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Volume 11 Issue 1 - September 2005

  • Text
  • Toronto
  • September
  • Jazz
  • Festival
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  • Theatre
  • October
  • Sept
  • Index
  • Bach

nificant highlights

nificant highlights only" project. NAXOS has made what fortunately turned out to be a well-informed judgment call on what excerpts equitably represent the path and watershed events in a Part's creative life - and a complex life it is. Estonian born, living under German then Russian occupation, converting from being Lutheran to Russian Orthodox, experimenting with Serialism then rejecting it, drifting towards Minimalism, expressing in his choral works a religious centre against the fortress atheism of the Soviet state, finding asylum in the West and facing criticism for his simplistic style yet always writing with a firm conviction of his own world - though we're never quite sure if it's here or elsewhere ... this is Arvo Part. More than 60 pages of superb notes accompany this 2 CD set. Nick Kimberley has here the beginnings of what could become a very fine biography of this composer whose music seems to attract us regardless of our personal tastes. Part's combination of skill and honesty will continue to keep us intrigued by the questions he raises whether they are presented in skillful orchestration, solo piano or a capella works. His love of Bach, evident in both quotation and imitation reveals an artist with a respect for form despite the formlessness of some of his work. Chaos theory as applied to music? Perhaps. The more than 30 tracks NAX­ OS has assembled from various sources, including other recording labels, provide an excellent overview of a composer whose work may inspire you to closer examination and lead you to add complete Part works to your collection. Alex Baran Connections in Brass Hannaford Street Silver Band Gary Kulesha Opening Day ODR 9335 If you remember one of the last Massey Hall New Music festivals, when a certain orchestra was in the midst of a protracted labour dispute, you'll remember how the HSSB saved the day with brilliant performances. And now, with their second 62 Back to Ad Index release on Opening Day, more Canadian works are showcased. Ten compositions are featured on this CD. Unfortunately, composer Patrick Cardy who passed away at the age of 51 earlier this year did not live to see this, and his Kalenda Maya is one of the highlights. But recall that festival, and you'll be glad to find Jeffrey Ryan's She Threw It Down, Anathema for cello, clarinet, piano and brass band here in a majestic performance complete with the original David Hetherington, Joaquin Valdepeiias and Peter Longworth line-up. Kelly-Marie Murphy's Hartford Accident & Indemnity displays her characteristic twists and turns. Mcintyre Ranch Country closes the disc on Howard Cable's familiar ground. The major revelation for me however was Gabriel Major-Marothy's Suite for Band, exuding a Wagnerian grandeur, particularly in the middle movement. Gary Kulesha continues moving from strength to strength. The Hannafords couldn't ask for a better conductor, as he wrings the utmost accuracy and excitement from these 26 players. In my youth in a military city, I never heard a brass band sound this good. Although the hall is not credited, the recorded sound is excellent, and we expect nothing less from Ed Marshall. "Connections in Brass" contains 73 minutes of first-rate music, which has my unreserved recommendation. John Gray Editor's note: In addition to its Opening Day recordings, the Hannaford Street Silver Band has also recorded 3 CDs of Canadian and British repertoire for CBC Records. Delires de plaisirs Paul Dolden Empreintes DIGIT ALes IMED 0577 Always a composer who has understood the meaning of density in a work, Paul Dolden returns once again with "Deli res de plaisirs" (Entropic Twilights). If you're wondering ifDolden has softened his edge for the complex multi-dimensional rhythm tracks and computer-generated layers, the answer is a plain, resounding no. The album sees him in full control of his virtual orchestra. Of course, it's an orchestra on paper only, as his computer is fed the various instrumental parts, which are then neatly [ or less neatly - depending on the composer's mood, I guess] organized into individual tracks. If you thought his other works were dense, wait until you hear the title piece - which comes complete with noisy guitars, altered percussion, some flutes and this thick, thick layer of distortion. All in all, Dolden had to go back and absorb new production techniques in order to come up with the precise sound that he was looking for. We're talking about relentlessly dense multi-tracking here and the result is absolutely a work of wonder. Just to be able to hear this piece without an opinion is next to impossible. Some may call this a work of a madman. It's obviously not a work for everyone as the novelty and uniqueness of it may scare the fans of the more conventional. But if you 're looking for something new and challenging, "Delires de plaisirs" is yet another work of genius from this much misunderstood Canadian composer. Tom Sekowski Editor's note: As a point of clarification, Dolden's music is not "computer generated" in the sense of computer sound synthesis. Each of the hundreds of individual tracks consists of recorded instrumental sounds ( often performed by the composer himself) which are then layered to create incredibly dense and rich instrumental textures that would not be possible in real-time performance situations. JAZZ / - 8 @7J.Z r;-IGBf&s:i~ Jazz Tactics Chase Sanborn Independent (from jazztactics.com) WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COM This is a long-needed 'Jazz 101'. With an accompanying first-rate rhythm section, Toronto trumpeter Chase Sanborn guides you through the 'mysteries' of jazz, from the absolute basics of rhythm and melody, to the ever-increasing depths of harmony. While there's a lot in this hourand-a-quarter presentation (plus bonus material) the viewer is never overwhelmed with information. Taped before an audience at one of music retailer Long & Mc­ Quade's generous clinics, the lecture is based on Sanborn's valuable book "Jazz Tactics". While that isn't a dusty academic tome itself, the value of this relaxed companion presentation featuring the instant examples available with a live quartet is obvious. When Sanborn talks improvisation concepts like 'comping', pianist Mark Eisenman is right there, showing how to support a soloist. 'Walking bass'? Steve Wallace lays down a concrete foundation, and drummer Barry Elmes shows how to get in a groove, prodding but not pushing. There's something in this lecture for everyone, be they a student, a teacher or just a listener. Sanborn shows how the elements of music combine with the vocabulary of jazz, and how musicians use it all to communicate with each other on stage, and with their audience. Extra features include PDF files of all the musical examples, which can be printed off for further study; some tips for the rhythm section, and even the humourous adventures of The Beer Fairy. In addition to this valuable disc a bonus second DVD "Brass Tactics" is a 45 minute talk aimed at brass players but useful in concept for all musicians. There's also an interview with a trumpet designer, and Making Trumpets, a tour of the Yamaha factory. This valuable resource is available from www .jazztactics.com. Ted O'Reilly Liaisons Bernard Primeau Montreal Jazz Ensemble Swing 'n Time SIT CD 5005 Drummer Bernard Primeau is in his fifth decade of playing jazz, with a SEPTE M BER 1 - O CTO BER 7 2005

