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Volume 11 Issue 9 - June 2006

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Back to Ad Index Saxophone Colossus Sonny Rollins; Tommy Flanagan; Doug Watkins; Max Roach Prestige PRCD-8105-2 Kenny Burrell & John Coltrane John Coltrane; Kenny Burrell; Tommy Flanagan; Paul Chambers; Jim my Cobb Prestige-PRCD-8107-2 The studio of Rudy Van Gelder in Hackensack, New Jersey was the scene of these and many other great recording sessions. Some of you wil l no doubt have at least one of these album s on LP, but they make welcome re-issues. There are no additional tracks, although it's hard to imagine that none exist, so running time is a bit short compared to most CDs- but just think in terms of quality, not quantity! Co leman Hawkins was perhaps the most influential saxophone player in jazz. He had a career spanning four decades and played with such sty listically different musicians as Red McKenzie and Thelonious Monk. This re-issue from late in his career is a relaxed set of standards including I' ll Never Be The Same, When Day Is Done, Under A Blanket Of Blue, More Than You Know, Moonglow, Just A Gigolo and Speak Low. Hawkins' horizontal approach to improvising seems effortless and with the help of a truly sympathetic rhythm section gives this set of superior songs an elegant treatment. Great late-night listening! 48 The career of Gene Ammons was a stormy one and profoundly affected, and often interrupted, by a dependence on drugs, but nothing can take away from his tremendous talent. On this outing the tempos, except for Confirmation, are an acknowledgement of Parker 's influence - laid-back - and include as lovely a statement of My Romance as I have ever heard. Hittin' The Jug, Close Your Eyes, Canadian Sunset, Blue Ammons and Stomp in ' At The Savoy make up the rest of the programme. One caveat - the heavy reverb intruded on my enjoyment of the music, but that is perhaps a personal thing, which, of course, makes it valid! "Saxophone Colossus" is one of the great jazz albums of the '50s and this re-release will be welcomed by a host of fans who have worn out the original vinyl! It contains St. Thomas, which was to become a Sonny Rollins trademark number, You Don't Know What Love Is, Mori tat, (better known as Mack the Knife) and two more Rollins originals, Strode Rode and Blue 7. If I have to choose one track it is probably the last named, which comes as close to being perfect as one would want to be. The John Coltrane session features two standards, I Never Knew and a beautiful duet interpretation with Kenny Burrell of Why Was I Born? Pianist Tommy Flanagan contributes two originals - FreightTrane and Big Paul - wh ile Burrell, whose date it was, pitches in with Lyresto. This is relatively early Coltrane, but the greatness is already there along with the promise of what was to come. A word about Tommy Flanagan, who is on three of these four CDs. He was the consummate pianist who added imm easurably to any session he played on. Jim Galloway Remnants Ken Aldcroft; Evan Shaw; Joe Sorbara Oval Window Records OWR002 Angles Glen Hall; Trio Muo Tarsier Records ACD-0501 Percussionist Joe Sorbara has been making waves around Toronto for the last little while but I'd only opened up my ears recently. These two releases help matters out in helping to discover this emerging talent. WWW.THEWHOLENOTE.COM /\i'-IGIJS Along with curating The Leftover Daylight Series with Ken Aldcroft and Nick Fraser, and being heavily involved in Association of Improvising Musicians Toronto, Joe Sorbara is also busy in recording his musical progress down to tape. His latest issue "Remnants" features a trio in which he's joined by guitarist KenAldcroft and saxophonist Evan Shaw. Improvisation is obviously at the heart of this recording. From the get go, al I three musicians attack the meat on the bone, hungry to chew large chunks at a time. Shaw has some of his best moments when he gets to have face-to-face conversations with Sorbara. His jagged alto attacks are a perfect fit to Sorbara's cymbal-heavy shimmers. In fact, Sorbara explores just about every facet of his percussion set. Al I is done with intricate care and a ton of forethought. At certain points, Sorbara's subtle approach reminds me of another outstanding Toronto percussionist [turned laptop artist] Tomasz