6 years ago

Volume 10 Issue 10 - July/August 2005

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markedly Hispanic, for

markedly Hispanic, for example, in No.4's hints of Lorca-like tragedy. William Bolcom composed his First Symphony in five weeks at the age of nineteen. It stands up well in relation to much-played juvenilia such as the First Piano Concerto of Shostakovich or the Simple (read "silly") Symphony of Britten. His Third breaks altogether with the Piston-Harris mold . A birth-to-death allegory, it is a brilliant and original, risk-taking work . Three solo winds converse in single and overlapping snippets at the start and end. Crunchy chords in divisi strings punctuate expressively . The "scherzo vitale" builds into a big tonal Gershwinesque melody. The finale starts with a suspenseful violin monody lasting a full four minutes. The concept can be called un-symphonic but its "need" was clearly an urgent and personal artistic expression. Seattle Slew is the name of a race-horse, and the Suite was composed for a ballet about racing. In contrast to the Symphony, this is a medley of clever dance-form pastiches, featuring frankly square phrasing and a good deal of clopclopping from the wood-block. John Beckwith Grant/Chan/MacDonald/Lemay/ Gougeon Estria Woodwind Quintet ATMA ACD2 2357 I think there's often a temptation on the part of wind ensembles to include something "familiar" on a CD - something the prospecti ve buyer look at and say " Ah, something I recognize! I'll buy this!" It's true that the name recognition of a composer can help ell discs. I view it as my responsibility to say " Don't worry if you don' t recognize any names; there's great music on this recording." And that's exactly what I think. Yes, there are some pieces that will be challenging to some listeners, but the order that the selections are presented helps to ease the listener from the milder to wilder works from the Canadian woodwind quintet repertoire . Estria is joined by guest percussionis t Catherine Meunier for Chan Ka Nin's Nature for woodwi nd quintet and marimba. The ad- 62 dition of marimba to the traditional quintet instrumentation of flute , oboe, clarinet, horn and bassoon makes for delightful new combinations of tone colours. The use of piccolo and alto fl ute by flutist Kate Herzberg and bass clarinet by clarinetist Pauline Farrugia further help to broaden the palette of the group. I do have some favourites on Estria's CD . The Quintet op. 38 by Stewart Grant and 4 jeux a 5 by Denis Gougeon really captured my attention. The excellent bassoon work throughout the recording by Michel Bettez is quite special too. Merlin Williams MUSIQUE ACTUELLE l.GRRR; 2.TOK; J.AHHH Martin Tetreault; Otomo Yoshihide DAME Ambiences Magnetiques AM 131; 132; 133 CD Let's be honest, duos mining the socalled experimental music field are not new. But then again, can you really call the turntable a " new" instrument? People have "played" the turntable, on it, beside and inside it, for years now. Luckily for us (partially due to the popularity of rap) over the last two decades, there has been a resurgence of this neglected instrument. These three discs document the 2003 collaboration of two of the most innovative turn tablists around: Quebec-based Martin T etrault and Japanese Otomo Yoshihide. Together they create a maelstrom of turntable fury. " 1. Grrr" was meant to document the noisiest moments from the duo's 2003 European tour. To be fair, it's not the chaotic and obscenely ferocious acts of turntable mutilation that I take pleasure in on this CD. What excites me most are those quiet and pensive moments (such as on Nijmegen No. 4b) that tum the preconceived sound of the turntable upside down. There is a definite pulsing beat to this piece. You hear a warm, glowing core here, not a human machine used to play LPs. This is one of the signs of a great duo, of a duo that is more than happy to experiment to get fresh results and unfamiliar sounds deep from their instruments. How many other turntable duos do you know that can make their instruments mimic a duo of a (highpitched) alto player and a bassist? Final word of warning - " 1. Grrr" is not for the faint of heart. It is for those that need a huge jolt with their usual dose of mundane music. I think "2. Tok" was meant to showcase the more cut'n'paste approach to both musicians' work. The album alternates between the obscure and the bizarre in a matter of a minute and the listener gets taken for a wild ride. The effect is quite spectacular. Tiny shifts in timbre, pitch and essence, this time around the music is about the texture rather than pure . shock value. Pieces are dense but palatable to the ear. There's more crackle than pop as the sounds are strangely pasted and layered in a fashion one could not imagine. This isn't necessarily a sign of maturity (their work stands fine on its own merit - age has nothing to do with it). Simply put, both men needed to outline a part of their working relationship that didn't get much exposure in the past. Abrasive to some, while welcoming to others, it's best to let the sounds take their own course and declare a verdict afterwards. "2. Tok" then is not about style, it is about the means in which an idea gets put across. Finally, to close off this trilogy we get "3. Ahhh" . Whether you'd like to take this literally or not (" Ahhh" could be a sign of relief as much as it is a declaration of restful state), the record is the most quiet one of the bunch. Now, the duo concentrates exclusively on the art of silence. It's the state of the unheard, the art of the less explored that the duo are mining. Sure, you need patience for this record as the individual pieces develop slowly, often times leaving us without a resolution or a climax of sorts. Rather, it's the journey that excites the two. Sound is suggested and implied. There is no direct over-the-top delivery here. You really have to listen to hear- to truly HEAR this record. Subtle pulsing heartbeats, huge machines revving up but never starting and that warmth are all here for the taking. In fact, the entire record proves that turntables can be very human, very W WW. TH EWHOLENOTE . COM organic and most obviously very lovable instruments. If I had to pick a personal favourite, from a conceptual standpoint, "3. Ahhh" turns out to be the highlight of the trilogy . Kudos go to the record label DAME that decided to push the entire trilogy as standalone releases to the market. Tom Sekpwski JAZZ Joyous Encounter JoeLovano Blue Note 8 63405 2 In producing this album, Joe Lovano went straight to the fountainhead when he asked Hank Jones to play piario on it. They are joined by two other musicians who are particularly at home in small group settings­ George Mraz on bass, who worked frequently with pianist Jimmy Rowles and, on drums, Paul Motian, who was Bill Evans' drummer of choice. Hank Jones' brother Thad is acknowledged by the inclusion of three of his compositions, Don 't Ever Leave Me, Quiet Lady and A Child Is Born, reminding us of how well he wrote. A couple of standards, a pair of Lovano originals, some Oliver Nelson, Monk and Coltrane make up the rest of the music on offer. Alone Together,-a duet performance by Lovano and Jones is, for me, a highlight of the album. On the title track the piano lays out, leaving the somewhat angularly rhythmic Lovano composition to bass and drums accompaniment - and it works. A Child Is Born is given a low-key reading giving the impression of a rather brooding infant - a Wednesday's child, perhaps? Lovano is certainly on form throughout the CD, although I prefer his sound on tenor, and if you caught him on his recent mini tour of London, Hamilton and Toronto you will probably want to add this to your collection. And if you missed the live concerts, this issue finds Mr. Lovano in fine fettle. Jim Galloway ) U LY 1 - SEPTEMBER 7 2005

