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Volume 11 Issue 7 - April 2006

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Paris24H Paris Jazz Big

Paris24H Paris Jazz Big Band Cristal Records CRCD 0401 Paris Jazz Big Band was formed in 1999 by saxophonist Pierre Bertrand and trumpeter Nicolas Folmer, and 11 ofthe 12compositions on this CD were written by them. The idea was to create images and impressions of Paris. It's not a new concept if you think back to Scenes In The City by Charles Mingus, New York N. Y. by George Russell, or the tone poems by Duke Ellington. There is a very strong rhythmic pulse throughout, but particularly evident on Le Cyclopathe, and Galeries, while the seductive qualities of the city are expressed in Musee D 'Orsay, (with a beautiful harmonica solo by Olivier Ker Ourio ), Sous Les Toits and Reve . Metropolitain, named after the Paris subway system, is a trumpet tour de force by Folmer and four drummers - Jean, Andre, Jean-Paul and Regis Ceccarelli! I also especially enjoyed La Pluie, featuring trumpeter Fabien Mary, pianist Alfio Origlio and Pierre Bertrand on soprano sax . If I have one small complaint it is that there is perhaps too much emphasis on an eighth-note feel and I would have loved if just occasionally the band had gone into a straight ahead 4/4 rhythm. It is also my guess, listening to these arrangements, that both Bertrand and Folmer have certainly heard the work of a certain Mr. McConnell! If you are not yet familiar with the music of Paris Jazz Big Band, this CD is well worth your attention. Jim Galloway The Essential Herbie Hancock Herbie Hancock Columbia/Legacy 82796 94593 2 This two-disc retrospective covers Herbie Hancock's career, as sideman and leader, from 1962 through 2000. The music comes from the catalogues of Blue Note Records, RCA, Columbia, Verve, and Warner Brothers. Both Hancock's jazz and pop recordings are induct- 74 ed. Not surprisingly, the jazz material is every bit as fresh now as it was when originally issued. But the pop sides sound remarkably dated. The first recording of what would become Hancock's most famous composition, Watermelon Man , opens the collection. This 1962 performance comes from the pianist's debut leader date. His nominal sidemen on the session, trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, tenor saxophone legend Dexter Gordon, bassist Butch Warren, and drummer Billy Higgins, make up quite a band for a new young artist's first album. Even later, reverting once again to a sideman role, Hancock kept fast company. On 'Round Midnight we hear him providing brilliant accompaniment to tenorman Sonny Rollins. Hancock's compositional genius is front and center in such pieces as Cantaloupe Island, Maiden Voyage, and Circle, the latter from his time with Miles Davis. But the problem for this listener begins with Chameleon. As annotator Bob Belden points out, "most of Herbie's work for Columbia crossed over into the pop market, there is no real jazz chronology involved in the music. Instead his music paralleled the developments in pop music such as rhythms, vocals and more closed forms." The important thing to remember, however, is that Hancock' s forays into the pop world have never affected his jazz abilities. Le Passant Michel Lambert Jazz from Rant 0529 Don Brown With dozens of releases penned to his name [along with those recorded with various artists], Montreal percussionist Michel Lambert has now composed a suite entitled "Le Passant" ["The Wanderer"], that looks at the conflicting relationship between a small group of improvisers and a large chamber orchestra. Recorded with bassist Dominic Duval, violinist Malcolm Goldstein and saxophonist Ellery Eskelin, the first part of the disc ["Le Passant" movement] is a heady conflict between orchestra and improvisers enlisted for the project. Some of the most defining moments are heard in the form of the pinnacle of various sub-conflicts the players muster themselves. There's that signature Malcolm Goldstein screeching, scraping, head-on deathly violin sound that goes head-to-head with the orchestra, but is then left alone to his own devices. Ellery Eskelin blows some nasty, mean passages - especially on Le Choe Spirituel - but otherwise the movement's central aligning force seems to be Goldstein (whose "Hardscrabble Songs" album was one of the most defining releases oflast year). This doesn't mean Lambert doesn't get involved. In fact, his percussive force is everywhere inside the movement. While he concentrates on hi-hats, he's not afraid to let off steam at will. Duval really shines in the spotlight as he takes an elongated solo during the latter part of the movement. The last seven pieces on the record are "improvisations" (as they're referred to on the disc itself) between various band members. Running in the Cave seems to be the strongest one as all musicians of the quartet actively take part. It's a thrill to hear Goldstein's violin scrapes rattle against Eskelin's sax rallies, while Duval throws a thick backbone, together with Lambert's densely clattering percussion work. "Le Passant" may not be an easy listen, but the more time you invest, the richer your payback. Tom Sekowski The Feeling of Jazz Trio Derome Guilbeault Tanguay ambiences magnetiques AM 145CD Pee Wee et moi Robert Marcel Lepage ambiences magnetiques AM144CD Let's Cool One Frederic Alarie; John Gearey Fidelio FACD016 Shadows of a Brighter Day Tyler Hornby Roadhouse Records Route 21 WWW , TH EWHOLENOTE, COM For my debut as a WholeNote CD reviewer, I was given 4 CDs, 3 featuring Quebec based artists and a pan Canadian work by drummer Tyler Hornby. "The Feeling of Jazz" showcases the work of3 pillars of the Quebec musique actuelle scene (Normand Guilbeault on bass, Pierre Tanguay on drums and reedman Jean Derome) in a set of swing jazz standards with a modern twist. Derome attacks Ellington, Cole Porter and Fats Waller with a gritty tone and adventurous angular lines while the rhythm section swings freely underneath. The band draws an immediate comparison to Henry Threadgill's 1980's group Air, as the trio approaches the tradition with equal parts respect and irreverence. The energy is infectious, but Derome's awkward swing feel over the prickly groove of the rhythm section starts to wear thin. The saving grace comes as the band gets down and dirty on a Misha Mengelberg cha cha called A Bit Nervous and when Derome switches to flute on Jitterbug Waltz, but then defeat is snatched from the jaws of victory when Derome sings, adding high camp to the already full dance card. A far more effective take on the jazz tradition is "Pee Wee et moi", Robert Marcel Lepage's tribute to clarinetist Pee Wee Russell. The album features 12 wonderful originals and two Russell tunes arranged for no less than seven clarinets. And while that may sound like a jazz nightmare, Lepage's quirky compositions and the fine rhythm section playing of Normand Guibeault, Pierre Tanguay and Rene Lussier make for a moody and interesting album that paints a vivid tapestry of Russell's eccentric character. The songs are densely orchestrated often using CONTINUED PAGE 76 A PRIL 1 - M AY 7 2006

