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Volume 12 - Issue 1 - September 2006

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  • Jazz
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JAZZ ANDIMPROVISEDThe Complete 1957Riverside RecordingsThelonious Monk withJohn ColtraneRiverside RCD2-30027-2SoultraneJohn ColtranePrestige PRCD 30006-2By most standards, John Coltranewas a late developer. A constantsearcher, the tenorman was in hisearly thirties before he made his debutas a leader on a recording, or apersonal impression on the jazzworld, other than as a sideman, mostnotably with Miles Davis. These twoexcellent repackagings find Coltraneabout to break out as an importantand influential jazz artist.As a sideman with Monk, hewas, by virtue of the pianist's uniquemelodies, forced to work on morethan the chordal implications of musicthat had fascinated him. TheseRiverside studio sessions are not theonly documents of Monk/Trane: thelive Blue Note releases of "5 Spot"and "Carnegie Hall" sessions presentthe working quartet. For the mostpart however, these are the completetapings of the production of a septetalbum featuring Trane's early idolColeman Hawkins along with trumpeterRay Copeland and altoist GigiGryce. The two CDs offer multipleversions of most tracks, includingfalse starts and breakdowns, but fansof these great artists will want to hearit all, and you can programme theplayback to hear just the master takes.Prestige Records was an independentNew York jazz label that offeredexposure rather than money, but itwas also more willing to take a chanceon new names, or those under theradar of the Major Labels. JohnColtrane was among them, and madehis first half-dozen leader appearancesfor Prestige.As part of a reissue series basedon the name of the recording engi-64neer Rudy Van Gelder, "Soultrane"finds Coltrane (now back withMiles Davis) with a lovely trio ofRed Garland, Paul Chambers andArt Taylor on a programme of obscurestandards, including I WantTo Talk About You which he indeliblymakes his own. The versionof Russian Lullaby is the performancethat inspired writer Ira Gitterto coin the phrase "sheets ofsound " in describing Coltrane.Parenthetically, the other PrestigeCDs include Miles' great"Watkin'" album, as well as EttaJones' fine "Don't Go To Strangers"breakthrough release, andtenor stylist Eddie 'Lockjaw' Davis'"Cookbook, Vol. l" with organistShirley Scott.Montreal 1964Duke EllingtonVAi 4358Ted O'ReillyWWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COMThis is the second jazz telecast leasedfrom the CBC by Video Artists International.Originally broadcast inApril of 1964, it features the DukeEllington orchestra live in performanceat the Casa Loma Club's LeJazz Hot Room in Montreal. Thefirst V AI/CBC release, which showcasedWoody Herman's ThunderingHerd and is highly recommended,had been a Radio-Canada studio production.The immediacy of a liveperformance this time around is aplus, although the picture quality'ssomewhat grainy owing to the lessthan perfect location lighting . Theband's performance more than makesup for that shortcoming, however.Actually, we get to see (and hear)a bit more than what was originallybroadcast. The opening selection,Boo-dah, is part of a sound checkfrom just prior to air time. The programas aired contains the expectedEllington warhorses but also materialthat was new at the time. Thenewer things include Afro-Bossa,The Banquet Scene from Timon ofAthens, Skilipoop, The ProwlingCat, Happy Reunion, and Blow byBlow. Highlights include an excellentperformance of Afro-Bossa, a"jungle" piece from Ellington's debutReprise album; a delightful interpretationof Perdido with RolfEricson featured on flugelhorn; PaulGonsalves' gorgeous tenor on HappyReunion, and the exquisite playingof Johnny Hodges throughout theprogram. Even the mandatory drumsolo manages to be humorous and notoverbearing. Skilipoop, a Sam Woodyardshowcase, makes one smilerather than grimace . Pricy, but amust for Ellington collectors.Don BrownNorman Granz' Jazz inMontreux - Joe Pass '75Joe PassEagle Eye Media EE 39063-9This latest release in the ongoing seriesof concerts recorded at the MontreuxJazz Festivals during the 1970scontains not one, but two, solo recitalsby Joe Pass, the man known as"the Art Tatum of the guitar". Theconcert filmed the evening of July 17,1975 was the scheduled one. Apparentlythe audience response for thatperformance was so great NormanGranz talked Pass into giving an unscheduledrecital the following afternoon.That one is here as well. Onlyone tune, Montreux Changes, is duplicatedand the second version is considerablydifferent from the first.Pass was truly a virtuoso musicianwho was influenced more byCharlie Parker than he was by otherguitar players. His unsurpassed techniqueand deep harmonic sense allowedhim to play incredibly fast,clean, lines. It's obvious from watchinghim here that Pass was an artistin total command of his instrument.Whether playing a contemplativeballad such as More Than You Knowor a barnburner like Joe 's Blues,Pass is very clearly in charge. Otherhighlights include a thoughtful interpretationof Django Reinhardt's Nuages(that sounds nothing like Reinhardt), and heartfelt readings of WillowWeep for Me and How LongHas This Been Going On.One thing I found puzzling wasthe fact that even in tight close-upsit's impossible to see Pass' guitarpick. I've since learned he had a lifelonghabit of breaking his picks intwo, then using only the smaller part.Don BrownApparitionMark Eisenman QuintetCornerstone CRST CD 129Mark Eisenman's position in Canada'sjazz scene is a solid one as apianist, composer and teacher. As aleader, it's based mostly on the qualitywork of his long-lived trio withbassist Steve Wallace and John Sumneron drums . With the addition ofPat LaBarbera on reeds and JohnMacLeod on trumpet and flugelhorn(and comet too, I think) Eisenman'stalent as arranger is on show in thisnew quintet release. It's a happysounding session, with a deep grooveand musical music.Mark's articulate liner notes explain"The music was composed soas to free the improviser from toomuch thinking" as original melodiessuch as Fathom and Gilt Be All ThyStars are built on standard repertoire(How Deep ls The Ocean and StellaBy Starlight) . Walking down thesefamiliar paths allows the improviserto not worry where his feet need tobe placed, but rather notice newthings along the way.Overall, the tone of "Apparition"is modem boppish, with the EisenmanTrio becoming the EisenmanRhythm Machine for LaBarbera'srelaxed-but-intense tenor, andMacLeod's intelligent brasswork.There are some who will find allthis a bit 'old fashioned' perhaps(there aren't any nods to hip-hop,or eighteen year old singers, for example),but others will rejoice thatthese masters continue to create onthe highest level, and within the traditionof jazz.In addition, the sound is firstrank: clear, clean and representativeof the instruments.Ted O'ReillyThe HangDave DunlopIndependent; .(www TE MBER 1 - O CTOBER 7 2006

