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Volume 12 - Issue 9 - June 2007

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  • Jazz
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~~~~~~~~~ofnote-lifting from his teacher Rimsky-Korsakov'soperaMlada. (I find it quite inexplicable thatthe pastiche of the liminal ballet Petrushka is nevermentioned in this regard.) Tilson Thomas is excellentat explaining Stravinsky's grotesque, multi-layeredorchestral effects and cubist formal procedures.The theatrical aspects of the score andits scandalous premiere are also well-covered, includingsome marvellous footage of the JaffreyBallet's re-construction ofNijinsky's unprecedentedchoreography. The DVD includes concert performancesof the complete score along with excerptsfrom The Fire bird ballet. Visit the "KeepingScore" interactive web site for much more onthis project and additional DVDs - you are unlikelyto encounter these worthy documentarieson Buffalo's WNED outlet amidst their constantfund-raising, stale Britcoms and excruciating eveningswith Andre Rieu.Daniel FoleyConcert Notes: The Toronto Symphony performsStravinsky's Fireworks on June 6 & 7 andThe Rite of Spring on June 13 & 14. The LuminatoFestival includes dance interpretations ofboth The Rite of Spring and Petroushka in variousperformances June 6 - 9.Stefan Wolpe, Volume 4Robert Aitken; James Avery;Heinz Holliger; Ensemble SurPlusBridge Records 9215Berlin-born composerStefan Wolpe isn 'ta household name formost of us, despitehis significance in thehistory of twentiethcentury music; butthe Stefan WolpeSociety and BridgeRecords are nobly doing their best to remedy thissituation. This fourth CD of his music featuresthree works for oboe and piano, one piece forflute and piano, and a quartet for oboe, cello, pianoand percussion.Written for the celebrated oboist Josef Marxin the late '30s, the sardonic, humourous and expressiveoboe/piano pieces reflect an eclectic varietyof influences: Les Six on one hand, Hindemithand Co. on the other, or so it sounds to me. ThePiece in Two Parts for Flute and Piano, writtenalmost twenty years later, has a more experimentalsensibility and makes use of some extendedtechniques; and the Piece for quartet (1955)sounds positively aleatoric - I did occasionallywonder if a toddler had been let loose amongstthe percussion instruments, so delightfully eccentricare some of the effects.Wolpe 's music isn't an easy listen, but it is alwayscarefully considered and of rich integrity,and receives performances of the highest calibrehere. Heinz Holliger, Robert Aitken and JamesAvery are virtuosos of the highest rank, and theFreiburg-based Ensemble SurPlus plays brilliantlytoo. This musical excellence is matched by theengineering of this recording, and by the comprehensiveprogram notes of Austin Clarkson.Alison Melville58Out of the BlueNexus and Fritz HauserIndependent NEXUS 10814(www.nexuspercussion.com)Having met at Stockholm's1998 InternationalPercussionFestival, Torontobasedpercussion ensembleNexus andSwiss percussionistFritz Hauser fellmadly head overheels with each other'smusic. Six years down the line, Nexus performedin tandem with Fritz Hauser at Nashville'sPercussive Arts Society International Convention."Out of the Blue" captures two pieces from Nashvilleperformance along with one piece put to tapeat University of Toronto's Walter Hall. The albumfeatures three pieces, one solo Nexus, onesolo Hauser and one a true collaboration betweenthe two.The solo Nexus piece is the most march-likeout of all three pieces included here. Striding with astrict, army-like precision, the piece The Army 214features a masterful military parade percussion rollwith a beat that just won't quit. The closing sectionof the piece - "Crazy Army" - touches on sambaterritory and features heavy use of cow bell. FritzHauser's piece is much more subtle. For the firstfew minutes, Hauser is locked in a tight multi-rhythmicpattern on the toms. Then, he spends a gooddeal of time on shimmering cymbals-scrapes, lightfizzles and finally, for the last ten minutes, builds upsteam to release a multi-layered rhythmic orgasm.The centrepiece of the record - 25 minute Outoft he Blue - is a masterful collaboration betweenHauser and Nexus. In the words of Hauser, "Improvisingwith Nexus is like having 10 extra armsand ears and being surrounded by about 150 yearsof musical experience." This is exactly what thetwo factions bring forth. Nexus' disciplined approachbrings about a more serene approach fromHauser, while his hyper-activity forces Nexus toplay with extra vigour. An excellent record allaround, one that should bring new followers forboth factions.Tom SekowskiJAZZ AND IMPROVISEDTwo for the RoadArlene Smith; Mark EisenmanIndependent RDRCD9596(www.arlenesmith.ca)Intimately recordedin the Loach homestudio, this recordingbrings veteran singerArlene Smith andpiano powerhouseMark Eisenman togetherfor a lovelylounge session withsimply voice and pianoaccompaniment. Even without a rhythm section,Eisenman 'splaying is a model of consummatetaste, providing plenty of solid rhythmic andWWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COMharmonic support for Smith's easy-going smoothdelivery.Without the distraction oflarger forces, onecan easily appreciate this duo 's artistry and alsothe beauty of the great representation of songs,both well-known and less-familiar, including numbersby Gershwin (But not for me), Ellington (Donothin' 'ti/ you hear from me), Porter (Down inthe depths on the 90th floor), Kem (Remindme), Mancini (Two for the road), and others.With this particularly well-suited repertoire,Smith croons with a worldly sincerity, especiallyin the ballads, like I can~ get started (written byVernon Duke and Ira Gershwin) and Skylark (acollaboration ofHoagy Carmichael and JohnnyMercer), which exude that warm feeling of beingwritten especially for her. Such a beautiful fit.Having said that, she also demonstrates a gutsysassy side in the bluesy swinging Baby, Baby,don 'cha go 'way mad. This recording is full ofpleasant surprises.Frank NakashimaRio BossaPaul Donat; Mike Murley; Kevin TurcotteIndependent BM 170107(www.pauldonat.com)Like many NorthAmerican musiciansbefore him, bass andguitar player PaulDonat is having alove affair with Brazilianmusic, specifically,bossa nova.This sensual, rhythmicmusic has a way of getting into a person'sblood and staying there, and it first infected NorthAmerica in the early ' 60s, when Stan Getz madea hit out of Jobim's Desafinado. But it's not aone-way street. North American music - jazz andblues - has helped shape bossa nova, too, andwhat we get is the best of both worlds; complexharmonies, Afro-Caribbean rhythms and melodiesideally suited to soft, vibrato-free voices, breathysax and nylon-string guitar.Donat has written al I eight tunes on the discand he is heavily indebted to Jobim and the newermasters of traditional bossa, with whom he playedand studied during his years living in Rio de Janeiro.Donat shares vocal duties with Claire Shaw,the resultant interplay reminiscent of Joao and AstrudGilberto. Mike Murley brings his considerabletenor sax skills to a number of the tunes, mostnotably the high energy Breakfast Samba, whileEvan Shaw turns in an appropriately restrainedalto performance on lpanema Breeze. KevinTurcotte on trumpet and tlugel horn, Gord Sheardon piano and Alan Heatherington andAnil Sharma,who take turns on drums and percussion,round out the band. In all "Rio Bossa" is a fun,jazzy trip to the clubs and beaches of Brazil.Cathy RichesSing In Me MuseMichael McClennanIndependent MM2007CD(www.michaelmcclennan.com)An accomplished bassist and recently named theSOCAN/lAJE Emerging Composer, Calgary na-) UNE 1 -J ULY 7 2007

