8 years ago

Volume 10 Issue 8 - May 2005

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funny hair ." fers the thunderous left hand punch- Buddy delivers in classic, no non- es and dynamics patented by OP sense fashion with high-energy ar- (even if he can't do them any longrangements by Bob Mintzer, Bill er). In Alexander's hands it some­ Holman, Bob Kay, and Bill Reddie. how comes out as caricature. His fifteen piece ensemble, apt- His reading of My Mother's Eyes ly titled 'The Killer Force Band', is just superficially sentimental, deliver. five jam-packed arrange- sounding like a barroom ballad, as ments culminating in Rich's sig- though its only intent is to show how nature version of West Side Story heartfelt he can be. More restraint Suite complete with extended, fiery is shown on Alexander's original drum solo. The River, a lovely melody en- A nice surprise occurs on the hanced by some string strumming second last cut with a trio version by the pianist . of Someday-My Prince Will Come ·Really, though, his heart is in which features a stunning, note the Caribbean, and with the feaperfect fretless bass solo by Tom tured hand drums and steel drums Warrington. of long-time pal Robert Thomas, There's no denying that Buddy ·Jr. Happylypso/Funji Mama joyful­ Rich's energy, swing, and soloing ly makes you remember that sandy innovations were virtually unpar- beach', holding an icy Red Stripe. alleled by any drummer, particu- Essentially this is a standard trio, . larly in the Big Band genre. One with bassist Hassan Shakur (once thing that may be difficult for some known as J .J. Wiggins, he's the son to listen to, however, is the occa- of the truly tine pianist Gerry Wigsional excutsion into funky ar- gins) and drummer Mark Taylor rangements, particularly on the making a band that has spent some first track, Grand Concourse. time together, and shows it in the They just don't have the authen- group's unity of purpose. I just ticity of his distinctive 1950s Big wish they would aim a little higher Band sound . than 'booty' and 'heart' and engage But as the audience's enthusiasm the brain as well. proves, "No Funny Hats" effec- Ted O'Reilly tively captures Buddy Rich's ability to deliver 110% each and every time he took to the stage. ' Eli Eisenberg 68 Live at the Iridium Monty Alexander Telarc Jazz CD-83610 Fans of the Jamaican-American pianist Monty Alexander will be happy with this new performance recording, and those who want to know what he's about will be wellserved by this representative release. He offers virtuosic and thorough-going piano playing. If it can be done on the keyboard, Alexander's going to do it, and do it in a show stoppi11g, audience pleasing way. There are others, however, who will find it utterly predictable, shallow and derivative. WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COM Alexander works in the pianistic deep shadow of Oscar Peterson, lighting fires that offer more heat than light. This is most obvious on Slappin ', a blues which of- Parallels Artie Roth Quintet Independent ( 1704-77 Toronto bassist Artie Roth leads an impressive quintet in a debut release of original compositions, equally impressive. He's been around playing around town for a few years now, following studies at York University and in Banff, guided by teachers like Don Thompson and Al· Henderson. Roth has shared bandstands with the internationally famous Kenny Wheeler, top vocafist Melissa Stylianou, John Roney, Bob Brough and others. Roth has always acquitted himself well in these settings, but steps forth on this new release, making the melody or introductory statement on most tracks. He has a full, rich sonority, and plays in tune(!) whether pizzicato or arco. He has MAY 1 - JUNE 7 2005

a lovely lead-in on the track For their time in the spotlight. David Ages. Braid turns in consistently exciting The leader's bandmates-not si­ and beautiful work on piano and demen-are a generation-and-a­ Anthony Michelli does some very half mix of fine players, with one inventive stuff on drums, especial­ of my all-time all-star players in ly on the first track Malice where John MacLeod on trumpet and he adds some drum'n'bass style tlugelhorn alongside one-time Mon­ rhythm to complement the modern treal er Kelly Jefferson, an enthu­ edginess of the melody. Kieran siastic tenor/soprano player. David Braid, the pianist, is a joy in any setting, and the drummer Kevin Dempsey has matured into an observant and sensitive contributor. The title track is a sort of loose upwards melody, allowing expansions by the soloists, and the arrangement offers backgrounds for soloists so the listener doesn't get lost. Imprint is enhanced by some fine Braid piano, and the ominously-titled Orwell's Warning has the kind of late '60s Miles Davis "Miles Smiles" sound that I always felt was undeveloped by the trumpeter's own groups as they ran ahead into amplified funk. Maybe Roth can continue that exploration. (I know liner notes have become passe, but I think that on a debut release, some biographical information is called for.) Ted O'Reilly Other Stories William Carn Independent ( WC-001 The trombone is a beautiful instrument and one that we don't hear a lot of since the decline in popularity of the big band and the R&B bands of the 60's and 70's. So it is a treat to have this new release by Toronto jazz trombonist William Carn. It is his second disc and he wrote all nine tracks. Carn is a fine player and is at his best on the slow melodic tunes. Perhaps that's because the trombone with its mellow, dark sound is ideal for ballads. Which isn't to say Carn doesn't know his way around a fast swing. He negotiates the heads and solos of the up-tempo tunes just fine. Carn gives lots of room to his bandmates who make good use of Overs solos and supports solidly on bass and saxophonist Kelly Jefferson splits born duty with Carn. The main complaint I have with the record is that there's a sameness to the tunes and pattern to the arrangements that starts to take its toll by around track 6. I would have liked to have heard a short trombone and bass duet or something like that, to shake things up. But that's a minor quibble - this is a solid effort by a relatively young musician. Cathy Riches POT POURRI Red Hot Ebony and Ivory Gilpin Publishing (Independent) GPCD003 Two exceedingly accomplished local musicians, reed player Fred Jacobowitz and keyboardist/composer/arranger Andrew Gilpin have pooled their resources to create a project called "Ebony and Ivory" and a debut CD entitled "Red Hot". "Red Hot" contains seventy two minutes of music and a total of nineteen selections, nine of which were either composed or arranged by Gilpin. Intricate melodies and strong rhythmic playing abound as Jacobowitz and Gilpin glide across many stylistic borders, interpreting Hasidic, Klezmer, jazz, ragtime, bluegrass, Latin, and even smooth jazz in relatively convincing fashion. Jacobowitz and Gilpin do covers of George Gershwin's Summertime, Benny Goodman'sA Smooth One, Leonard Bernstein's America and Scott Joplin's Maple Leaf Rag. greatperformance-·· VERDI II Trovatore DVUS-CLOPIT " ... belongs on the shelves of everyone who loves that strange and wonderful beast called opera. n - WholeNote BRITTEN The Turn of the Screw OA0907D • ... superbly enacted.• - Gramophone MARIA CALLAS Living and Dying for Art and Love DVUS.DOCMC Includes bonus footage of Callas' last Tosca in 1965 at Covent Garden. BOBBY McFERRIN Try This at Home 2051397 ASTOR PIAZOLLA In Portrait OA 09050 EUROARTS '-J mmC!I oPusf.1ART• @TDK. Available at HMV 333 Yonge St. Proudly distributed by give. --J music• DVD• more --,.. f. / •h• HMv gift card HOLST: The Planets OA 09160 MAY 1 - ]UNE 7 2005 WWW.THEWHOLENOTE.COM 69

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