Dave Dunlop has played on CDs fora wide range of artists such as HollyCole, Brian Hughes, Eddie Bullen,Hilario Duran, Michael Pickett,Roberto Occhipinti, Domenic Troiano,Manteca and Emilie-ClaireBarlow, but this is his first recordingas leader. It is not "in your face"hard driving music, but rather an"ease back and listen" session withmostly an eighth-note feel deliveredby drummer Mark Kelso. This is notto suggest any lack of energy in themusic, which consists mostly of originalsby Dave Dunlop, one ofToronto' s superior trumpeters, and JimMcGrath who plays keyboard on therecording. The two non-originals, ICan't help It and Alfie feature specialguest Doug Riley.The remainder of the band is madeup of some of Toronto's top sessionplayers. That's another way of sayingthat the standard of playing isvery high! On guitar, Jim Tait, SteveD'Angelo, David Baxter and FredBlumas play musical chairs, PatKilbride adds his bass to four of thenumbers and on a couple of compositionssaxophonist John Johnson,always a welcome presence, addshis considerable talents.Jim Gallowaying: Horacio "el Negro " Hernandezplays drums and the legendaryPaquito D'Rivera tears it up on altosax and clarinet.Given that the number of venueswhere a band of this size can playtogether are few and far between, Isuspect most of these musicians havenot spent a lot of time playing as anensemble. It shows, at times , especiallyin the trumpet section, but theupside is that the lack of blend adds arawness and immediacy to thetracks, which makes it feel almostlike a live performance. This is good,because I can't imagine we'll havethe pleasure of seeing this band in theflesh too often. So don't wait for theperformances. Get the disc.Cathy RichesFrom the HeartHilario Duran and hisLatin Jazz Big BandAlma Records ACD66062Toronto's Alma Records continuesto provide a home to top-notch noncommercialartists and to give usquality recordings, as witnessed bythe release of this big band disc. Andthis is the real deal: no synthesizersor salsa, just genuine jazz, Afro­Caribbean rhythms, and fine playingfrom the cast of dozens .Ex-pat Cuban Hilario Duran isfresh off a Juno win for last year's"New Danzon" and brings us "Fromthe Heart" which is a huge record,rich with complex harmonies andrhythmic colours. Duran plays piano,arranged all of the tunes and wrotemost of them, too, so this is not only"from his heart" but his fervent mindand fiery hands, too.With a 22-piece band it is, unfortunately,too space-consuming to listall the superb players. However,the special guests need highlight-S EPTEMB ER 1 - O CTOBER 7 2006Ellen's BarAntoine Berthiaume;Michel Donato; Pierre Tanguayambiences magnetiquesAM 152 CDMichel Donato Et Ses AmisEuro peensMichel Donato; Francois Theberge;Piotr Wojtasik; MichaelFelberbaum; Karl JannuskaEfendi FNDOSOForty years after he arrived on thescene, Michel Donato is still Montreal'sfirst-call jazz bassist. TheseCDs demonstrate why Donato, 64,who has backed everyone fromchansonier Gilles Vigneault to pianistOscar Peterson, is in such demand.Working with two sets ofyounger musicians, he 's a powerfulyet sympathetic time-keeper,pushing the tunes along withoutcalling attention to himself.On "Ellen's Bar", for instance, headds his rock-solid rhythm to 11 originalsotherwise featuring two playersbetter-known for their commitmentto musique actuelle: guitaristAntoine Berthiaume and drummerPierre Tanguay. A slight misnomer,"Et Ses Amis Europeans" featurestwo continentals - trumpeter PiotrWojtasik and guitarist Michael Felberbaum,both Polish - plus twoINTRODUCING:Bremen Acoustic Guitars - Solid spruce tops, withunmatched tone and quality. Prices ranging from9 - 9 (available in fractional sizes)WWW.THEWHOLENOTE . COM 65

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