tive Michael Mc­Clennan has put fortha fine effort with hisdebut CD "Sing in MeMuse". The fine cast,(featuring Tara Davidson,Kelly Jefferson,Pol Cousse, John~------~ Macleod, WilliamCarn, David Braid and Sly Juhas) chums out primarilyoriginal tunes by McClennan, with the inclusionof two "standards"- a quirky take on theLerner and Lowe classic, On the Street WhereYou Live and a languid and sensual interpretationof the rarely performed Jimmy Dorsey ballad, f 'mGlad There is You - both highlights on this dynamic,self-produced recording.Other stand-outs include the joyous Celtic-flavouredtitle track, featuring solid, full-throttle workfrom Kelly Jefferson on tenor and Tara Davidsonon soprano, the inspired tribute to Benny Golson,Good as Golson (with seamless and swingingperformances from the ensemble), and the downand funky closer, Mr. D s New Shoes.Mike McClennan possesses a gorgeous basssound- fat, resonant and melodic - which makesme wish that perhaps there had been a few morebass features - but perhaps Mike was more interestedin the development of his material utilizinga tight group format, than he was in presentinghimselfas a soloist.McClennan's compositional style is complexand emotionally turbulent, reminiscent of the greatGil Evans (particularly Gil's "Nonet" period). Hiscompositions are not just tunes, but melodic journeys.However, at a certain point, even with theinspired arrangements and top-flight musicianshipa hint of sameness was palpable. Nonetheless,Sing in Me Muse is a work of complex beauty,and Michael McClennan is one of the most interestingbassist/composers on the scene today.Lesley Mitchell-ClarkeConcert Note: Tara Davidson is featured in theCAMMAC Sunday Concert Series at the Mc­Michael Art Gallery on June 17.NohFram;ois Carrier QuartetAyler Records aylDL027 (www.ayler.com)Extending and expandingin-the-momentimprovisationsover more than 67fram,:ols carrierquartet oohminutes, Fran9oisCarrier's quartet ~-1creates five memorabletracks whilenegating the old clicheabout Montreal-Toronto rivalry.ngs.chr:l ~ nrl1llllt:11:1111mkhtUamAlthough three of the four musicians are Montrealers- drummers John Heward and MichelLambert plus alto and soprano saxophonist Carrie- the fourth is Hogtown guitarist Reg Schwager.More surprising is the plectrumist's inclusion,in that he usually works the mainstream side ofthe street.) UNE 1 - ) ULY 7 2007Here however, especially on the more-than-20-minute Noh Three, Schwager's knob-twistingdistortions, heavy down strokes and serpentinenote placement perfectly match the expositionsof the other three, who singly or in tandem haveexperience with such outside players as saxophonistSteve Lacy and pianist Paul Bley. When,for instance, Schwager's slurred picking stretcheshis strings every which way, Carrier respondswith supple, heavily vibrated counter tones andtongue-fluttering. For their part, the percussionistslimit themselves to full-bore thumping accentedwith bell-rattling.Moving from thin-toned soprano sax trillsto full-bodied alto split tones and reed slurs, Car-LAUNCH YOUR CD OR BOOKwith WholeNote's new 1/6page ads (shown here),available In black-and-whiteand In colour. To advertise,call 416-323-2232.UndesirablesDoghouse DreamsCD RELEASEJune 23Hugh's RoomAlso available In our Listings,In "photo Insert" size (above)WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COMrier's inventive timbres often invoke Camatic asmuch as Cool jazz styling. His sprightly legatolines sometimes call forth dual backbeats fromthe drummers, while squeaky reed interludes demandhearty electronic reverb from the guitarist."Noh" is also quintessentially Canadian in thatthis Montreal-recorded session can only be purchasedby downloading it from a Swedish label'sWeb site (URL above). Classily, the buyer canalso download full-colour art and complete notesalong with the music.Ken WaxmanConcert Note: Reg Schwager performs at theMezzetta Restaurant on June 27 & 30.DISCOVERIES CONTINUES NEXT PAGETWOih~ROADARLENE SMITHwith MARK EISENMANA pure and simple approachto jazz standards selectedfor the stories they tellLaunched May 3rd atOpal Jazz LoungeCD available through www.arlenesmith.ca,CD Baby.com or by contacting Arlenedirectly at asmb@i-zoom.netCage Tai k ~~~1~~:;ewith and aboutEdited by Peter DickinsonRevealing unpublished interviews with John Cageand some of his closest colleagues, including VirgilThomson, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Pauline Oliveros,Merce Cunningham, and David Tudor."A valuable and enjoyable read which I unreservedlyrecommend. " . .- Roger Thomas, BBC Music MagazineUSO .95, 296 pp., 10 b&w illus.,ISBN: 1-58046-237-5Available from the University of Rochester Presswww.urpress.com (585) 275-041959