y Phil Ehrensaft Gournv's CoAT OF MANY COLOURS: From Chassidic Chamber Music to an Afro/Latino/Jewish Passion Osvaldo Golijov: La Pasion segun San Marcos Luciana Souza; Samia Ibrahim; Reynaldo Gonzalez Fernandez; Orquest La Pasion; Schola Cantorum de Caracas; Cantoria Alberto Gau; Maria Guinand Hlinssler Classic 98.404 Here's the New Music dream: instead of premiers being one-offs that satisfy mission statements to episodically support living composers, repeat performances fill major concert halls. Leading ensembles and soloists commission follow-up endeavours. Parallel to the first half of the twentieth century, New Music fascinates innovators in the literary and visual arts. This dream is coming true for Osvaldo Golijov 's La Pasion and subsequent works, culminating in the Lincoln Center's recent Golijov festival. But how come a nice Jewish boy from Argentina is writing a Pasion segun San Marco to commemorate the last days of Christ between Passover and the crucifixion? Golijov has created, to my knowledge, the only Passion that ends with a Kaddish. Well, why not? Passions are a major expressive form in Western art music. The International Bachakadamie Stuttgart commissioned four composers to write Passions in celebration of both the new millennium and the 250th anniversary of Bach's death. Sofia Gubaidulina, Tan Dun, and Wolfgang Rihm were the other three invitees. Heady company indeed for a young composer barely known a decade earlier. Golijov stands at the intersection of three cultures: first, the Jewish liturgical and Yiddish music from his Eastern European immigrant parents. Not only the melodies and modes, but also musical meta-structures: a seeming anarchy of praying voices going in all directions turns highly coordinated on short order. These meta-structures permeate Dreams and Prayers , an important recording of early efforts by Golijov J Osvaldo Golijov - The Dreams and Prayers of Issac the Blind Kronos Quartet; David Krakauer, clarinets Nonesuch 79444-2 and the virtuosic Krakauer to move forward with Yiddish music, not encapsulate it in neo-romanticism. This 1997 disc was also a signal from the Kronos Quartet that an important new voice had arrived. Second, Golijov's mother was an accomplished classical pianist: As a toddler, Golijov stationed himself under her piano, fell in love with Bach and, later, Bach's ingenious organization of multiple melodic lines. These interests were deepened by three rigorous years at the Jerusalem Academy of Music, and then studies in the U.S. with George Crumb. Third, Golijov has a true Argentine love for the tango, and parallel passions for Afro-Brazilian and Afro-Cuban music. His admiration for the Beatles is one part of a populist stance towards vernacular music. For somebody who grew up under Argentina's military dictatorship, it was a natural move to reset the downtrodden Jewish population of ancient Judea as downtrodden Latinos. Plus the people he sees in Jerusalem look a lot more like Latinos than do West European paintings of early Christians. So yes La Pasion has powerful Latin jazz brass, rumbas, and the like. The Yorubainfluenced drumming certainly makes us want to get up and dance. But when Golijov wrote these parts, I bet he asked himself what Bach would have done. Golijov also recognizes that he can go only so far in using popular singers to express his musical ideas. He turns increasingly to divas like Dawn Upshaw. It's going to be a real interesting ride. Phil Ehrensaft BAGH rJ.Ml£S EHJIES LUC 8-l~USUOUR APRIL 1 - M AY 7 2006 WWW. TH EWHOLENOTE.COM 75

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