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Volume 12 - Issue 5 - February 2007

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  • February
  • Toronto
  • Jazz
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screechy Edith Bunker -

screechy Edith Bunker - at least onthe recording. A live performancemight be different. .. )The few ballads are delivered withheartfelt conviction: Where or Whenwith the deft touch of Fred Herschon piano and The Heather on the Hillfeaturing no less than guitarist TedQuinlan and trumpeter Chase Sanborn.A Bambrick disc would not becomplete without a nod to her Newfoundlandroots, this time in theform of the haunting folk balladShe 's Like a Swallow.The core band is David Braid beinghis usual brilliant self on piano, alongwith co-producer Michael McLennanon bass and Anthony Michellion drums, so we are treated to somefine interpretations. The standout forme is the track that leads off the disc- with shades of Vince Guaraldi- OhWhat a Beautiful Morning.Things seem to be going great forBambrick and it's reflected in thispositive, upbeat disc.Cathy RichesHereErnesto Cervini Quartetindependent n/aProdigiously talented multi-instrumentalist,Ernesto Cervini has writtenand arranged all of the materialon this exceptional debut CD, recordedin June of last year. He hasalso produced the project and surroundedhimself with exquisitelyskilled players. The result is a symbioticmusical landscape that purposefullyfeatures each talentedmember of the quartet, which includesMike Murley on soprano andtenor saxophones, Jon Maharaj onbass and the luminous Adrean Farrugiaon piano. Cervini - who shineson the drums - is a composer of profoundcomplexity and emotion. Hisgenerosity of spirit is evidentthroughout the CD, and the extraordinarymusical communicationamong the quartet is clearly a caseof kismetic inevitability.Lyricism and complex post-bopsensibilities are apparent throughout"Here". One highlight is Cramps,which includes intricately constructedsolos by Ferrugia and Maharaj.The tune has a visceral melancholy,and yet also moves the quartet intoareas of unbounded energy. Anotherstand out is Six Seven, which featuresMike Murley in a particularlyeloquent and moving solo. The titletune closes the set, swinging withoptimistic voicings and displaying themore playful aspects of the ensemble,peppered with well-constructedand appropriate percussive statementsby Cervini.Cervini is a Toronto native whocurrently resides in New York Cityand the exhilaration of living in thatgreat metropolis has seeped into hislife and his music as evidenced byhis free flowing emotion and ideas."Here" is certainly one of the mostinteresting jazz recordings of 2007,and Cervini is one of our most intriguingemerging young artists.Lesley Mitchell-ClarkeI Love Being Here With YouDione TaylorMarquis 81363This is the real deal - pure jazz, heartand soul. This young Canadian divais hitting the music world with majorimpact, and if you care about yourjazz collection at all, you won't denyyourself this jewel. Taylor has a deepluscious voice - devoid of the raspinessof a seasoned veteran, yet maturebeyond her tender years. Taylorhails from a musical family andcut her vocal chops in the churchchoir. "I Love Being Here WithYou" covers the gamut of love -from religious to erotic.The band is impeccably tight - withthe incomparable Doug Riley at thehelm on keyboard (also co-producer).One of my favourites is a littleditty called A Sleepin' Bee, whichsprinkles improv solos throughout.It's a new take on an Arden Capotetune. Taylor and Riley re-create Porterand Prince with their own stampof innovative soul. The title track isoriginal Taylor. It's a love duet, joinedby the voice of Denzal Sinclaire -who doesn't quite shine as brightlyas his counterpart. I much prefer theother original tunes: Fantasy and I'llbe There . From toe tapping to chillin',you can hardly go wrong withthis album. Taylor prefaces the linernotes by stating the age-old adage,"The universal language of love ismusic, and this is my gift to theworld." It' s not too late to pick upyour New Year's gift to yourself.Heidi McKenzieFootworkRuss LittleRhythm Tracks RTCD0008The extremely versatile jazz trombonist,Russ Little, struts his stuffon this recording, contributing anumber of his own original tunes -an easy rock title track Footwork,a swinging Nikki 's Grin, a drivingbluesy Six Inch Spike, funky foxyShe - performing with several distinguishedmusicians, includingSlide Hampton.Thanks