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Volume 11 Issue 5 - February 2006

  • Text
  • Toronto
  • February
  • Theatre
  • Jazz
  • Arts
  • Symphony
  • Mozart
  • Musical
  • Orchestra
  • Quartet

and Maiera, which even

and Maiera, which even made it into the Ellington orchestra's book when Stone was a member. The sequencing was wisely-done, placing the freer, more spontaneous works towards the latter part of the disc. By that time a new listener will have adjusted ears and attitude to accept this interesting music. Ted O'Reilly Moment in Time Richard Underhill Stubby Records (www.richardunderhill.com) "Of the IO new compositions on this album," writes Richard Underhill "one was written for a poignant moment in time". Where Were You When The Lights Went Out?, at times sweet and soulful and at times wildly celebratory certainly does evoke memories of the blackout which hit Toronto in 2003, and provides a powerfully moving closing piece for the award-winning saxophonist's latest recording, "Moment in Time". Underhill and the fantastic group of musicians he has assembled bring these original songs to life with an intense, communicative sense of ensemble, and, more often than not, a wild, playful spirit. It is certainly difficult to pick out any individual musician, but Joe Poole, one of the two drummers on this album, has an energy that explodes right off the recording, and plays a wonderful solo on the bop tune Traffic. Pianist Luis Guerra's solos shine, but he also offers a harrnonic and rhythmic drive that often pushes the band to another level - the solo section of A Few Things springs instantly to mind. Bob Brough's tenor saxophone works beautifully with Underhill 's bright alto sound - switching from contrast to impeccable blend, sometimes on a dime. Drummer Daniel Barnes and bassists Mike Milligan and Graig Earle also appear as a part of the rotating rhythm section, and there are certainly no weak links. The album also features some guest artists. William Carn 's trombone on the klezmer-inspired Chasing the Sun and solo on 3 am add huge amounts of texture and depth, and the solo break on Where Were 68 You Wh en the Lights Went Out, which along with the band features Carn, Chris Gale, Jono Grant and Samba Elegua, captures all the craziness of an impromptu street party. The title of the album seems apt. The music truly makes the listener stop and consider those wonderful moments in time when the ordinary and every day suddenly become strange and beautiful. Sophia Perlman Paco Paco Bill McBirnie Duo/Quartet Extreme Flute EF04 Few jazz players have done what Bill McBirnie is doing: made a career playing nothing but flute. He does it so well that over the length of this CD you never really notice that the tonal range is limited to just that instrument. Not that that's true really, not with the estimable talent; of Bernie Senensky at the piano throughout, and bassist Neil Swainson with drummer John Sumner on the quartet selections. These days it seems that every jazz CD is nothing but 'originals', so it's refreshing to note that only one of the dozen tracks is less familiar: Senensky's sprightly Paco Paco, written for Moe Koffman's group. Otherwise, it's jazz standards, such as Coltrane's Like Sonny, Monk's Bright Mississippi and two versions of Hackensack sufficiently different to merit inclusion. Bernie Senensky proves again his gospel chops on Stand Up, Stand Up For Jesus which shifts easily from sacred to swinging with the potent rhythm section ofSwainson and Sumner. Pretty music is not eschewed, with duo performances of Keith Jarrett's My Song and Jobim's O Grande Amor. The bluesy, hip 'n cool Curtis