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Volume 20 Issue 5 - February 2015

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Volume 20 Issue 5

The Feed-back The Group

The Feed-back The Group Schema Easy Series SCEB 916 CD ( The musical ferment of the 1960s saw a breakdown in boundaries between categories and a corresponding expansion of permissible content. Few locales were more experimental than Italy, where the burgeoning electronic music scene created special connections. The Feed-back, recorded circa 1970, can still surprise with its vigorous mix of free improvisation and rock beats. Behind the Anglicized “Group” resides the Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza or just “Il Gruppo.” Organized in 1964 by composer Franco Evangelisti (whose role here appears to be reduced to writing liner notes), the shifting ensemble creates three collective improvisations that use foreground, almost mechanized, rock drumming by Renzo Restuccia (the members of The Group are uncredited on the actual CD) to link distinct elements. The most prominent member of the group is composer Ennio Morricone, whose skill as a composer of moody soundscapes extends here to his pensive, probing trumpet work. His lines are both rich in tonal colour and structural suggestion, and he and trombonist John Heineman use mutes extensively to suggest Martin Denny’s lounge exotica and Miles Davis’ contemporaneous jazz fusion. The longest piece here, Kumâlo, is also the most adventurous, including a solo by guitarist Bruno Battisti D’Amario that sounds like an electric banjo and pans between speakers à la Jimi Hendrix. Brief even by LP standards at 28 minutes, The Feed-back retains the adventure and surprise that distinguished it 45 years ago. Stuart Broomer POT POURRI Off the Road Mike Herriott; Arturo Sandoval MHP Records MHPR1301 ( Although perhaps best known as a classical trumpeter who extends into a number of milieus, Mike Herriott is also a multi-gifted, multiinstrumentalist who regularly acquits himself brilliantly on trumpet, French horn, trombone, electric and acoustic bass, piano, percussion and more. On Off the Road, Herriott has utilized a melange of styles, approaches and instrumentations – blurring the lines between jazz, classical, rock and Latin musics. Not quite a one-man-band, Herriott’s talented support on the CD includes percussionist Richard Moore, guitarist Sean Harkness and Canadian Brass trombonist Achilles Liarmakopoulos, as well as his special guest – iconic Cuban trumpeter Arturo Sandoval. Herriott contributes the bulk of the compositions here, with additional material from the eclectic likes of Pete Townsend of The Who, J. S. Bach and 18th-century composer Gottfried Reiche. Prepare to be thrilled from the solo trumpet opener Abblasen Fanfare, through the stirring, swinging, bop-infused Dear John (a Freddie Hubbard tune, featuring Sandoval), to the final selection – Herriott’s incisive take on Bach’s Adagio, Sonata in G Minor for Solo Violin (performed on trumpet, of course!). Other complex and challenging gems include the plaintive Stay Thirsty, My Friend (a tribute to his dear friend Alex Mitchell); the cinematic opus Home Suite Home (featuring the exceptional drumming/percussion of Moore) and the Latin cooker, Cancion de Kyra (with some face-melting guitar work from Harkness). Off the Road is not only an immense technical achievement, but the work of a deeply emotional artist clearly at the apex of his creativity and skill. Lesley Mitchell-Clarke The Fabulist Colin Maier Independent CMCD 002 ( Currently best known as the oboist with Quartetto Gelato, Canada’s popular classical touring ensemble, Colin Maier is a man of formidable talents that go far beyond playing the oboe. Remember the opening ceremonies of the Vancouver Olympics of 2010? Maier was the guy playing violin in the flying canoe. Having performed as an actor, dancer, stuntman, martial artist and acrobat, what first brought him to the Toronto area was a gig as a hobbit in the stage production of Lord of the Rings. The Fabulist is Maier’s second solo CD and an absolute delight on so many levels. Displaying flawless technique, Maier is not only a master of the oboe but also plays a staggering number of other instruments on this recording, including woodwinds, strings, strummed instruments, percussion and musical saw. And he also sings! This recording is sheer fun – the choice of repertoire indicates that it doesn’t take itself too seriously, yet there is nothing amateurish about it at all, except in the true meaning of the word! This labour of love is evident throughout the mish-mash of genres; there are a couple of classical pieces for oboe (the beautiful Poulenc sonata and a showy movement by Pasculli). The rest is a bit of jazz, Celtic, some commissions by young Canadian composers and tunes by Richard Rogers and Cape Breton singer-songwriter Buddy MacDonald. Maier is accompanied by pianist and recording engineer Mark Camilleri, his colleagues from Quartetto Gelato and others, including himself; most remarkable is the final piece from which the CD takes its title, by Rebecca Pellett, in which Maier is literally his own orchestra, playing 13 instruments via the wonders of multi-track recording. This must have taken hours to produce, but I’ll bet it was fun! If the darkness of winter is getting you down, drop everything right now and buy this CD! It is guaranteed to make you smile. To learn more about Maier, visit his website, Karen Ages After Rain Matt Sellick Independent ( after-rain/id930972312) After Rain is a very interesting new CD from the Thunder Bay guitarist and composer Matt Sellick. There’s no bio or recording information included, but his Facebook page notes that he has been playing guitar since the age of eight (he’s now 20) and moved through several styles from electric to classical before developing a passion for flamenco guitar. In the brief notes on the CD digi-pack Sellick says that he plays a flamenco guitar, uses flamenco techniques and uses flamenco song forms as the starting point for his compositions. That should give you a pretty good idea of what his music sounds like: Sellick displays a solid technical base and a good tone, and the nine pieces here are entertaining and creative, with some nice effects and interesting harmonies. Track titles include: Drink From the Fountain; Allons-y!; In the Rain; A Beautiful Day; and For Paco, presumably a tribute to Paco de Lucía, one of Sellick’s admitted influences. Callejón Aynadamar is an excellent solo track (you can watch a performance on YouTube) but the other eight tracks include rhythm and percussion backing and possibly other guitars, although it’s not clear who – if it isn’t Sellick – provides these. Sellick is clearly a very talented and creative young musician. He admits that he doesn’t know precisely what kind of music he writes, but says that “it’s music I want to share, and I hope it’s music you will enjoy.” Well, mission accomplished! The tracks are available for download on iTunes as noted above, or you can contact Sellick for a hard-copy: Terry Robbins 66 | February 1 - March 7, 2015