to the wonders of moderntechnology, the familiar FourBrothers features Little playing allthe parts in the trombone choir withuncanny precision, in close harmony.Together with saxophonist PhilDwyer, Russ Little coaxes such pensivelysweet phrases in Horace Silver'sPeace. Other notable tracksinclude Freddie Hubbard's swingingwaltz Up Jumped Spring and Ellington's ultra cool Things Ain'tWhat They Used To Be. A lightLatin feel makes the tall and tannedBoy Next Door a breezy contrastto the caressed notes and teasedphrases of Midnight Sun.Special mention should be madeof the fabulous rhythm sectionwhose groove makes this entire sessionseamless - Tom Szczesniak (piano), Scott Alexander (bass), andBrian Barlow (drums) who, incidentally,crafted all the arrangements.In Russ Little's hands, the trombonetransforms into a musical magiclamp capable of granting anythingyour heart desires.Frank NakashimaBig M - A Tribute toMalachi FavorsKahil El'Zabar's Ritual TrioDelmark DE 572Bittersweet celebration of veteranChicago bassist Malachi FavorsMaghoustut (1927-2004), who pilotedthe Ritual Trio for 18 years, "BigM" is more than merely reverentialsince it confirms the talents of theremaining band members.Percussionist Kahil El'Zabar, whoalso plays kalimba, flute and vocalizeshere, pays tribute to the bassistwith whom he played for a remarkable38 years - starting when he was16 - with seven compositions, fourof which are named for Favors. Usingthe steady resonation of his regulardrum kit, El'Zabar, gives manypieces a sturdy bottom in convergencewith the blunt tongue stops andrough honking of tenor saxophonistAri Brown. Also an accomplishedpianist, Brown's expressive reed arpeggiossolidify in counterpoint withthe sweeping strings of violinist BillyBang. A Jong-time associate of theRitual three, the fiddler's slinky andsilky multiphonics are most prominenton the title tune, as his metallicsounding,pitch-sliding friction inflatesas El'Zabar's tambourine rattles.The moderato OOF - named forFavors' powerful pizzicato - andMaghoustut highlight both celebrationand invention. On the former jaggedthumb-piano scrapes and ankle bellbeats from the percussionist complementBrown's obbligatos andBang' s spiky spiccato tones, whichare alternately concussive and harmonic.On the latter, hollow loglikepulsations from El'Zabar' searth drum contrapuntally accompanysandpaper-rough triple-stoppingfrom Bang.WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COMFEBR UA RY 1 - M ARC H 7 2007

Contributing guitar-like plucks inthe bass's highest register orchunky string bounces throughout,Yosef Ben Israel proves he's equalto the unenviable task of takingFavors' place.Ken WaxmanIndependentConcert Note: Denise Williams(www.denisewilliamssoprano.com) will launch her CD with an afternoonconcert at the Al Green Theatreon February 11.St ofDuo Baars-HennemanStitching-Wig WIG 13Duos are often ideal opportunitiesto extol the virtues ofreal dialogue.There are no other musicians to disturbthe peace and all attention isconcentrated on the musical conversationat hand. Such is the caseon "Stof" (meaning dust or fabricand material in Dutch), wherereedman Ab Baars engages in intertwinedconversation with violaplayer lg Henneman.Baars no longer plays just tenorsax and clarinet. This time aroundhe adds the shakuhachi and noh-kan(a traditional Japanese flute usedmostly in Noh dramas). While theirrespective musical sense is pleasantenough, it's the duo' s camaraderiethat gets top marks.Baars plays singular lines that arestretched for infinity. Whether it's ontenor, clarinet or the Japanese flutes,his sounds linger on for a while. Onthe other hand, Henneman playsthings softly, carefully, with asense of delicacy. Her tonal manoeuvresaround Baars' exhausting,layered blows meander aroundthe listener's ears. These improvisationspossess a sense of calmness.Erase any urgency or senseof utter strength, the duo's strengthlies in their clear lines of communication.While Henneman plays apointy, curved line, Baars respondsin turn with a deep blow on hisclarinet. Most pleasing momentsare the windy sounds of the shakuhachiand the noh-kan.Unique in their ability to surprise,it's a good thing someone has decidedto bring this duo a wider scope ofacclaim. The improvisations are sostrong that at times the two becomea unified body. Dedicated to lg' s sister(a clothing designer who passedaway recently), "Stof' is a strongindication of what can occur whentwo minds meet on common musicalterritory.Tom