8 years ago

Volume 9 Issue 10 - July/August 2004

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I'm pleased to say the

I'm pleased to say the promise is fulfilled, and I'm all for "I'm All For You". In fact, it's probably the best record Joe has made in several years. (His 'Sinatra' and 'Caruso' tributes were unrewarding to my ears). If you think the Ballad Songbook subtitle means mushy background music, you're wrong. These masters can be sweet, but like a fine wine, there's some tannic astringency, and the tempos are anything but lethargic. While it's not a working group, the connecting tendrils link these players in many ways. The title tune is a thinly veiled version of Body and Soul, a reminder that pianist Hank Jones was a member of Coleman Hawkins' groups some 60 years ago. Bassist Mraz has long worked in Jones' trio, and played in Hank's brother Thad's band, as did Lovano. (Thad composed The Summary, and its inclusion here may lead others to play it). And, Lovano and drummer Motian have made some beautiful music together so their compatibility is a given. (Search out the 'Broadway' series under Motian's name.) Like Someone In Love is interpreted by Lovano and Jones only, and in that simplicity the tune is revealed as elegantly romantic. And, there's an uncommon trio of tenor, piano and drums on Monk's Mood. I wonder how often Joe played Early Autumn while a member of Woody Herman's band? If it was thousands of times, he has somehow retained its freshness. In a neat twist, John Coltrane's Countdown, usually treated frantically, is revealed as a wonderful melody when played at half speed. Ted O'Reilly The Tara Davidson Quartet Tara Davidson; David Braid; Michael McClennan; Jesse Baird Independent TDQ 00301 Tara Davidson's debut CD is a most welcome addition to my library of jazz recordings. Davidson not only produces a beautiful and individual tone on both alto and soprano saxophones, but composed all nine of the selections on this 58 disc. The music is definitely postbop, but is quite melodic and accessible. Pianist David Braid, bassist Mike McClennan and drummer Jesse Baird round out the quartet, and their contributions make for an exceptionally well-matched group sound. The recorded sound is excellent - this is the first CD I've heard from Bryden Baird's studio, and I'm sure there will be many more quite soon. I was struck by one thing on this CD - Davidson's soprano sound is unlike any other I've heard before. The third track, Anastasia's Sister is the first tune with her soprano on it, and when she first comes in I could have sworn it was an alto flute. It's a wonderful colour that most saxophonists would be hard pressed to produce, let alone use so effectively. My other favourite track has to be The Most Difficult Part. It's a straightforward slow bluesy tune. Davidson's alto playing on this track is soulful and swinging - it's a great way to finish off the set. This is a very strong self-produced debut CD and I highly recommend it. Merlin Williams Red Dragonfly Jane Bunnett Penderecki String Quartet Blue Note EMI 72435 78056 2 9 ly or emotionally, to the original poignant portrait of true love and 5 longing. Since I am unfamiliar with Alain Caron the original versions of the rest of Norac 2503 the tunes I can't say whether they are improvements or not. Many are beautifully arranged, all are well played and include extended solos and the string quartet is shown to its best advantage on the slow, moody · pieces with long lush chords. Cathy Riches How 'Ya Gonna Keep 'Em Down on the Farm Bev Taft Independent Happy birds probably do fly down to the hand of Toronto vocalist Beverly Taft, but in other respects the cartoon-like cover art on her selfproduced debut CD is misleading, as it doesn't capture Taft's distinct sense of period style. Firmly placed in a late '40s to early '60s idiom, Taft's sweet snarl is excellently matched to standards like Autumn in New York and the lilting With a Song in My Heart. However, listening to this recording has something of the quality of drinking a good wine a little before its time. Taft's distinctive rasp and her agile diction are improving with age: good now, but likely to become even finer as time passes. Meanwhile, Taft displays Many people have come to know saxophonist Jane Bunnett as an unofficial Cuban ambassador due to her collaborations and recordings with many Cuban musicians over the past several years. This recording is a departure from that role, but for fans of Cuban music there is still a little taste of it here. "Red Dragonfly (Aka Tomba)" is, according to the liner notes, a collection of "songs we have loved for years (some even from childhood)". Included are folk songs from Canada, Japan, Cuba, and Brazil recreated in modem jazz style featuring the soprano saxophone supported by a rhythm section and a string quartet. The musicians are Mark McLean on drums, David Virelles on piano, Larry Cramer on trumpet and flugelhom, Kieran Overs on acoustic bass and the Penderecki String Quartet. Don Thompson, Hilario Duran and David Virelles did most of the arrangements and when I saw that the traditional Appalachian song Black is the Color was included, I looked forward to hearing what Virelles would do with it. While the up-tempo 5/4 rendition is certainly catchy, it bears no resemblance whatsoever, either musicala distinctive vocal style, a light musical touch and a hint of camp, all of which she shows off to particular effect in the extra-fast Little Willie Leaps. Her wit and essential sweetness leap from the speakers with surprising vitality, perhaps most of all in the cheerful comic number (associated with Bing Crosby and apparently suggested by her dad), I'm an Old Cowhand. Sarah B. Hood Quebecers seem to be having a long love affair with jazz-fusion. This is no doubt due in part to the huge success of the 80's electric jazz trio, UZEB, which was based out of Montreal. Alain Caron was the bass player with UZEB, and he has recently released "5", a collection of tunes that continue in the jazz-rock-funk tradition: moody, muscular, and modal, with a strong dose of improvisation. All of the songs on the new disc were written and arranged by Caron and he performed producer duty, as well. While Caron certainly shines with his masterful bass playing (and bass includes 4- and 6-string, fretless, V-bass, fretted and upright) he never dominates, but rather leaves lots of room for his bandmates: Montreal luminaries Jean St.-Jacques on keyboards, Tony Albino on drums and Francois D' Amours on sax. Maxime St.­ Pierre makes appearances on trumpet and flugelhorn and Daniel Thouin takes a tum on some things called "drum loops" and "percussion programming". Caron makes good use of the horns, by offsetting the electronica with "real" trumpet and sax lines that are reminiscent, at times, of 70's soul. For fusion fans, "5" supplies the sounds and grooves you crave and, of course, plenty of virtuoso bass playing, too. Cathy Riches 10 compositions Trio Derome Guilbeault Tanguay AM 121 CD WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COM j ULY 1 - S EPTEMBER 7 2004