Mandala: The Cosmos Is Their Oyster Monsoon Independent ( Another Kickstarter album success story, Monsoon’s Mandala was successfully funded through the crowdfunding platform, though there is also an OAC logo on the tri-fold’s back cover. The result is the Toronto-based group’s debut studio album, featuring assured performances captained by the sax, clarinet and bansuri (North Indian flute)-playing brothers Jonathan and Andrew Kay, and bassist Justin Gray. Leading Canadian advocates of Indojazz, in 2007 they organized the Toronto International Indo-Jazz Festival, the first in the nation. The Kay brothers set the tone throughout the album with post-bop jazz modal expositions, revealing imaginative and moody compositions on which the performances hang. Their melodic solos and duos are imbued with characteristic Hindustani ornament and idiomatic gestures inherent to raga, derived from indigenous South Asian dhrupad and khyal music genres. These are aided in no small degree by Ravi Naimpally’s solid tala structures, grooves and solos on the tabla. On the jazz side of the equation Adam Teixeira (drum set), Todd Pentney (keyboards), percussionist Derek Gray and Justin Gray on various basses securely support the Kays’ wind excursions. Justin Gray in particular shines on the evocative bass veena – a specially fabricated Canadian hybrid electric plucked bass string instrument – which in his hands swings admirably in both westward and eastward directions. The veteran Toronto bassist and producer George Koller receives studio session producer credits; no doubt his seasoned affiliation with both jazz and Hindustani music is a key reason for the overall success of Mandala. In the end, what’s particularly notable is how gracefully all concerned integrate the North Indian and jazz elements into a refreshingly upbeat listening experience. Andrew Timar Pierre et le Loup… et le jazz Daniel Lavoie; Amazing Keystone Big Band Chant du Monde CME 274 2255 In a French version by Renaud de Jouvenel, arranged for orchestra by Bastien Ballaz, Jon Boutellier and Frédéric Nardin, this marvellous rendition stays loyal to Sergei Prokofiev’s wonderful musical story Peter and the Wolf while introducing listeners to big band music and the history of jazz. The instruments you hear are different than what you’re used to – the oboe, clarinet and bassoon are replaced by saxophones for example. From Harlem to New Orleans, piano stride, free jazz, blues, bebop and jazz rock – it’s all here. Popular Canadian singer Daniel Lavoie gives a crisp narration that quickly absorbs listeners even if they have a very limited knowledge of French. Pierre/Peter, oiseau/ bird, canard/duck, chat/cat, loup/wolf, Grand-père/Grandpa, chasseurs/hunters – you’re all set. Read along in the beautiful booklet illustrated by Martin Jarrie for added comprehension. When the story is done you’ll hear over 20 minutes of further variations on the theme. Soulful Cat, Elegy for a Duck, Grandpa’s Shuffle, to name but a few. The Amazing Keystone Big Band really is amazing. The clarity of this recording makes it a delight to hear. This creative arrangement of a familiar tale is a welcome addition to the jazz family. Lise Olds Coming this spring The WholeNote DISCoveries ONLINE LISTENING ROOM !Listen ! to tracks from the music our reviewers are talking about !Click ! to buy when you like what you hear Interested readers can be first in line to try out the new service !by ! registering online for HalfTones, our mid-month e-letter !by ! following us on Twitter (@thewholenote) !by ! liking us on Facebook ( Labels and artists wanting more information about The WholeNote DISCoveries Online Listening Room should contact Thom McKercher at February 1 - March 7, 2015 | 67

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