5 years ago

Volume 12 - Issue 2 - October 2006

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  • Toronto
  • October
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etween 1955 and 1985

etween 1955 and 1985 when herecorded an album which led to hisbeing " rediscovered". The 1998stroke was another temporary setback,but today he sounds as goodas ever.There is a bittersweet quality tohis playing and a distillation of hismusic, making effective use ofspace between the lines. The tonalquality of sound at times made methink of Paul Desmond. This is notexuberant jazz, but it is deeply intenseand personal. His version ofLove Story, for example, is a sad/beautiful moving statement from aman who has experienced the highsand lows of life. The lovely AlecWilder composition, I'll Be Around,Crazy He Calls Me and Out OfNowhere are the other popularstandards on the album along withMonk's Mood, Blue Monk and MilesDavis' Watkin' and Solar.Mr. Morgan is one of the livingmasters of bebop and ballads and Ihighly recommend this CD.Jim GallowayIt's All in the GameEric Alexander w/Harold Mabern; Nat Reeves;Joe FarnsworthHighNote Records HCD 7148"I'm trying to have the whole hornsing clearly and relatively evenly,"says tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander.He goes on to cite Dexter Gordon,John Coltrane and GeorgeColeman as his role models. But Ialso hear a bit of the young SonnyRollins in his playing, particularly inhis visceral interpretation of Whereor When. And the Rollins influenceextends even further. Like Rollins,Alexander has a penchant for offbeatmaterial, seeking out songs seldomheard in a jazz context. The titletune and Bye Bye Baby are primeexamples. There's also Where is theLove, Donny Hathaway and RobertaFlack's 1972 hit.Alexander 's quartet has hisformer teacher, Harold Mabern, atthe piano, Nat Reeves on bass, andJoe Farnsworth, drums. This is theseventh time the young saxophonisthas used his long-time mentor on arecording date and, as usual , it paysoff. The 70 year old brings with hima lifetime of experience and reallykeeps the leader on his toes. Nat72Back to Ad IndexReeves, who honed his skills withJackie McLean and Kenny Garrett,1s a fine timekeeper with a lovelysound. Joe Farnsworth 's credits includetime spent with George Coleman.and Cedar Walton. His playing1s cnsp and authoritative.The treatment of the title tune isworth the price of the disc. It's Mabern'sarrangement, and both he andthe leader play their hearts out. Anotherhighlight is Thelonious Monk'sRuby My Dear played in 3/4 time.Don BrownOf Recent TimeReuben Hoch and Time (DonFriedman; Ed Schuller)Nairn naimcd088You ' d expect a drummer-led jazztrio to reference "time", and this CDis proof of it. I'd not heard of ReubenHoch before this releaseshowed up, but he's a first-rate musician,showing the good taste to sharewith Don Friedman (one of my choicesas a woefully under-recognizedgreat pianist) and solid bassist EdSchuller (born to music as the son ofcomposer/teacher Gunther Schuller).Piano-bass-drums make an essentialjazz group, and this releaseis as much about 'the trio' as themusic itself, and Hoch and partnersextend the interactions of melodyharmony-timeas they' ve developedto this point.Hoch has chosen some less-oftenplayed compositions by real jazzcomposers to work with, includingSam Rivers (the opening Beatrice),Ornette Coleman (the blues Turnaround)and Wayne Shorter. Shorter'sYes Or No (not Yes AND Noas it's written here) was on "Juju",a 1964 album featuring Elvin Jones,a strong influence on Hoch.Other composers included areReuben Hoch himself, with thelovely Ballad For Nori; Pat Methenywith the waltz Question AndAnswer; pianists Brad Mehldau, SteveKuhn and Don Friedman whoseFlamands runs next-to-closing here.I was struck with the naturalsound here, attributing it to the atmosphereof the small Floridachurch where it was recorded, butthe notes reveal the role of the engineer,who did it all with 2 wellplacedmicrophones. So, all involvedWWW . THEWHOLENOTE . COMhere use the knowledge of the pastto go forward.Ted O'Reilly=-1LI. ~ IBecause of You - Freddy Colesings Tony BennettFreddy ColeHighNote Records HCD 7156It's impossible to discuss superb vocalistFreddy Cole without mentioninghis legendary late brother, NatKing Cole . .. However, where Natremains an icon frozen in time, untouchedordiminishedby life's foibles,brother Freddy has developed an individual,moving, mature and directstyle, laden with emotion and temperedby a lifetime of human experience.On his recent HighNote offering,"Because of You - Freddy ColeSings Tony Bennett", the artist is partneredonce again with his long-timeproducer, Todd Barkan.Barkan and Cole have exquisitetaste in material, and have fashioneda gorgeous tribute to Astoria,Queens-born Tony Bennett (dig thegreat cover shots of the Ditmarssubway station). The CD incorporateswell-known Bennett-esquetunes, as well as some lesser-troddencompositions also recorded byBennett, such as The Gentle Rainby Luis Bonfa, Nuages (re-namedAll For You , with a fresh lyric byBennett himself) and Louis Armstrong'sIf We Never Meet Again.Pianist John DiMartino has createdsumptuous and compelling arrangementsfor the entire project,utilizing the considerable skills ofveteran tenorist, Houston Person(particularly on the plaintive andmoving Blame it On My Youth) , stalwartsPeter Washington on bass andKenny Washington on drums (2/3of Bill Charlap's noteworthy trio)and the tasteful and appropriatepercussionist, Steve Kroon.This CD is a standout, and shouldbe a primer for any developing vocalist.In addition, "Because of You"is also a fitting and loving tribute toperhaps the most seminal and recognizablevocalist in Westernculture, Tony Bennett (a.k.a. AnthonyDominick Benedetto).Lesley Mitchell-ClarkeThe Long ViewTom van Seters; Don Thompson;Fraser Hollins; Karl JannuskaIndependent VSM002Pianist Tom Van Seters is a Montrealernow resident in Manitobalecturing in the jazz studies pro~gramme at Brandon University. Hiseastern connections are on displayin his new self-released CD as hecalls on Toronto's Don Thompsonto play vibraphone, and MontrealersFraser Hollins and Karl Jannuskafor the bass and drum work.The packaging of the CD is veryEuropean, ECM-stark in style.Everything you' ve read so far isnot included on the pale green andgray panels of the insert, other thanthe personnel. It's glossy and slicklooking, but uninvol ving. Fortunately,the music isn' t.All eight tracks are by Van Setersand while not especially memorablemelodically - I can' t imaginetoo.many tracks invite lyrics - theydo invite repeated listening, a tributeto their harmonics and structure.This is sophisticated, contemporaryJazz of a post-Bill Evans nature, butthe pianist shows his knowledge ofWynton Kelly-type players, too.Don Thompson is one of Canada'sgreatest jazz artists, as bassist,pianist, teacher or composer,but I think he most enjoys playingvibes, and it shows on this release.He 's bright and light on DopplerShift, groovy on the humourousBlues For Andre and reflective onSeclusion, a duet with Van Seters.Tom Van Seters himself is a calmpresence, in control of things butsharing space with his compatriots."The Long View" is not an egodrivenvehicle. Bassist Fraser Hollinsis a bit under-recorded perhaps,but his strong underpinning pairswell with the tasty drumming ofKarl Jannuska (who now is basedin Europe, I believe).This.independent production maybe a bit hard to find in shops, so goto foravailability.Ted O'ReillyLook UpShelly BergerIndependent BR95003The back cover of Shelly Berger'slatest CD, "Look Up" shows hisname modestly at the bottom of alist of thirteen colleagues that heO CTOBER 1 - N OVEMBER 7 2006