The Unexpected One Falaise, Sam worth, Tanguay, Van der Schyff AM 122CD Puce a l'oreille Melanie Auclair AM 123 CD Canevas < < + > > Ensemble SuperMusique AM 124CD wide range of sounds, harmonies, effects, moods and all out crashing about created here screams out for repeated listenings in order to truly grasp the ever present subtleties and nuances. Good stuff. With the hot and hazy weather upon us, here are four recent releases from Ambiances Magnetiques to help you savour that great Canadian pastime called summer. "10 compositions" from Trio Derome Guilbeault Tanguay is just that: ten compositions by band member Jean Demme dating from 1974 to present. The release finds this "cult Montreal jazz band" in excellent form, proving yet again that when musicians get together to play for fun and continue to do so on a regular basis for a number of years, the music ages like fine wine. The most musically accessible of the four releases reviewed here, there is no doubt that this is clearly a jazz disc with both its compositional and performance roots clearly entrenched in the music of Dave Holland, Omette Coleman and Thelonius Monk. There is an underlying charm which permeates throughout regardless whether the cut is straight ahead jazz like Michka or the more free qualities of Fluide. Highly recommended. Two guitarists and percussionists from opposite ends of the country battle it out in the free improv release "The Unexpected One" . This noisy debut release from Bernard Falaise, Ron Samworth, Pierre Tanguay and Dylan van der Schyff has an edgy, seat-of-yourpants quality which is simultaneously appealing and unnerving. The )ULY 1 - SE PTEMBE R 7 2004 Melanie Auclair's "Puce a l'oreille" is an experimental exploration of first-time improvisational interactions between this cellist/ vocalist and seven improvisers who have been inspirational for her. In stark contrast to the abovementioned " 10 compositions" release, this "Hi, who are you?" musical approach may lead to a more fulfilling musical experience for the performers than for the listener. The tracks here are successful mainly for the ingenuity of the performers. Auclair especially shows great promise and a mature musical ..... sensibility. ... Worth checking out. f.:.Wmtttt-· !'ii1r~~°';.;~ {,~"'• · •• :.~ ·•••• eo••. eo•• m•• •.. o••o• o•@• •••• ··•0• 0 •• •••• Ensemble SuperMusique's "Canevas < < + > > " could be described as a free improvisation sampler with some composed works thrown in for good measure. Featuring excerpts from four multi-thematic Montreal concerts which took place from 1998-2004, this is a great CD for both new and frequent listeners of these genres. The group employs some of the best improvisers around with numerous personnel configurations on the improvisational tracks resulting in illuminating creations. Great improvisational ideas abound here! Of note is the feisty Impro2 by Jean Derome and Martin Tetreault - everything I've ever hoped for in an improv can be found on this 1 :59 minute track. If you are going to listen to just one CD this summer, let it be this one! Great! TiinaKiik

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