8 years ago

Volume 9 Issue 3 - November 2003

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  • November
  • Toronto
  • Jazz
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  • December
  • Symphony
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for the Analekta label.

for the Analekta label. Here at la~t are four prominent examples of the Gryphon Trio's most successful commissions. Kelly-Marie Murphy's propulsive Give Me Phoeni.x Fly opens the disc with a burst of frenetic en­ ·ergy reminiscent ofBartok at his most barbaric. The trio, propelled by Jamie Parker's deft pianism, performs this music with absolute conviction. Chan Ka-Nin's and the masks evolve ... is an elaborate tone poem portraying the composer's interest in certain aspects of Aboriginal culture. It is a sprawling and occasionally chaotic work which, thanks to a consistently engaging performance, succeeds despite itself. I feel however that we deserve a programmatic justification that is missing from the liner notes for the extended solos on what sounds to me like a musical saw. Christos Hatzis's Old Photographs is a fragment from his grandiose Constantinople multi-media spectacle and as such incorporates visual elements that are incomprehensible in the recorded medium. I know not what these Photographs are meant to depict, but I can assure you that the music (a brazen pastiche of Brahms and Piazzolla) is decidedly Old. Kelly, Chan and Hatzis share a fondness for extra-musical elements and an arden~, hyper-kinetic sensationalism that seems intent on making a glitt

successful. It is difficult to see the large picture of each composer which is located on the inside of the sleeve containing the package and the CD is held by a folded piece of glossy cardboard with a tab. Even though the bilingual liner notes are well written, informative and thorough, the small print on the production details section of the liner notes is difficult to read. (I recently had my eyes checked so I don't think it is me!) But once again, the music is great. Both first-time and seasoned electroacoustic listeners are well advised to check out both discs. Tiina Kiik JAZZ Cafe Varze Jazz - Music of Don­ . aid Anthony\ Varze Sandro Dominelli Quintet Varze Records VRCDOI has lovely alto ~ork by Kent Sangster, elsewhere heard on tenor and soprano. Throughout, bassist Mike Lent is solid, both in the ensemble and soloing. Percussionist Tilo Paiz enhances the bossa, salsa, calypso and samba tracks. . It's all very well recorded, and Varze's compositions are easily accepted and repetition-friendly. As a small label, this CD could be hard to find in shops. Try on the internet. Ted O'Reilly Blue Browne Brian Browne Trio Seajam Recordings SJ 1012-2 From out of Canada's West comes ... LatinJazz? Well, that's what Donald Anthony Varze composes, for the most part, so that's what's played by the band-for-hire, the Sandro Dominelli Quintet. But both the music and the band are flexible, so this Edmonton se~sion is not just Latin, nor just a quintet. The non-playing composer/producer offers 11 originals totalling a generous 73 minutes, with 5 tunes from the Latin genre and the remainder ranging from a lilting jazz waltz to anothet more formal '.J4 tune, and a sort of Nouveau-Dixie-Swing. While I hadn't heard of the drummer/leader Sandro Dominelli previously, he proves. himself to be a talented musician, comfortable in all settings and time signatures. I know the work of most of the others via recordings, and standout Toronto pianist David Restivo from many situations. He's very effective on tlie last selection, a quiet trio tune, Primo 's Waltz. (Chris Andrew replaces him on three of the selections.) Bob Tildesley is on trumpet and flugelhorn, and sounds wonderful, espeeially on his quartet feature Blu~s Plus Four, a tribute to Miles Davis. When Roses Bloom was written with Pierre Trudeau's lapel in mind, and N OVEMBER 1 - DECEMB ER 7 2003 Brian Browne can sure get in a groove! That's been the Montrealborn pianist's forte over the years, and it's a talent that has never failed. This new release also shows another of his strengths: take material from all over, and mould it into earthybut-sophisticated bluesy jazz. The title track's an original blues, as is a delightful little solo Here's Your Hat; What's Your Hurry - otherwise it's somewhat familiar ground, but with Browne's own harmonic touch the music is redefined. Scarborough Fair and Just The Way You Are sound fresh in his hands, and Baubles, Bangles and Beads, usually played by jazzers ~ at a bright tempo is slowly caressed in a piano-and-bass version. Of the nine tunes, only Georgia (On My _ Mind) seems a bit tired, though the very slow tempo may add to that feeling. Brian Browne has had an interesting and wide-ranging career, with youthful time spent in Ottawa, then Toronto, Peterborough and New York, returning to Ottawa 'about five years back. "Blue Browne" was recorded in Toronto about a year ago, with drummers Archie Alleyne or Barry Elmes, and bassist/prcxiucer Paul Novotny. Novotny's warm and intimate liner notes remember that Browne was the first major pianist the 19-year-old musician played with, in his native Peterborough, and became his mentor.Twenty-four years later, it's still

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