6 years ago

Volume 10 Issue 1 - September 2004

  • Text
  • September
  • Jazz
  • Toronto
  • Festival
  • October
  • Passport
  • Theatre
  • Musical
  • Arts
  • Orchestra

should be noted though

should be noted though that these latest from Sony - all on the Columbia/ Legacy label - are not complete editions but 'best of compilations. That caveat aside, the music is present . ed in beautifully remastered form with authoritative notes and excellent production. Lucille Bogan's Shave 'Em Dry is probably the first CD carryin a parental adviser sticker to be reviewed in this magazine. The music - aside from its 'explicit content' - sounds a little old-fashioned for the 1933-1935 period. But, although Bogan and pianist/accompanist Walter Roland work in an earlier style, they are convincing performers whose recordings continue to entertain. Three of the set's performances were never commercially issued - and it's not difficult to see why. They are very explicit. Not for the easily offended. Mamie Smith is principally famous being the first African-Americ n woman to sing on a commercial American record. The title tune, recorded in 1920, marked the beginning of the classic blues era. Its huge success paved the way for artists such as Ida Cox, Bessie Smith and Alberta Hunter. Although Mamie Smith was not in the same league as those singers, her recordings still merit a listen. Her style owed as much to vaudeville as it did to the blues but she certainly knew how to sell a song. Her back-up players include such soon-to-be famous jazzmen as Johnny Dunn, Buster Bailey, Coleman Hawkins, and Bubber Miley. The jewel in the crow among . these Columbia/Legacy reissues 1s the two-CD set by pianist/vocalist/composer Leroy Carr. During his sh ? rt life - he was only thirty when he died - Carr wrote and recorded many deathless blues classics. On all forty of this set's selections he accompanies himself on piano with either Scrapper Blackwell or Josh White backing him on guitar. From the opening title, Carr's very first recording (and biggest hit), How Long - How Long Blues, to the closing Six Cold Feet in the Ground, there's not a weak performance to be heard. His plaintive voice and understaed ':" ay with a lyric are utterly captlvatmg. And Scrapper Blackwell's contributions are priceless. This one's a must. Don Brown POT POURRI One True Thing Daniela Nardi Trio Minerva Road MIN002 Daniela Nardi is a cool, smart, straight-talkin' Toronto-bred woman with a soft, rich, smoky and soulful voice. As a songwriter, she produces the kind of intelligent, honest, wordy, free-association reminiscent of Joni Mitchell in jazz mode. Songs of Jove and independence, unresolved feelings, and human potential not yet realized with a solid sense of the spirit beyond. In other words, the richness of life experienced with many questions left unanswered. Although songs like Mr. God (a passionate rant on injustice) and Hands (on the theme of healing) seem ? n the surface to stem from contradictory viewpoints, they both de Je the concept that the divine 1s within us, and fully realizes itself throug human action. Joining Ms. Nardi who handles vocals and piano (acoustic & Rhodes) are the re lar members of her trio: Steve Bnght, bass and Larry Crowe on drums & percussion. Special guests roundg out the arrangements are Tort01se Blue, blues harp and organ, Neil Donnel, background vocals, John Johnson, soprano sax, George Koller, acoustic bass, Chase Sanborn trumpet and flugelhom, and Jim Tate, guitar. Daniela studied at York, specializing in the areas of composition, electronic music d performance, 20th century music and improvisation. She has done her Alma Mater proud. Dianne Wells Concert note: Trumpeter Chase Sanborn is among the luminaries who will perform a benefit concert for e University of Toronto's Jazz Studies Program on September 27 at the Montreal Bistro. Bebel Gilberto Behel Gilberto Six Degrees Records (www Brazilian-American singer/songwriter Bebe! Gilberto's eponymous second CD is well produced (by Marius De Vries who has also produced Madonna, Annie Lennox and Bjork), the musicianship is first-rate and Gilberto is, with a few exceptions, in fine voice. Unfortunately the songs just aren't as strong as on her excellent first CD "Tanto Tempo". This may be due, in part, to the fa t at many more of the lyrics on this disc are written in English, as opposed to Gilberto's native Portuguese. As a result we don't have the benefit of the oblivion that comes from listening to tunes in a language we don't understand. Perhaps the Portuguese lyrics are as trite as some of the E g­ lish ones ("you must try the new ice cream flavour, do me a favour"??), but with a number of these tunes ignorance would have been preferable. There are some lovely touches on this disc: the use of G flutes on Cada Beijo, The London Session Orchestra Strings on Simplesmente, and lots of typical Brazilian percussion :-v ork throughout. Drawbacks are: G1lberto's tendency to push her voice lower than it wants to go on a few of the tracks, I suppose in an attempt to sound sultry, but which only results in a weak sound, and the aforementioned strings which add saccharine to an already syrupy Next To You. In the main, however, "Bebe! Gilberto" is a charming, laid-back record, just right for an easy summery listen. Cathy Riches Mystras - Siren Songs of the Mediterranean Maria Antonakos Marquis 81313 Musing on the cover of this CD, and noticing the subtitle "Siren Songs of the Mediterranean" one might expect a pretty fiery performance fro . m the artist. However, the general trrnbre of this recording seems instead to match the misty azure photograph on the cover. But then again, seduction is a subtle art. This is a soft, fragile voice that may lack a certain fire, but possesses sweet and subtle nuances perfect for the tenderness of some of these lyrics. On this recording Torontonian Maria Antonakos performs Greek, Spanish and Italian songs . that ofer romantic images of love, village life, the sea and a rugged landscape. Her voice is particularly suited to the lullaby-like Tiny Paper Moon, the sweetness of the playful Arietta di Posillipo in which a kiss is stolen from a reluctant rosebud of a mouth, and the quiet agony of Garcia Lorca' s lyrics for Song of the Barren Orange . Tree. And her voice soars to the highest heights while still maintainin that softness in Sofia's Wisdom, with the inspiration to follow the path of peace, hope, truth and beauty. The famous Lascia Ch 'io Piangia gets a new treatment in an interesting modem setting, and there's a nice surprise at the end of the disc with the Italian song we know in North America as More than the Greatest Love. Her ensemble is superb: tender guitar accompaniments from Rob Piltch and Philip Stanger (who also created superb arrangements), Ron Allen recalling the swirling mists with bansuri and bass flute, George Koller with evocative bass playing, Ben Grossman on a large variety of percussion instruments and Bethany Bergman, violin and 66 WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COM SEPTEMBER 1 - OCTOBER 7 2004