Krakowiak. Aldcroft is all over the map. From the shronkiest of guitar feasts on Remnants II , to Bill Frisell-like passages on You Make Me Feel Queasy and Odd. This is an album that is ultimately a welcome sign from local musicians, one full of jagged energy and improvisational mastery. More of the same brave sounds would be most welcome, thank you. Originating in the Greek word muo - I cover the eyes and mouth - Glen Hall 's latest ensemb le Trio Muo is an interesting epiphany of sorts. Ifwe take muo to mean looking into oneself for musical inspirations, then in this case the trio 's leader has succeeded in pulling off a major feat. "Angles" is not an easy album , but who expects this sort of rampant dialogue to be easy to swal low. Bassist Michael Morse along with percussionist Joe Sorbara joins Hall on this sonic excursion. Being at the helm of the ship gives Hall major responsibilities. He has to find a way to ground his cohorts. His reed playing is fairly exuberant - whether he utilizes the sax or the flute [which is only used on one number]. Colouring the pieces in every imaginable way - tonal varieties and quick stop-and-go movements - Hal I succeeds in offering a wide variety of playing throughout the album. With his wide palette of percussive tools [bells, maracas, etc.] Sorbara's unique approach acts as the bridge between impressive ly skip-like bass work from Morse and Hall's angular blows. A personal highlight is Big Ears (for Paul Haines), a subtle, poignant and underplayed piece dedicated to the highly underrated Canadian poet. "Angles" turns out to be an impressive album, full of daring work from all three musicians. Tom Sekowski Futeristische historie David Kweksilber; Winnyfred Beldman; Guus Janssen ToonDist Data 052 ( Released on Dick Lucas ' Data Records, "Futeristische Historie" is a trio album that will delight as much as it wi ll puzzle the listener. The puzzling bit of the CD is its unusual choice of instrumentation from the trio that plays here. David Kweksilber plays bass clarinet, Winnyfred Beldman plays the violoncello, while Guus Janssen plays a pipe organ. Is this simply a Dutch chamber trio, you ask? Far from it. The group sharpens their claws with wit and delicacy as they dig into material that is as haunting as it is ominous. Though each piece has a writing credit pointing to particular member of the trio, the sound and feel of the music is overflow ing with improvisational values. There is heavy interplay between al l members. Rousing solos seem to pop in and out of the radar. Most of al l, there is this sense of give-and-take that is pervasive from beginning to end. Janssen 's heavy organ vibe makes this feel like something that can almost be referred to as church improvisations. The sound is just that dire and overbearing at ] UNE 1 - JULY 7 2006

times. Be Id man's superfluous cello and Kweksilber's down-right warm bass clarinet add nicely balanced textures to the overall picture. Their take on Ellington's Solitude is awkwardly cautious, while on Passage Janssen's sustained squealing notes remind me of Sun Ra's shining moments on the Moog in "My Brother The Wind, Vol. 2". A magnificent journey into rarely chartered territories, this is music that lingers long after the music has finished. Tom Sekowksi Voodoo Terez Montcalm Marquis 77471 81345 2 3 Montreal guitarist, composer and vocalist Terez Montcalm brings an eclectic sensibility to her recent Marquis release, "Voodoo". Montcalm and Producer/guitarist/composer Michel Cusson serve up a heady mixture of jazz standards, original compositions and pop/rock mega-hits. This well-produced and well-conceived recording features a line-up of exceptional musicians including guitarists Louis Cote and Carl Naud, pianist Stephane Montanaro and the innovative and versatile trumpeter, Aron Doyle. This recording is not about pretty vocals. Montcalm's wide vibrato oscillates outward in concentric circles, while her earthy interpretations surround every tune with a warmth and irony that only comes from life experience, a broken heart, or both. Stand-outs include the slow blues, Be Anything by Irving Gordon, from Danny Boyle's indie-cult film, " A Life Less Ordinary" and the original Paree que ya Toi. Montcalm's composition has a fresh, melodic originality and the most pleasing vocal sound on the CD. "Voodoo" blurs the lines