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Volume 13 - Issue 7- April 2008

the drummer's nerve

the drummer's nerve beats. Occasional cymbalraps and sandpaper-like scrapes from Grienerenliven NCC 2276 !nspektion. Rubato andabstract, the composition surges rhythmicallydue to subterranean burps from Hubsch. Althoughthe other horns appear to be vibratingunderwater textures without valve or keymovements, metallic cymbal friction and lowbrassrumbles solidify the tune 's airiness.Standing apart is keyboardist James Carney'sCD Green-Wood (Songlines SGL SA1566-2). The only American session, itfeatures the largest band - a septet - and isthe most committed to melody. Coherent andepisodically thematic, there's also sameness tothe eight tunes. Dependent on looping interfaceand head recapitulation, many call for a toughbackbeat from drummer Mark Ferber,buttressed with Latin motifs. Some display anoverabundance of California cool , especiallywhen the sweetness of Peter Epstein 'ssoprano saxophone lacks contrast. Movingamong acoustic and electric pianos and analogsynthesizer, Carney's versatility sometimesdetracts. At points he key clips, at othersoutputs legato pianism or gospel-like runs. Hiscomping is fine, ifanonymous, but his voicingon electric piano, leans towards instrumentalrock. With his playing sometimes masked bytutti horns, bassist Chris Lightcap is prominentwhen he plucks excessively powerfully. Tenorsaxophonist Tony Malaby's chesty runs are putto their best use on the aptly named Power andHalf the Battle, whereas trombonist JoshRoseman's extended glissandi enliven Willwaw ,making common cause with thumping bass andCarney's piano, rife with short runs and trailingleft-handed jumps. A microcosm of all that'sgood and bad about "Green-Wood" isencapsulated on the melancholy ft s AlwaysCold When You 're leaving. Trumpeter RalphAlessi brings understated emotion to his solo,while Roseman's chromatic plunger tones andstrengthening piano chords force Ferber toapply calming cymbal expansions. Before thevamping horns introduce the climax, Carney 'slight touch alters the theme with elongated orcontracted notes, scram bi ing the originalsyncopation, without straying from tonality.Ken WaxmanPOT POURRI -EXTENDED PLAYThe World At-a-Glance by Cathy RichesToronto continues to benefit from Canada's(relatively) open-armed immigration policy with68a virtual United Nations of musicians addingtheir talent and passion to our live andrecorded music scene. Roberto LinaresBrown is one of the latest of dozens oftopnotchCubans to make his home here. CreditCuba's rich musical history and commitment tomusic education with the fact that the islandproduces so many skilled musicians. Composer,keyboardist and percussionist Brown is noexception, but has updated his extensivebackground in more traditional musical formswith rap and urban sounds. So his debut CD,Que No Se Pierda la Esencia has all theusual rhythmic drive and sizzling horns -courtesy of trumpeter Alexis Baro andtrombonist Yan car Gonzales - that you 'dexpect, plus fresh additions from rappersErnesto Brooks (Espanol) and Corey Paul(English). Brown plays regularly at LULALounge in Toronto, and has benefited, as haveso many "world" musicians, from their steadysupport. So check out their line-up atwww.lula.ca for the best of the multiculturalmusic scene.Venezuela is less of a musical hotbed, from aToronto perspective, but nonetheless hascontributed several active players to oursoundscape. Composer, saxophonist andflautist, Bernardo Padron, has gatheredmusicians from a variety of disciplines andcultures for Tales of La Juana. Although adecidedly jazzy effort, there is such aninteresting blend of instrumentation and styles,courtesy of supporting players Marilyn Lerner,piano and accordion; Andrew Downing, bass;Mark Duggan, marimba and percussion; AlanHetherington, drums and maracas; and JustinHaynes, electric guitar; that this record defiescategorization. Padron looks to nature andtierra for his inspiration on El Araguaney andEl Jabil/a (both types of trees) and the resultis a I ively, complex yet contemplative journey.(www.bernardopadron.com)Maryam Toumrai is another fine example ofwhat the world has to offer. Born in Iran,raised in Ghana, West Africa and musicallyschooled in Toronto, Toumrai draws on herclassical training and credits a wide variety ofinfluences from Cecilia Bartoli to LindaRonstadt for her sound. Under Your Spell isWWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COMher debut CD as a lead vocalist and it is alovely collection of Middle Eastern/Mediterranean sounds. The gorgeouscompositions are written by Daniush Afrasiahi(except for Sheherazad, by Rimsky­Korsakov) who also contributes the fine guitarwork. Toumrai's emotive mezzo-soprano voicesoars over the gentle guitar and bassfoundation with haunting effect. The onlycriticism I have is that the addition ofsynthesized strings, mercifully sparingly used,detracts from the otherwise genuine musicalityof the album. (www.the9thdiva.com)And finally, aneminence grise ofthe world music andjazz scene, RickShadrach Lazar hasreleased a DVD ofhis work with SambaSquad. Just one ofhis many projects -Rick played with Manteca back in the daybefore anyone called it world music - SambaSquad has been a mainstay of the summerfestival and party circuit for as long as I canremember. Although Rick emigrated only fromnearby Thunder Bay, his musical soul has beennurtured in farther flung lands. Drums WeLove is part documentary and part musicvideo, and includes interviews with musicianssuch as Bruce Cockburn, Loreena McKennitt,Jesse Cook and fellow T-Bayer, Paul Shaffer.Although the DVD shows a lot of the band inperformance (mostly a staged concert in astudio) and admirably captures the infectiousenergy and physicality of this 30-piece-plusband, I feel a golden opportunity was missed toeducate the uninitiated about the rich history ofsamba and the Brazilian culture that drives it.Much footage is spent on interviewees praisingRick's talents with not enough time discussingsamba's unique rhythmic patterns, the role ofeach of the drums and the Jave/as thatfostered the escola de samba tradition(although watching it with the commentary onwill give viewers a little more illumination). ButRick has done a great job of integrating funk,hip-hop and African influences to enrich thetradition and should be given full props fornurturing the joyful microcosm that is SambaSquad. (www.sambasquad.com)Cathy RichesConcert note: Samba Squad performs atLULA Lounge on May 23.OLD W INE IN NEW BOTTLES IS ON PAGE 70A PRIL 1 - M AY 7 2008

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