Lewis tune The Great City is a relaxed highlight of a fine release that should find its way into many collections. The label is " Extreme Flute", but maybe it should be "Extremely Well Done Flute" given this release. You can get it from Phone/ Fax 416.652.1541 , or email billmcb@idirect.com. Ted O'Reilly WWW. TH EWHOLENOTE ,COM Yem a ya Roberto Occhipinti Alma Records ACDl2132 One of the great things about jazz is its ability to take in all different styles of music. In fact, it could be argued that jazz isn 't really a type of music on its own at all, but is always borrowing from other styles. That is why the term 'jazz fusion ' is a bit redundant. It's all fusion. And in the case of th is latest disc from Toronto bassist Roberto Occhipinti it is uber fusion. Between the borrowings from classical music in the orchestral and string accompaniments, Brazi I ian and Cuban harmonies and rhythms, and plentiful jazz soloing, it covers a lot of ground. And it could be a mess in less capable hands, but Occhipinti has the experience and knowledge to manage the diversity. On the first half of "Yemaya" Occhipinti has included lush string and orchestral parts courtesy of the Toronto String Quartet and the Global is Symphony Orchestra (the latter recorded in Moscow). Then the disc sort of comes back down to earth on the second halfusing more traditional jazz instrumentation (bass, piano, drums, guitar and horns). The standout tunes are the title track, which is a tribute to the goddess of the sea and features stellar saxophonist Phil Dwyer, and the final track, a traditional Cuban song, Yambu. Its simplicity - if you can call a song with a dozen percussionists simple - is refreshing after everything that came before it. This is a rich, complex recording with a ton of talent on display. Cathy Riches Encuentro en la Habana Hilario Duran & Perspectiva Alma Records ACD12122 Canada is lucky to have Cuban-born pianist and composer Hilario Duran whose style and technique are easily on par with the likes of Michel Camilo and fellow countrymen Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Chucho Valdes. Duran's latest CD release on Toronto's Alma Records, "Encuentro en la Habana" is a reunion of sorts, as he and seven bandmates initially employed by Arturo Sandoval, formed their own band, Perspectiva, and recorded the album in Havana Cuba in early 2005. The musicians' familiarity with one another is apparent throughout. The sensitivity, interpretation, and use of dynamics make it clear that this is not a one man show, but a project that encouraged the creativity ofall involved. Ten tracks, eight of which are composed by Duran are offered in a wide range of tempos and instrumentation. The band's core, consisting of Duran, bassist Jorge Reyes, and conga player Reynaldo Valera work extremely well with the other players and local producer Roberto Occhipinti, who does an admirable job balancing the folklore of Cuban music with ' the rhythm of the times' . Special mention should also be made to alto sax player Roman Feliu, formerly of lrakere for his strong melodic interpretation and lucid solos. Hilario Duran is also an instructor at Humber College. For anyone and everyone interested in Cuban Jazz, class is in session. Eli Eisenberg POT POURRI Twelve Easy Pieces Anne Schaefer RoadHouse Route22 Anne Schaefer is a singer-songwriter from Canada's West Coast whose first CD is making considerable waves. "Twelve Easy Pieces" is 'Girl with Guitar' kicked up a few notches. The notches are courtesy of her sidemen, most notably string bass player Scott White, drummer Kelby MacNayr, and above all, Schaefer's own musical and life FEBR UA RY 1 - M ARC H 7 2006

