Amen are subtle and nuanced.Slean is touring extensively throughoutSouthern Ontario and Canada in November.Check—Cathy RichesMore at • Daniel Foley’s review of the Ames Piano Quartet’s 14th release featuring the music of Hahn, Schmitt and Dubois.(Concert Note: Reviewer Daniel Foley’s own latest composition Music for the Duke of York will receive its premiere at an afternoon concert honouring thelate Antonin Kubálek at Walter Hall on November 6.) • Lesley Mitchell Clarke’s review of New York jazz vocalist Shirley Crabbe’s initial cd offering Home,featuring saxophone legend Houston Person and a “quintessential New York City rhythm section of Jon Burr on bass, Alvester Garnett on drums and JimWest and Donald Vega on piano.” • Ken Waxman’s review of Jazz: Let’s Go by Han Benninck, Holland’s “most recorded jazz drummer,” punk rocker TerrieEx and Toronto alto saxman Brodie West. • Tiina Kiik’s two-CD review of Muses Nine – Eight American Composers Plus One Pianist featuring BeckyBillock, piano; and Notable Women – Trios by Today’s Female Composers performed by the Lincoln Trio.November 1 – December 7, 2011 67

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