7 years ago

Volume 12 - Issue 4 - December 2006

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  • Toronto
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hand-in-glove with

hand-in-glove with Davern in a programmade up, in the main, of whatLouis Armstrong used to call "goodold good ones".Blessed with technique, Davernnever allows it to get in the way ofinspiration. With his lovely roundedtone, which is especially woody inthe lower register, he breathes newlife into material we' ve heard hundredsof times before. Pianist DavidBoeddinghaus' style could best bedescribed as barrelhouse, but he'sobviously listened closely to modernplayers as well. His playing, whichis full of surp1ising twists and turns,certainly keeps the leader on histoes. The trio's drummer, TrevorRichards, plays in the classic NewOrleans style picked up from hismentor, the great Zutty Singleton.He provides the perfect rhythmicpulse for this splendid trio.Highlights include Sugar, onwhich we hear Davern's stylisticbow to one of his original influences,Pee Wee Russell, and DBR Rag, abluesy original that sports some downand dirty playing from the leader.Don BrownZhen - David Braid Sextet LiveVolume IIDavid Braid SextetIndependent DB20060906This is pianist David Braid's thirdSextet CD, and like the previousone, is a performance recording atthe late Toronto jazz room Top O'The Senator, though from a differentengagement of this all-star band.Six of the seven selections areBraid originals (the closer is Coltrane'sGiant Steps) which showthe range of his interests, from bluesto melancholic ballads to world music.And it should be noted that themusic works as well as it does becauseof the very effective Braidarrangements.Bassist Steve Wallace opens thedisc with a lengthy intro to Fishersof Men, a funky Blue Note-like hardbop blues. Mike Murley's tenor isfeatured on the atmospheric LydianSky, followed by John McLeod'sflugelhom on Temptress, a compositioninspired by the music of Fred-80die Stone, the Toronto musician honouredby the pianist on an earlier CD"Set In Stone" with George Kollerand Lome Nehring.Trombonist Gene Smith getsupfront room on the jocular Danceof the Zinfandels and the soberSpanish-influenced Andalusia SaiKung reflects the spirit, rather thanthe sound, of Hong Kong in whichfinally , finally, the modest Braid himselfis heard as the upfront soloist,pushed along by the always-creativeand supportive Terry Clarke ondrums.Murley, on soprano sax, andBraid get the largest part of a reshapedGiant Steps which focusesmore on the melody of the Coltraneexercise than its harmonics.The continuing development ofDavid Braid's many talents is somethingfor jazz fans to keep an earon. An independent release, availabilityof this CD is guaranteed fromwww O'ReillyWinter WonderlandEmilie Claire BarlowIndependent EMG 442( is very gratifying as a reviewer towitness an artist' s growth. Emilie­Claire Barlow has always been anexcellent singer- one of the best inCanada - but where she is reallycoming into her own is in her arrangingand producing skills. The arrangements,some including st1ings,on all of the ten tracks on "WinterWonderland" have been handledmasterfully by Ms. Barlow. Thesongs are familiar, mbstly upbeat,pop tunes - a few Christmas and therest "winter" tunes that are commonlyheard at Christmas. Jazzyphrasing and variety in the instrumentationmake this a very pleasantlisten.On the title track we are treatedto Reg Schwager on guitar deftlycarrying the harmonic and rhythmicball, and the sparse arrangementshowcases Ms. Barlow's vocalsbeautifully. The other treat on thistrack and on Christmas Time isHere is the interplay between voiceand sax , the latter courtesy of localluminary John Johnson. That ode tomaterialism, Santa Baby gets acute, sex treatment, and Little JackFrost is a fun surp1ise, with its boppy,improvised vocal section in themiddle, accompanied only by KeiranOvers' walking bass line. Thestandout track is I've Got My Loveto Keep Me Warm. The lush, darkst1ing parts contrast strikingly withthe bossa nova base.The rest of the band, NancyWalker on piano, Mark Kelso ondrums and guitarist Rob Pi Itch, provideskilled, sensitive support. Thisholiday disc would be a fine additionto anyone's collection.Cathy Riches!«;,;." )fc~WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COMJournalBridge 61Atavistic ALP172CD;J,_Raucous and other-focused, "Journal" is yet another entry in Chicagosaxophonist Ken Vandermark's everlengthening discography. Largelyconcentrated on low pitches, the instrumentationon this notable 72-minute, eight-track CD is completedby Jason Stein's voluminous bassclarinet timbres, Nate McBride'sresonating acoustic and electric bassfills and Tim Daisy's chunky percussionstrokes.Playing tenor and baritone saxophones,Vanderrnark's most commonstrategy consists of arduoussnorts and vamps - one part glottalR&B honks, the other altissimo FreeJazz shrills. The other players respond,expand or moderate the attack.Thick strums and funky thumbpops from the bassist define thegroove on more rhythmic numbers,while acoustically McBride outputswoody bass slaps. Spectacular in hisdrum displays, Daisy references vigorousbackbeat ruffs and rolls alongwith subtle shuffles, rim shots andkettle drum approximations - doublingor halving the tempo at will.When not gurgling basement splittone runs, Stein often uses pitchslidingtrills for melodic double counterpointwith Vandermark ' s saxophonesor clarinet.Defining composition is Daisy'sepisodic, I I-minute Dark Blue,Bright Red. Putting aside unsubtleI 'pedal-point textures, and playingstraight clarinet Vandermark' s deepsighing breaths and split-tone obbligatosunite for polyphonic episodeswith sawing spiccato strings andpatterned drum thumps. Propelledto a crescendo by the composer'snerve beat stick work and woodblock patterns, the tune eventuallydownshifts into a finale of gentlingreed haimonies.Ken WaxmanPOTPOURRIGo [guitar obsession]Tim Bradyambiences magnetiques AM156 CDGiven its full title, "Guitar Obsession",leading Montreal-based newmusic guitarist and composer TimBrady's new CD covers much ofthe musical ground the electric guitarhas travelled in the past threegenerations. In fact much of thezeitgeist of our popular culture hasbeen saturated with this mighty instrument.In guises as different asserving in a Big Band rhythm section,to Stairway to Heaven, to theAfrican Guitar Summit, this essentiallyquiet acoustic plucked stringinstrument has become through themediation of electronic amplificationa global musical juggernaut."GO" is really two CDs in one.While featuring the virtuoso cuttingedgeguitar playing of Bradythroughout, the first eight tracks areBrady originals, while the balanceof compositions on the album are byothers. Most notable of the other composersperhaps is the French TristanMurai!, known prirna1ily for his"spectral" works. He is representedhere in Brady's ominous, 'heavymetal ' -sounding rendition ofVamp yr! ( 1986), recorded live in aNew York performance.For me the outstanding track isGO. Here, Brady shows himself tobe a musical quick change artist. Inplaces jazzy, bluesy, and jaggedlynew music-y, his guitar and composerchops effortlessly merge in a hap-DECE MBER 1 200 6 - FEBR UA RY 7 2007