between musical genres ~ and no doubt there wi ll be jazz purists aplenty who will be appalled by the "face-I ifts" that have been given to some of the old warhorses. However, the "reworked" compositions retain their original impact, and in some cases bring something new to the table, such as on the I 950's pop classic " L.O.V.E." and the clever, bop-in- ] UNE 1 - ] UL Y7 2006 Back to Ad Index fused version of The Eurythmics' " Sweet Dreams". Here Montcalm accomplishes the almost impossible task of separating the song from the strong visual images of the produced "Video" . In that sense, and on the majority of this intriguing record, she has done what every musician (jazz or otherwise) dreams of doing: made her own distinctive and recognizable musical statement. Lesley Mitchell-Clarke POT POURRI All the Way Etta James RCA Victor 8 2876 76841-2 The three-time Grammy winning, R&B better Etta James, has released her gazillionth CD, All the Way. She says she recorded this CD to cover off a number of songs she has loved over the years and "wished she'd been the one to do first." So this recording is a brew of blues, soul and pop from a few eras, some of which work well, others, not so much. James Brown's ft's a Man's Man's Man's World, Prince's Purple Rain and Johnny " Guitar" Watson's Strung Out are right up her alley. John Lennon's fmagine and Bernstein/Sondheim's Somewhere fall into the " not so much" category as Ms. James' heavy-handedness drags these songs down. Like a lot of singers as they age, Ms James' voice has dropped as it has matured. So if the last time you heard her sing was on her massive hit from the sixties, At Last, you may be in for a bit of a shock, as her voice has drifted toward baritone territory. But the ol ' girl has still got it, and she makes the most of her warm, powerful voice. The Ii ner notes written by Lythofayne Pridgeon are a combination of baffling and amusing, and the "Thank You 's" epitomize the commercial American music scene as Ms. James thanks everyone from " my heavenly father" to her hairdresser. Go see this veteran performer when she's here for the Toronto Downtown Jazz Festival on June 27th. It is sure to be an entertaining show and her hair wi ll no doubt look great too. Cathy Riches Mango George Grosman & Swing Noir Independent ( cd/grosman2) This is guitarist and singer, George Grosman 's, fourth CD, and given how long he has been on the scene, I have been woefully unaware of his talents. I suppose some of my ignorance can be explained by the fact that "the scene" for Grosman involves some gigs in Toronto jazz rooms, but also a healthy dose of touring in the US and Europe (he had a #5 hit in Iceland in 1993 ') and performing for his native Czech community. Grosman and company (Pete Nadina Mackie Jackson & Mathieu Lussier, solo bassoons with Musica Franca Fraser Jackson, contra bassoon l{athleen Mclean, bassoon Sylvain Bergeron, thoo,bo Terry Mcl{enna, baroque guitar Paul Jenkins, harpsichord l:torgan Richard Pare, harpsichord1:tor9an Johnston, bass, Bohdan Turak, percussion, Brandon Walker saxes, and Ian MacGillvray, trumpet) lean toward a "gypsy jazz" genre but, that said, there is a real mix of styles on this disc. He sings bat lads, but you couldn't call him a crooner, due to the appealing gruffness of his voice, especially in the low register. (Dr. John came to mind on a few of the tracks.) The voice alternates between the aforementioned Dr. Johnlike sound and a sweet, breathiness in the upper register, but can also get a bit wobbly in parts. Grosman brings inventiveness to many of the covers and his guitar playing is solid and subtle but takes a backseat to the singing on most of the tunes. Van Morrison's Moondance gets a slowed-down, moody treatment, and if having Cole Porter's Love for Sale being sung by a man isn't interesting enough for you, the band also gives it an Afro-Caribbean treatment. We take a little venture into voodoo blues territory with the J.J. Cale tune Sensitive Kind, and then to Paris with the famous Django Reinhardt/Stephane Grappelli tune Minor Swing, which stays true to form. Four catchy originals round out this mellow disc. Cathy Riches ·nie ~g, i"lusic or 1lid1tl Correnr &Jisepl1 I\O(li11 tie lloisrnortin ..:.::J Available from MSR Classics, & WWW. TH EWHOLENOTE.COM 49

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