SekowskiWinterreiseSchlippenbach TrioPsi 06.10Familiarity breeds attempts at newimprovisational patterns - at least inthe case of this fine CD. For with ashared history since 1972, membersof this German/British trio still findvirgin musical territory to explore.It helps that the aggregation iscomprised of some of Free Music'smost accomplished improvisers.London-based tenor saxophonist EvanParker, a master of circular breathing,showcases his technical prowesselsewhere in situations rangingfrom big bands to solo. Berlin-basedpianist Alexander von Schlippenbach's quirky percussive attackconfirms his life-long fascinationwith Thelonious Monk. When notin this trio, German drummer PaulLovens sparks many long-term orad-hoc formations throughout theContinent.A recital encompassing one 46minute track and another of 20,"Winterreise" shows how the trioallows textural and spatial impulsesto percolate among themselves.While the shorter track exposespumping inside-piano vibrations, precisedrum ruffs and flams, plus thereedist's glottal note formation, thelarger aural canvas allows for substantiallysustained as well as masterfulstrokes.Mixing pointillism and hard-edgein a painterly fashion, the trio programbuilds from a muted expositionto a multi-textured crescendo that'sequal parts tensile multiphonics andbasement growls from Parker; metronomicnote clusters from Schlippenbach;and cross-sticking cymbalclacks from Lovens. As surges ofcircular breathing and dramaticMonkish power chords relax intorandom note variations, the widelyspaced patterns become conclusivelylegato, and are finally invigoratedwith a reed-biting coda.Ken WaxmanPOT POURRIWalk Together Children:A Collection of Black and JewishMusicDenise WilliamsToronto vocalist Denise Williamsdemonstrates her artistic versatilityhere on "Walk Together Children" .Initially, the cynic in me dismissedthe combination of "Black and JewishMusic" as being a far-fetched andunlikely juxtaposition. But the carefulchoice of songs, translucent arrangementsand respect for materialmakes "Walk Together Children"a successful musical project.A diverse cross section of spirituals,West Indian folk songs, Yiddishfolk songs, Ladino songs anda selection by Kurt Weill are allrepresented in this 20-track release.Williams is a good singerwith a well-trained voice and awide range. She easily adjusts toboth the technical, stylistic and sentimentalchallenges of her chosenmaterial. She is at her best whenperforming in her mid range in theslower pieces. Her rendition of thespiritual Sometimes I Feel Like aMotherless Child is exquisite.Similarly moving are the Jewishsongs Rozhinkes Mit Mandlenand Du Du. Another highlight is theAfrican Prayer Lullaby AllundeAlluya in which she is joined by SamDonkoh on African Percussion andvocals.Nina Shapilsky (keyboards) andBrahm Goldhamer (piano) providesecure and unobtrusive accompanimentsthroughout. Also featuredis the fine supporting work of guitaristTonian Morgan."Walk Together Children" is anartistically satisfying and reflectiveshowcase of the diverse musicalstrengths of Denise Williams.Tiina KiikNorthern NightRussell Edward WilliamsIndependent BNFOOOl(rustyredding@yahoo.com)Russell Williams has been involvedin the local music community forsome time now, both on the technicalside of things and as a freelanceplayer. He has just releasedan independent CD of solo acousticguitar work entitled "NorthernNight" which could and should advancehis reputation as a notableguitarist in his own right.Williams' phrasing, tone, technique,rhythmic feel , and overalleconomy of playing has the potentialto make top-ranking Canadian guitaristslike Don Ross and Lorne Lofskysay 'Who's that guy?' after hearingeven a portion of the CD.The repertoire on " NorthernNight" is diverse without being 'eclectic'.Covers include God Bless theChild, Whitney Houston's Saving AllMy Love for You, and Moon River.Williams' compositional ability isshowcased on six of the album's tenpieces. Seven Song is a beautifulslow-tempo number in 7/4. It flowseffortlessly without the awkward'Where's One?' feeling of many oddmeterinstrumental compositions.Dites-Moi and White Sand aretwo up-tempo offerings while Mother'sDay has a melodic quality thatis simple and memorable.Most of "Northern Night" iscompletely solo, with a smallnumber of tracks using a singleoverdub. It' s an impressive, flawlessCD of inspired guitar playing.Eli EisenbergFEBRUARY 1 - M ARCH 7 2007WWW. THEWHOLENOTE. COM

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