py marriage. As a composer, heavoids solo guitar monotony by multi-trackingand thus layering his guitarlines, and varies GO with a richpalette of solo lines, solo with accompanimentand ensemble textures.He pays close attention tostructure, variety of densities, tensionand release, lyrical melodies aswell as bell-like string harmonics.If your personal musical obsessionsinclude the extended electricguitar, then Tim Brady's "GO" cancertainly help scratch that itch.Andrew TimarIon lreedma:33Lori Freedmanambiences MagnetiquesAM 157 CDRecorded over three days, "3"showcases three sets of compositionsinterpreted by three dynamictrios, whose only constant is Montreal-basedbass clarinettist LoriFreedman.Sounding arcing timbres, harshspit tones, rhythmic tongue slaps,rotund chalumeau vibrations andmoist glissandi, Freedman mouldsher impressive technique to reflecteach situation. However, only twoparts of this triple header attain thehighest score. Most memorable areher five interchanges with the offkilterfolksiness of Rene Lussier'sguitar and the pulsating crackles ofMartin Tetreault's turntables; as wellas her chamber group-like interplayon four tracks with Nicolas Caloia'sthumping bass and Danielle PalardyRoger's ever-shifting, understatedpercussion.Sweeping, twangy vibrationsand kazoo-like squeaks from respectively,Rainer Wiens' preparedguitar and Jean Derome's alto saxophoneupset the triangular gameplan though. Too many reed buzzesand trills contrapuntally piled on topof one another relieved only by reverberatingstrums weaken thosefour selections.But two outta three ain't bad,with the remaining threesomes superlative.Roger's rattles and inventionsplus Caloia' s blunt string-stoppingand sawing deftly fuse withFreedman's vibrated flutter tones toresolve compositions from atonallyD ECEMBER 1 2006 - FEBR UARY 7 2007to connective, horizontal interaction.Most protuberant of the triptychmeetings are those with Lussier­Tetreault. With the turntable's shrillwhistles, hissing static and metricalscratches bushing against the guitar'schromatic snaps and rhythmicallycomplex strums, the mood isdefinitely POMO. Utilizing this drollinteraction, the clarinettist regularlyknits the strands together with mellowvibrated pitches which succinctlycomplete the tripartite musicalimpulses.Ken WaxmanRomanian Fantasy - Improvisationson Eastern EuropeanJewish MelodiesMarilyn LernerIndependent ML-001In the Fiddler's HouseItzhak PerlmanEMI 3 68609 9The ever popular and ever evolvingKlezmer music is featured in twoexcellent releases showcasing onCD, the formidable Canadian pianistMarilyn Lerner, and on DVD, afilm first produced in 1995 of violinistltzhak Perlman 's musical journeyworking with a number of Klezmermusicians.Marilyn Lerner is no stranger toCanadian audiences. She is a multifacetedand extremely talented musicianwho draws on vast musicalknowledge and experience to createa unique and moving sound.Lerner has never sounded betterthan she does here in " RomanianFantasy - solo improvisations onEaster European Jewish Melodies".She draws on her classical, jazz andKlezmer sensibilities to create asound all her own.All eleven tracksare based on traditional tunes fromwhich she weaves an aural tapestryof an uncompromising nature.This is her strongest playing yet. Itis extremely difficult to maintain thelistener's attention with a solo performance,even more so when theelement of improvisation is added.But Lerner makes sound all so easy,all so interesting, and all so pleasing,that I JUSt wanted to hear moreand more and more. From the upbeatand energetic Rumshinsky 'sBulgar to the more soulful GasnNign!Street Song, everything is perfect.This is music and a performanceto cherish.Violinist ltzhak Perlman is aclassical musician who I feel can dono wrong. "InThe Fiddler'sHouse" is afilm about hisintroductionto playingKlezmer musicand it is adelight towatch him bechallenged ina form thoughII I J. . •F\ J

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