8 years ago

Volume 11 Issue 1 - September 2005

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

cult to find a better

cult to find a better example of 'Something Old ... Something New' than Swing Rosie, a vocal trio consisting of Kira Callahan, Chantelle Wilson and Shannon Butcher. Known mainly for their interpretations of Andrews Sisters favourites, they have arranged and recorded thirteen tracks for their debut CD "Sing Cool, Swing Hot". Classics like Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen, I've Got A Guy From Kalamazoo and Eight To The Bar are placed strategically throughout the disc alongside other well-known tunes from the same era like Makin' Whoopee, St. Louis Blues and Begin the Beguine. And if that weren't enough, the girls have also added two songs of their own, composed and performed in the style of the Andrews Sisters; Swing Rosie written by Kira Callahan and Suzy Kazoo by Chantelle Wilson. The quintet of pianist Peter Hill, trumpet player William Sperandei, bassist Ka-Cheong Liu, drummer Glenn Anderson, and reed player Ross Wooldridge do a decent job of swinging through the tunes and providing the necessary support for some of the tightest three part vocal harmony north of the 49th parallel. Swing Rosie may be a relatively recent addition to Toronto's musical menu, but it is one that we look forward to seeing continue to perform, record, and compose for years to come. Eli Eisenberg Outside the Wall Mei Han Za Discs ( Although titled "New Music for Zheng", this CD actually includes both old and new, ranging from a 10th century Song dynasty medley to recent works from 2004 and 2005. The featured instrument, the zheng, is an ancient twenty-one stringed Chinese zither, nowadays a popular solo instrument in concert music of China and the West. Performer Mei Han, a resident of Vancouver, is a magnificent musician: her focus, passion and intensity keep the listener riveted, eagerly anticipating every note as the music unfolds with elegance and poise. Four of the six tracks 64 Back to Ad Index are for zheng solo: of these, two are ancient Chinese pieces arranged by the performer. Another is a striking work called The Greening (1967), by acclaimed Japanese composer Minoru Miki, who is notable for his energetic promotion of East Asian instruments. In fact, this piece was originally for koto, though it works well on zheng, retaining much of its Japanese flavour. Finally, solo zheng is featured in Raine-Reusch' s transcendental Outside the Wall (2005), which depicts the moments leading up to an "awakening". The remaining tracks combine the zheng with other instruments. Purple Lotus Bud (2004) by John Oliver is a first for zheng and string quartet (the Borealis). And the CD ends with an interesting electro-acoustic collaboration, Bamboo, Silk and Stone (1987) by Barry Truax and Randy Raine-Reusch. An eclectic musical experience of the highest qua! ity, this CD is sure to interest traditional Chinese and contemporary art music fans . Annette Sanger Joyful Sounds Canadian Brass; Festival Singers; Elmer Iseler Opening Day (Vintage Release) ODR9332 This delightful CD is a compilation of two previous LP releases, "Joyful Sounds" (1973) and "Canadian Brass Plus Organ" (1977). It is a joy to return to these recordings and hear the formidable work of the renowned Canadian Brass in the early days of its long and illustrious musical career. As the liner notes state, the late great choral conductor Elmer Iseler first suggested a collaboration upon hearing the Canadian Brass perform at the 1970 Ontario Arts Council Contact "Showcase". The beginnings of an almost 30 year relationship can be experienced here. Of special note is Heinrich Schutz' Psalm JOO, a regal dialogue between the choir and the brass in which the inherent dramatic tension is heightened by the clear and exacting performances. Canadian organist Douglas Haas shines in his ensemble work with WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COM the Canadian Brass. The opening track, Benedetto Marcell 's The Heaven's Are Telling foreshadows a collection of pieces performed with precision and balance. Never does the sound become overbearing or tedious. Twentieth century music is represented by the composers Dupre, Karg-Elert and Schmidt. The Canadian Brass have been good friends to contemporary composers so it is of no surprise that the performances of these works are at the group's usual high standards. The compositions themselves could have been more intriguing for my tastes . However, the inclusion of "new music" is always welcome and the pieces are important as chronicles in the evolution of the Canadian Brass. The order of the CD is such that brass and organ, and brass and choir cuts are interspersed, resulting in a balanced and enjoyable listening experience. Phh!k Songs Henry Kucharzyk; Peter Hannan; Christine Duncan; Rick Sacks Artifact Music ART 032 The recent resurgence of neo-progressive music is as surprising as it is reassuring, to those of us who remember the progressive heyday of the early 1970's. The potent fusion of avant-garde stage performance and lightning-fast jazz chops makes for some excellent music. Now add to that some digital music machines, plus older synthesizers which never seem to go out of tune or crash at the crucial moment, and these four musicians cannot fail. Kucharzyk, Hannan, Duncan and Sacks all have careers in concert music and/or jazz, and they've all worked in various combinations with other ensembles before now. But this collection of 13 songs is something of a milestone for all of them. Kucharzyk's songs have words by McLuhan. Theremins sing sweetly, and percussionist Sacks has an enormous palette of things to strike, shake or scrape. Vocalist Duncan is in control, never overbearing. I'd almost forgotten how good a sample-and-hold filter envelope can sound. Now it is true that the collection, at just 55 minutes, could conceivably fit on a vinyl record, but this is a two-for-one release. Also included is a DVD of the entire programme in Quadrophonic surround sound. Judging by the quality of sound of the CD on my humble stereo, I can only imagine that the Quad DVD will be a great addition if you have one of the new upto-date systems. Great CD! John Gray pink martini Hang on Little Tomato Pink Martini Tiina Kiik Heinz Records HNZ002 Pink Martini is a group based in Oregon whose musical imagination is firmly rooted in 1930's Cuba. But this 12-piece "little orchestra" apparently has many influences. The 15 mostly original tracks on Hang on Little Tomato are in English, French, Spanish, Japanese and even Croatian. Although the charming vocals by China Forbes take centre stage on most of the songs, this still feels very much like an orchestral recording. The founder of the ensemble, piano player Thomas Lauderdale, is classically trained, and this influence is evident in the orchestrations and style of the group. If indeed you can say the group has one style. Pink Martini is very hard to pin down - they are unique and romantic and fun. The use of strings and percussion is reminiscent of the danzon bands that were so popular in early 20th century Cuba. But with the presence of French lyrics and a whiff of ennui, a few of the songs seem straight out of a Paris cafe. This is the group's second recording and they have developed quite a following in various places around the world, possibly due to the fact that their music has been used in many films and television shows. I can see why this group's songs lend themselves to film, because it is the type of music that strongly evokes a certain time and place and mood while maintaining a cultural eclecticism that is very modern. Cathy Riches SEPTEMBER 1 - OCTOBER 7 2005


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