.,,.employed on this, his first recordingas a leader in over ten years.Berger keeps his hands full withbass, composition and productionduties, and is assisted by an impressivelist of veteran musicians includingHugh Marsh on violin, Ernie Tol­Iar and Mike Murley on saxophones,and Ted Warren on drums."Look Up" is many things, but onething it's not is cliched. It's withoutII-V-I progressions, walking basslines, driving ride-cymbal patterns,or predictable arrangements. ShellyBerger's compositions are lucid andcomplex with sophistication andoriginality that preclude any simplemoniker or generic label.From the 9/8 intro of the firsttrack, Mosque Morocco, to thepseudo-funk of Moses, to the dissonanceof Diabetes, to the hauntingGuardian Angel, Shelly Bergerproves to be a composer of tremendousversatility and integrity. Melodicthemes are repeated and developed,but not to the point where theyresonate hours after the CD is finished.The strong, yet subtle globalinfluence is accentuated by the percussionand occasional vocals ofWaleedAbdulhamid, especially onA Prayer For Africa, the disc'seighth track.Careful listening is definitely requiredthroughout, and maybe a few fol lowupsessions for good measure.Eli Eisenbergt,',t !· -"{;I ).)i·. ;- ,". p:.1 .\ j-.A Fine BalanceMichael Bates' Outside SourcesBetween the Lines 7114814Prime believer in the DIY-ethos,New York-based (since 2002), BritishColumbia-born bassist MichaelBates composed I 0 memorablethemes for himself and three fellowCanucks for this debut CD. Singlyand together they confirm that Bateshas a mature control of various idioms,whether the influences comefrom mainstream jazz, advancedfree improvisation or Prokofie v. Adeconstruction of that Russian composer'sCello Sonata in C major featuresBates' clean arco work; brassyfills from trumpeter Kevin Turcotte;a quasi-martial beat from drummerMark Timmermans; and harsh, contrapuntaloverblowing from tenorsaxophonist Quinsin Nachoff.Elsewhere the saxophonist's stutteringsplit tones and wind tunnel­Iike slurred notes make perfect harmonicsense playing off against thetrumpeter's brassy rubato style.Together they enhance Bates' oftenslinky and layered themes. Aswell as funky stop-time showcases,the bassist - who lopes pizzicatolines as craftily as he modulatesarco fills - also creates pastoralinterludes, personified by Nachoff'slyrical, clarinet. Some tunesreflect both strands.Episodic and showcasing differenttempos and intensity, Coppertonefor instance, moves from floridflourishes advanced by Turcotte tochromatic honking and flattementfrom the saxophonist. Including a fleetingThelonious Monk quote, the penultimatesection gives the drummerspace to trade fours with the others.By the time the almost nineminute-trackends, it confirms thebassist's fine balance and ability tocreate multi-thematic compositions.The listener can only lament that Batesis another example of Canadian braindrain - improvised music division.Ken WaxmanThe Great DivideKen Aldcroft's ConvergenceEnsembleTrio Records and Productionstrp-007Those readers familiar with Soundlist( and the Associationof Improvising MusiciansToronto( willreadily recognize guitarist Ken Aldcroft.He is a tireless performer andpromoter of improvised music on theToronto circuit. His prolific outputhas achieved a great deal in increasingthe acceptance of this sometimesmisunderstoodgenre of music.The release of Ken Aldcroft'sConvergence Ensemble disc "TheGreat Divide" is a welcome addition.Besides Aldcroft, the other play-.J~ ~I0II ~~ i ~,,'

Volume 26 (2020- )

Volume 26 Issue 1 - September 2020
Volume 26 Issue 2 - October 2020
Volume 26 Issue 3 - November 2020
Volume 26 Issue 4 - December 2020 / January 2021

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Volume 25 Issue 9 - July / August 2020
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