Volume 26 (2020- )

Volume 26 Issue 1 - September 2020
Volume 26 Issue 2 - October 2020
Volume 26 Issue 3 - November 2020

Volumes 21-25 (2015-2020)

Volume 25 Issue 9 - July / August 2020
Volume 25 Issue 8 - May / June 2020
Volume 25 Issue 7 - April 2020
Volume 25 Issue 6 - March 2020
Volume 25 Issue 5 - February 2020
Volume 25 Issue 4 - December 2019 / January 2020
Volume 25 Issue 3 - November 2019
Volume 25 Issue 2 - October 2019
Volume 25 Issue 1 - September 2019
Volume 24 Issue 8 - May 2019
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Volume 24 Issue 6 - March 2019
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Volume 23 Issue 9 - June / July / August 2018
Volume 23 Issue 8 - May 2018
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Volume 23 Issue 6 - March 2018
Volume 23 Issue 4 - December 2017 / January 2018
Volume 23 Issue 3 - November 2017
Volume 23 Issue 2 - October 2017
Volume 23 Issue 1 - September 2017
Volume 22 Issue 9 - Summer 2017
Volume 22 Issue 8 - May 2017
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Volume 22 Issue 6 - March 2017
Volume 22 Issue 5 - February 2017
Volume 22 Issue 4 - December 2016/January 2017
Volume 22 Issue 2 - October 2016
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Volume 21 Issue 9 - Summer 2016
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Volume 21 Issue 4 - December 2015/January 2016
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Volume 21 Issue 1 - September 2015

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