experience. Being alive longer than 30 years, studying classical and jazz music and having lived and performed in Argentina, all enable Schaefer to bring a lot to the party. Scat singing, Spanish lyrics, violin playing and urdu drumming co-mingle and play nicely together with Schaefer's thoughtful tunes. All twelve songs are written by Schaefer: El Hablador has tango touches with the use ofbandoneon, Calor is a jazzy free-form exercise in vocalese, and Darling is in familiar territory as a lament to love gone wrong. The horn playing scattered throughout the disc adds much but never overwhelms. Credit goes to Daniel Lapp, trumpet, Bill Runge, saxes, and Douglas Schmidt, trombone. Schaefer has a bright and pleasant voice with minimal vibrato and spot-on pitch, which lends itself well to the variety of styles she covers;jazz, "world" and rootsy folk all come across. This is a very strong debut from a non-debutante. Cathy Riches 'J---. - -,:,,;..,,· ~:.-.:- F.... ~_. •.V -. Not Much is Worse Than a Troll Ensemble Polaris Bisma Bosma Records BBR 001 (www.ensemblepolaris.com) Is there more to Scandinavia than fJords, saunas and Strindberg? After listening to the Toronto-based Ensemble Polaris' new disc "Not Much is Worse than a Troll", I am now wary of spending too much time with the Finns, giving too much away to the Swedes and letting my guard down with the Norwegians. "Are you afraid of trolls?" you might ask. "Are they scary and slimy?" I do not know the answer to these questions. The one thing I do know, however, is that they like to Polka. The title of the CD comes from an old Norse poem from medieval Orkney - don't worry, it is not one that was likely covered in school. True to form, many of the pieces on the CD are based on folksongs which revolve around trolls. There are female trolls with cow's tails, there are pond-dwelling trolls who kill people, and there are people who behave like trolls and find them- FEBR UARY 1 - MAR CH 7 2006 selves in the same category. The members of the group have arranged all of the folksongs themselves, and very successfully at that. It is hard to resist these lively arrangements and compositions which include squeeze-toys and slide whistles and various other scary troll-like sounds. The performance given by the ensemble is full oflife, well executed and enjoyable to hear. Alison Melville and Kirk Elliot cover ten instruments between them, and the other members seem to balance a wide range as well. The percussion, as played by Debashis Sinha, has a drive and purpose to it that makes the music exciting to listen to. This could, quite possibly, be the only disc of Scandinavian troll music that exists. Not Much may be Worse than a Troll, but there is a lot that is worse than this CD. As I write this, despite my better judgment, I have even begun to Polka. Gabrielle McLaughlin OLD WINE IN NEW BOTTLES Fine Old Recordings Re-Released by Bruce Surtees In 1956 DG, then OGG, issued a series of LPs to 1939. Music and Arts has issued a set [CD-1173, 4 commemorate the 200th anniversary of the birth of CDs priced as 3] containing recordings from 1927 to Mozart. Their best artists of the day were heard in a 1939 plus one track from December 1940. I opened representative collection of symphonies, piano con- the box intending, for the moment, to only sample the certos, chamber music, sacred music, selections Bach Toccata and Fugue in D minor from 1934 which from opera, and serenades. is as good as or better than his other recordings of his Fifty years later DG has restored that collection on famous transcription. Several hours later I was still CD augmented by other contemporary performances listening to and enjoying this set of21 recordings to form two six CD boxed sets [4475806 & 447810], including lots of Bach, the Franck Symphony, with a 2 CD set of each category available separate- Beethoven's Fifth (from the long play 33 1/3 Victor ly. With the intense scholarship on performance set L-7001, issued in 1931!), Brahms Fourth, and practices and instruments of Mozart's day, some of favourites by Vivaldi, Handel, Lully, Debussy, Jothe artistry heard on these recordings may sound hann Strauss II, Sousa, and others. Meticulous new pedestrian or be labeled anachronistic. However, transfers by Mark Obert-Thorn manage to clarify the they certainly were not at the time and represented quietest passages without appearing to adjust levels. Even the finest examples of European musicianship. The from 78rpm mono originals, the Stokowski sound, often symphonies, 29,35,39 ,40,41; the Adagio and Fugue quite opulent, shines through. As re-issues go, this packin C minor, K546; Eine kleine Nachtmusik and the age ranks very high. Masonic F_uneral Music K477 are all c~nducted by In 1987 The English National Opera staged The Mi- ~erenc Fncsay .. More elegant than spn~htly , 1 some kado produced by Jonathan Miller which was also m ste:eo. The piano c~ncertos are a dehc~cy ·. Clara prepared for television and seen on screens around Hask1l [13, 19], Margnt Webe_r [12], Anme Fischer the world. Staged as if it might have been in an Eng- [R?ndos K382 & K386],_ Momqu~ Haa.s [23], a?d Iish seaside resort in the carefree 1920s, it is very M1eczysl_aw Horszowsk1 [14] all illu1;1mate thelf different from the usual or unusual productions. scores with a sense of freshness and elan. Excellent Members of the cast are all well known including sou~d. ~tereo except for 19 & 23. The chamber Richard van Allen, Richard Angas, Lesley Garrett, music discs feature the A~adeus Quartet and the Felicity Palmer and Eric Idle as Ko-Ko. Costumes Loewenguth Qua:iet playmg quartets [!

Volume 26 (2020- )

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