8 years ago

Volume 11 Issue 3 - November 2005

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  • Toronto
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Cairns' newly released

Cairns' newly released CD "Indelible" is his first CD as a leader, and there's no denying his commitment to the art and craft of traditional jazz guitar. The album includes standard numbers Beautiful Love, Django, / 'm Getting Sentimental Over You, and Secret Love. Cairns throws in three original titles Both Way Blues, Sterno and It Came Down, as well as an adaptation of the 'soporific lullaby ' Hush Little Baby. Bassist Rick Kilburn and drummer Tom Doran provide competent support for Cairns' fluid melodic soloing and pristine tone, but the range of tempos and rhythms are limited and periodically make one want to place the CD in background mode rather than front and center. It would be nice to hear a second jazz album from Bobby Cairns, and hopefully he won' t wait as long to release his sophomore CD as he did to release his debut. Eli Eisenberg POT POURRI Kaiso Blue Jeremy Ledbetter & Cane Fire Independent ( The title of this recording might lead one to expect a straight-up old-time Trinidad calypso compilation, with perhaps a few folk standards thrown into the mix. In fact, although the " Kaiso" is meant to connote Trinidadian inspirations, the " Blue" refers to the blues, and this is a collection of wide-ranging African diasporic influences, all composed by local Ontario musician Jeremy Ledbetter. Cane Fire, a di verse and eclectic ensemble, along with such guests as pannist Andy Narell and percussionist Muhtadi Thomas, mix 82 Back to Ad Index it up with infusions of brass, steelpan, djembe, congas and other Afro­ Cari bbean instruments. Drawing from Latin jazz and traditional Caribbean rhythms, most selections are upbeat. A standout is the galloping Latin jazz composition The Pepper Drinker, which has Ledbetter working out hard on the keyboard, with pannist Mark Mosca and the rest of the percussionists racing each other for the finish line ... in a good way. The Cuban/Brazilian-derived Canaima, with vocalizations by Venezuelan-born Eliana Curevas is soft­ I y sultry. However, one of the most effective numbers is the simple From the Ashes, performed by Ledbetter on piano with Mosca on steel pan. A memorial lament for Ledbetter's father, it evokes powerful emotion. Sarah B. Hood Black Mamba Adrian Raso, guitar Black Mamba Records I have never heard guitar playing quite like this. Guelph-based guitar phenom Adrian Raso has released what he dubs his acoustic album "Black Mamba", and indeed the instruments, for the most part, don' t rely on electricity. But this isn't your average, laid-back unplugged offering. This is due in part to Raso's rock background, which asserts itself on the lead lines which rip over the rhythm guitar parts and drive the songs forward. His unique sound is also due, I suspect, to the type of instruments he plays - he plays some bass as well as guitar on this disc - which are, unfortunately, not described on the sparse liner notes. But it's not your average acoustic guitar or stand-up bass. A visit to his website tells us they may be a type of hybrid nylon and steel-stringed, semi-acoustic instrument. Raso has written all nine of the songs on the disc and there is some lovely work here. He's incorporated lots of Latin touches, and there's a kind of breezy Mediterranean feel to most of the tunes. The tune Django has a number of influences that make for an unusual mix of styles. It's as if Hendrix was hired to play at a Greek/Middle Eastern WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COM dance party. Interesting. Raso's crew of Mike Campagnolo, bass, and John Cusinato, drums and percussion also bring a lot of energy to the party. It's important to mention that Raso has dedicated this recording to the memory of his daughter, Ava Amelie, and that of every CD sold will be donated to the Children's Health Foundation in London. Cathy Riches Concert Note: Adrian Raso performs at a number of Chapters stores around the province this month: Square One Mississauga November 5th; Gateway Park Dr., Kitchener on the 12th; Fanshaw Park Rd. , North London on the 18th and 19th; and Barrie View Dr. , Barrie on the 25th. The Rough Guide to African Music for Kids Various Artists Rough Guides RGNET 1166 CD The Rough Guide to the Music of Madagascar Various Artists Rough Guides RGNET 1163 CD The Rough Guide CDs and books have become a mainstay of the reading and recording collections of world music enthusiasts and scholars. And with good reason: materials are well-researched, innovative, engaging, and visually attractive. The tradition continues with these two stellar CDs of African music. The first, for children, has music from several differentAfrican countries. The second is a compilation focusing on Madagascar which, as the world's fourth largest island is, in fact, a pretty large area with no less than eighteen distinct ethnic groups. When listening to the CD for children, I was struck by the fact that it did not really sound how we con- ceptualize children's music in the West-simple rhythms, child-oriented words, transparent textures, and usually of little interest to adults. Instead I heard complex rhythms, songs about AIDS and prison life, and dense, rich musical textures. Yet, these examples were selected from dozens of African songs by more than 3000 children, ages 5 to 11 years, in England. With such an amazing line-up of stars and styles it certainly demonstrates that kids are perhaps more musically sophisticated than we adults imagine. Highlights include singer Ricardo Lemvo and his band playing a fusion of Congolese soukous and salsa; renowned Manding musician Mory Kante; Alemayehu Eshete ('The Ethiopian James Brown'); Nigerian A fro-beat drummer Tony Alien; and two South African choral groups prominent in the struggle against apartheid - the Mahotella Queens (singing an indigenous version of the well-known 'The Lion Sleeps Tonight') and world-famous Ladysmith Black Mambazo. The music of the other CD, from Madagascar, is in many ways quite different due to its cultural legacy influenced by Indonesian migrants, Arab traders, and French colonizers. Most notable is the predominance of strings, featured on all tracks. Traditional instruments include: zithers, valiha and marovany; three-string fiddle, lokanga, and a plucked lute, kabosa. We also hear a lot of guitar (electric and acoustic), nowadays central to Malagasy music, with a unique and complex style evolving from traditional string-playing techniques. Older repertoire, such as the solo marovany from the south of the island and family songs from the central highlands (tracks 6 and 15) take us into the world of time-honoured ritual and social customs, whereas the energetic, funky dance band music with vocals in close harmony, heard on several tracks, showcases a more modem and international expression in the music of Madagascar. Both CDs are testament to the richness and diversity of music from the African continent. Annette Sanger Concert Notes: There will be a concert of African Blues featuring Madagascar Slim, Donne Robert and Ndidi Onukwulu at the Silver Dollar Room November 12. The University of Toronto hosts the African Drumming and Dancing Ensemble in a free noonhour performance on November 18. N OV EMBER 1 - D ECEMBE R 7 2005

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