straight-ahead groove that naturally brings to mind Art Blakey. I first heard him on records with Oliver Jones and Nelson Symonds, but Primeau has long since moved from the back of the band to the front seat, driving his own groups on half a dozen releases. On the albums which I've heard, his ensemble plays nice tight arrangements of solid tunes, mostly from within the band. Guest artists have included Slide Hampton, Ray Anderson and Hugh Fraser (hmmm, all trombonists), and on this new release the Belgian guitarist Philip Catherine. In all cases the invitee blends in very well, even here, as Catherine's occasional rock proclivities are accommodated by the BPMJE. The Belgian's original composition B.A. (Beatrice) moves from an out-oftempo intro to a lightly Latin feel, offering good room to the pianist John Roney as the horns lay out. Trumpeter Bill Maher contributes four of the CD's seven compositions (there's also a closing drum solo track) as well as solid solos and lead work. Tenor saxist Bruno Lamarche and trombonist David Grott show their chops throughout, with Lamarche particularly effective alongside Catherine on the ballad Times Past. If there's no new ground broken here, that's fine by me - one needn't renovate every time you redecorate. Ted O'Reilly ture of Jerome Kern's The Song is You. The engaging ease with which the quartet interprets this piece - and everything else on the CD for that matter - belies the fact that Thompson's music is very complex. In his notes, bassist Neil Swainson, a man in a position to know - he's performed most of this material with Thompson at one time or another - points out that "this music is not easy to play". Highlights include Thompson's vibraphone artistry on Blues For Jim San, and his sensitive piano on April Snow. Also noteworthy are Phil Dwyer's boisterous tenor on You Are the Song and Hot Chocolate, and his delicate soprano on April Snow. (As Jim Hall observes, Phil Dwyer plays the soprano in tune.) And Jim Vivian and Terry Clarke demonstrate once again why they are ideal rhythm associates for Don Thompson. Highly recommended. Don Brown Just You, Just Me Ranee Lee & Oliver Jones Justin Time JUST 213-2 It is a special treat to hear a couple of old hands do their thing. I don't think jazz vocalist Ranee Lee and pianist Oliver Jones would object to being described that way, given that their musical relationship goes back some 25 years. The two of them have long been on the Montreal jazz scene, supporting each other on live gigs and occasional recordings, but Just You, Just Me is only their second recorded fulllength collaboration. Jones was coaxed out of retirement for this project and his piano playing is sensitive and complementary to Ms. Lee's vocals when needed, and rollicking and swinging on many of the tunes, such as Sister Sadie and the title track. Three of the 13 tunes are written by Lee alone and she composed two of the others with Jones. The covers range from the somewhat obscure, and moving, Guess Who (I Saw Today My Dear) to the familiar Autumn Leaves. Although a number of the tunes are simple duets between voice and piano, Eric Lagace and Dave Laing drive the rhythm with bass and • drums on others. It is gratifying to be able to pick up a disc like this and be assured of hearing solid musicianship. So while the performances are not flawless, they are honest and real and often spontaneous, and that is what good jazz is all about. Cathy Riches POT POURRI Sing Cool, Swing Hot Swing Rosie Independent Right now in Toronto's contemporary music scene it would be difficoNTINUEs DIGITAL EDITING CD MASTERING CONTACT: • OPEN REEL TRANSFERS • 96/24 CAPABILITY KARL MACHAT 416 503 3060 OR 647 227 KARL MISTERS.MASTERS@SYMPATICO.CA GOLD RECORDS JUNO AWARDS Ask Me Later Don Thompson Quartet CBC TRCD 3013 Don Thompson should be declared a national treasure. This time out the laid-back jazz master restricts himself to vibes and piano and turns the bass responsibilities over to the more than capable Jim Vivian. The others in his quartet are Phil Dwyer on tenor and soprano saxophones and piano, and long-time Thompson colleague Terry Clarke, on drums. The CD's title (and title tune) displays the leader's wry sense of humour. Ask Me Later is Thompson's musical response to Thelonious Monk's Ask Me Now. The set's opener, You Are the Song, is based on the harmonic struc- Back to Ad Index

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