Jazz in % Time Max Roach Verve B0002021-02 Blues Caravan Buddy Rich Verve B0003940-02 Joe Newman Stet at Count Basie's Joe Newman Verve B0003938-02 Cugi's Cocktails Xavier Cugat and his Orchestra Verve B0003939-02 For this look at the second half of a recent multi-disc release, you may want to have ear plugs at the ready . Percussion abounds! Max Roach is one of the most important drummers in jazz, with his mid-'40s concept considering the drums not to be just for accompanying (with a few solos tossed in) but in playing melodically right alongside the other instruments. He was also one of the earliest to get into multi-rhythms and playing in different time signatures. On 1957's "Jazz in 3/4 Time" he moved past Honeysuckle Rose and into new territory with the still under-recognized trumpeter Kenny Dorham and Sonny Rollins on tenor. Sonny's Valse Hot is the high point of half-a-dozen tracks which include Richard Rodgers' Lover returned to waltz time from jazz' usual 4/4 reading. The little-known )ULY 1 -SEPTE MBER 7 2005 Billy Wallace is replaced on piano by Ray Bryant for a lilting The Most Beautiful Girlln The World. I love Buddy Rich's playing, I admit, but there's too much of it on "Blues Caravan". But then again, why would you buy a Buddy Rich record if you didn't like drumming and lots of it? This 1961 session finds him leading an unusual group with flute, vibes, trumpet and piano and bass. I guess you don't change things if you're doing a replica re-issue, but the playing order of the original LP doesn't work too well here, with only two of six tracks offering refuge from the percussion. Trumpeter Rolf Ericson manages to hold his own, shining on I Remember Clifford, Benny Golson's threnody to Max · Roach's musical partner. If I were the producer, I never would have put together the five players of Joe Newman's quintet heard on "At Count Basie's". But the trumpet veteran brought a gang of stylistically-different players to the Harlem jazz club for some playing and taping back in 19?1, and made it work. Newman him- · self was a Hampton/Basie alumnus, a swing-to-bop stylist who owed a lot to Louis Armstrong. The others were of a more formal university and conservatory background: the star-crossed Oliver Nelson on tenor, Lloyd Mayers at the piano, and Art Davis on bass with drummer Ed Shaughnessy. While the group never meshes into anything distinctive, there are solid performances all around, with the leader convincing whether on open horn or muted. "Cugi's Cocktails" is not a jazz record, but boy oh boy is it well played 40 year old music. Xavier Cugat was an occasional violinist who led 'Latin' bands from the 1930s on, and had great success as a showman. I doubt that he was even in the studio when this cha-cha/meringue/rumba release was taped in 1963 but there was a first-class orches~a under Hal Mooney's direction playing what we might now call 'lounge music' . The' tracks are all cocktail-themed (Cuba Libre, One Mint Julep, Da~quiri etc.). The players are all unidentified top rank NYC studio players, but I'd bet it's Doc Severinsen's trumpet on Daiquiri. If you can overlook a bit of 'cheesiness' and remove one level of irony from your hipster attitude, you can appreciate thoroughgoing professional music making. (But jazz it ain't.) Ted O'Reilly

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