Carina Reeves, cello lovingly executing the arrangements for strings. Dianne Wells Secrets Moon Magic Maza Meze w/John Wyre; Trichy Sankaran;SubaSankaran CBC Records TRCD 3009 Maza Meze literally refers to an assortment of Arabic and Greek appetizers, an apt gastronomic metaphor for the array of musical samples served up by this talented Toronto-based group specializing in music from Greece and the Middle East. One striking feature of this CD is the variety: each new song is completely different from the last, which is very refreshing. More traditional-style pieces are based on Arabic Sufi chant, a Greek song of unrequited love, a powerful choral song from northwestem Greece with typical Balkan tight harmonies, and two pieces combining South Indian and Arabic melodies and rhythms. The latter feature special guests, the well-known South Indian musicians Suba and Trichy Sankaran (vocals and mridangam). The other works are harder to categorize - four eclectic compositions by various members of Maza Meze. Of these, I particularly liked the words and music of Debashis Sinha's cool and relaxed piece Fall Down, with guest percussionist John Wyre on djembeck (a hybrid djembe/doumbek drum). As well, mention must be made of Maryem and Ernie Tollar (vocals and flutes), who are indispensable to the Maza Meze sound. Notwithstanding their success, forays into world fusion are commonplace now among musical groups. What really distinguishes Maza Meze, and makes them unique, is their mastery of Arabic and Greek music. I would have preferred a little more substantial classical Arabic/Greek fare amid this assortment of musical appetizers. Annette Sanger Discs of the Month on page 68 Nadina Mackie Jackson l!llB!IP!!WJ!ll!l!!ll!lll!lm'-!.I on her latest CD NotesfromabroaJ Canada's international independent label SUZ.IE LEf'.:>L,\NC La Nef First recording on the ATMA label featuring soprano Meredith Hall Suzie LeBlanc Acadian songs with Chris Norman and David Greenberg Introducing Countertenor David DQ Lee "An appealing and musicianly singer. " - NEW YORK TIMES Music by Bitsch, Tansman, Duclos & Schreck with exciting new works by Mathieu Lussier, aleks schurmer & John B. Hedges : ... incredible capacity for both virtuosity and poignancy . . . a brilliant mix of dazzling technique and gentle lyricism." Ron Klimko Double Reed. June, 2003 "·I· . t can't imagine a better performance.' Steven Ritter American Record Guide. 2003 G R Chinese Traditional Music .MREA:tRTISTS MHi115AT SOUND Order online: Twelve Fantasias WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COM

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