8 years ago

Volume 9 Issue 9 - June 2004

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  • Festival
  • Toronto
  • Jazz
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(wonderful pianist/composers too little known on this side of the Atlantic) are Evans acolytes. Iles plays Taylor'sAmbleside Days (and even more pointedly) Evansong; and Pieranunzi must have had youknow-who in mind while writing Don't Forget The Poet. After all is said and done Ms, Iles is not simply an Evans copyist though and it's on her own tunes that her individuality is best heard: the , angular, surging Fly 's Dilemma, and the out-of-tempo, musing So To Speake, dedicated to altoist Martin Speake. She plays with an admirable clarity at all times, but can rumble as well as caress. These three make not just a jamming band, thrown together for a session, but a real trio, working on tour in the UK. They play with an easy assurance, and trust in each other. This CD is one for those who despair about the current musi~ being represented as Jazz: Raymond Chandler, in a novel's preface said something like "Only a hack tries to break the mould .... A true pro tries to go as big as you c,an within the fold." Ted O'Reilly Availability: You can get "Everything I Love" from Duncan Hopkins' website: www .du, ' ' Ellington Uptown Duke Ellington Columbia CK 87066 Masterpieces by ElliQgton Duke Ellington , Columbia CK 87043 the original LP is the mysteriously titled The Tattooed Bride, a multitem po composition featuring clarinettist Jimmy Hamilton. These four pieces were among the last to be recorded by the classic Ellington orchestra just before the exodus of Johnny Hodges, Lawrence Brown and Sonny Greer. The music, wellrecorded in the first place (Columbia always had great engineers), sounds even better now. The CD reissue has three bonus tracks by the 1951 band - Vagabonds, Smada a~ Rock Skippin' at the Blue Note. Three different versions of Elling­ .ton Uptown were issued on LP. Now, for the first time, the music from all three is on a single CD. Skin Deep, The Mooche, , Take the '.A' Train, A Tone Parallel to Harlem and Perdido are from the original LP. The Controversial Suite earlies from the second, Hi-Fi Ellington Uptown, while the 1947 classic, The Liberian Suite, was part of the third LP issue. The Uptown material was recorded in 1951 ,and 1952 and marks the crowning glory of that edition of the Ellington orchestra. The highlight, Harlem, one of Ellington's most successful longer works, takes the lis- tener on an evocative musical tour of uptown Manhattan. Three other selections, The Mooche, Perdido and The first North American CD 'A' Train, have been pulled from the reissue of Ellington Masterpieees, vast Ellington library, given fresh plus a beautifully remastered Version new settings, and showcase some of of Ellington Uptown, this time includ- the band's great solo voices. The diging the often-overlooked masterwork , ital remastering of this magnificent The Liberian Suite, should be more music is simply gorgeous. If you have than enough to quicken the pulses of the earlier CD issue of Ellington Ellington aficionados. Masterpieces, Uptown get rid of it and pick up this recorded in late 1950, marked the one. There's no comparison in the first time Ellington utilized the ex- sound and the earlier CD doesn't tra time offered by LPs. Three have The Liberian Suite. Ducal classics - Mood Indigo, So- Don Brown phisticated Lady and Solitude - are heard in "extended concert arrangements". The fourth selection from 50 Under A Tree Toronto Jazz Orchestra TJ0002 .The Toronto Jazz Orchestra's second CD is a welcome addition to my big band library. Conductor Josh Grossman and the band have recorded a program of ten original compositions by Canadian jazz composers, · and what's more, did the session live. The band continues to play ensem- . bles with great precision and strength, and the work of the soloists has if anything, gotten better since the band's first recording. The title track, Under a Tree is by the dean of Canadian jazz composers, Phil Nimmons. It's quite possible that's the only name many people will recognize on the list of writers on this CD, but don't worry, many of the others will probably be known to you in a few years time. This is a great chance to hear the emerging voices of some very promising jazz composers. One of my favourite tracks is First X's Free, by the TJO's bass trombonist, Chris Hunt. The soloists on this track, soprano saxist Mark Laver and trombonist RJ Satchithananthan both play with great energy and fluency. The Toronto Jazz Orchestra is currently sponsoring a jazz composition competition to encourage young composers to write new wo,rks. There's nothing as inspiring to a writer to know that what you write will actually get played. My hat's off to Josh and the band - you guys are doing it right! • Merlin Williams POT POURRI Klezmer Kleztory; I Musici de Montreal; · Yuii Turovsky Chandos CHAN 10181 Klezmer, a hybrid of the traditional music of Eastern European Jews and North American jazz and popular influences, is characterized by poignant, highly ornamented melodies and lilting, semi-inebriated rhythms. It is not a spirit that lends itself easily to orchestral adaptation - and I must confess to feeling a bit dubious when I first picked up this disc. Surely, serving up a chamber orchestra with a Klezmer band could only be like drizzling warm bechamel on a plate of gefilte fish - too rich an accompaniment for a delicacy best enjoyed with strong horseradish. Happily, the results of this collaboration between I Musici de Montreal and emerging Montreal ensemble Kleztory are extremely satisfying and very easy to digest. 1-f not especially innovative, the arrangements of traditional melodies (plus two original tracks) are tasteful and refreshing. Although at times I Musici's performance is perhaps a little measured for the idiom, on the whole, director Yuli Turovsky executes the musical crossover well. The strings are used to especially good effect in some of the more introspective tracks where sensationally gut-wrenching solos from Kleztory clarinettist Airat Ichmouratov and violinist Elvira Misbakhova are accompanied by haunting, Arvo Partlike harmonies in the orchestra. The real highlights though, come in the few intervals when, audibly counter to their instinct, the musicians of I Musici forgo their renowned precision and lean into their instruments like real Klezmorim. At these points, the music is joyously hoisted out from under glass and reclai!TIS some of the spice it deserves. 1 Sarah Namer John and The Sisters Kevin Breit and the Sisters Euclid with John Dickie Independent When people first hear groundbreaking musicians and singers, people such as Buddy Bolden, Billie Holiday and Bob Dylan, their first reaction is often "What the hell is that?" Well that's pretty much my reaction when I first listened to guitar player Kevin Breit's latest disc "John and the Sisters". The answer, in part, is Blues, that much is clear. But it's Blues that seems to have come from the Mississippi Delta via Mars. This is a crazy mash of sounds overlaid on a solid, funky rhythmic foundation. If the Sisters Euclid were a building, the rhythm section would JUNE 1 - JULY 7 2004

e the ground floor designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and Kevin Breit's guitar and the horns would be the upper floors and flying buttresses, by Antonio Gaudi. Yet it all comes together beautifully. Kevin Breit is making a name for himself internationally due to his work with Norah Jones and Cassandra Wilson, but this is a very southern Ontario-oriented band, with lots of local references in the clever, rich lyrics. The disc was recorded live off the floor of a Toronto recording studio and it captures the rawness and energy of the players: Ian Desouza - bass (and shovel), Rob Gusevs - keyboards, Gary Taylor - drums and percussion, with vocals being shared by the blues shouter John Dickie and Kevin Breit. That duo also wrote most of the' tunes both separately and in collaboration. · If you want to have your ears turned on their heads {?) check out this disc, or, petter yet, see them live at the Orbit Room where they've been playing together on Monday nights for the past seven years. · Cathy Riches A Whole Lotta Sunlight Thom Allison TA-2003 More ••• Cynthia Dale D2-CD2 Lately, some of the musical talents at the Stratford Festival have been releasing their own recordings, and this year there are two new discs to choose from. Thom Allison's "A Whole Lotta Sunlight" is inspired by his friends' favourite songs. Allison (who plays Suffolk in Henry V/11 and Donalbain in the Scottish play this season) has a curiously careful approacq to the music, and still seems to be finding his voice rather than feeling the music. However, he's as- sembled lightweight crowd-pleasers like Cry Me A River, Somewhere Over The Rainbow and the Cyndi Lauper hit Time After Time. More· sophisticated is Cynthia Dale's second recording, "More ... ". Unlike many music tht

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