8 years ago

Volume 14 - Issue 2 - October 2008

Some other versions may

Some other versions may have more excitingpassages but overall this is the mostconsistently satisfying. The recording itself, aproduct of NDR Hamburg, is full bodied andtransparent with a wide dynamic range.This, I believe, is the first or second recordingfrom the then 26 year old Maslennikovbut, we hope, there will be more tofollow.Bruce SurteesAlfred Schnittke - Piano Concertos Nos.1-3Ewa Kupiec; Maria Lettberg; Rundfunk­Sinfonieorchester Berlin; Frank StrobelPhoenix Edition 103Ten years havenow passed sincethe distinctivevoice of composerAlfred Schnittke( 1934-1998) wassilenced. This newalbum on the GermanPhoenix Editionlabel providesa fascinating cross-section of his considerableachievements.Schnittke's fledgling Concerto for Pianoand Orchestra was composed in 1960 at theage of 26. It is an admirable work cast in theconventional fast-slow-fast mode, clearlyfolkloric in its expression but otherwise quiteindividual within its Socialist-Realist tonalconfines. It received its premiere in 1965 andhas not been heard since until the dauntlessLatvian-Swedish pianist Ewa Kupiec revivedit in 2005, leading to this stimulating newrecording. By the time of his 1978 Concertofor Piano and String Orchestra Schnittke hadfound his true voice and was attracting internationalattention as a leading Russian composer(though in truth he was ethnically onehundred percent German). His distinctive"polystylism" merged the piercingly dissonantwith the sweetly nostalgic in a spontaneousjuxtaposition of genres. Controversial atthe time in Soviet circles, his music wouldprove to be a potent harbinger of post-Modernism.The Concerto for Piano and ChamberOrchestra is a late work composed in1988 following the first of several debilitatingstrokes. Schnittke's late style is moretightly structured and increasingly bleak in itsoutlook, in this case reflecting an unrelentingpessimism and anger. Kupiec is ably assistedat the piano by Marie Lettberg in this rareexample of a four-handed piano concerto.Frank Strobel conducts the excellent BerlinRadio orchestra in this well recorded andcompelling disc.Mark Armanini - Rain in the ForestLatvian National Symphony Orchestra;John ZoltekCentrediscs CMCCD 13108Here we have acollection of threerecent concertos byBC composer MarkArmanini who isactively forgingwhat some arecalling a Vancouvermusical style,integrating bothI-;..-;;~·,;:~;...,.."'"'rai i~ j',rt ~17i"&-llt"i.. ~ T! ' '~7i~~~ .. ,ij~oh , ~ :d. 1,classical Western and Asian instruments andelements of their musical languages.Notwithstanding Armanini's multi-culturalapproach, the music on this CD stronglyevokes the aesthetics of the symphony orchestraof the first half of the 20th century. A fewpiquant touches of scoring however serve toreveal the true voices of the solo instrumentsand the skill of their virtuoso players. Theserevelatory moments include the glissandi andextended cadenzas for yangqin (Chinese hammereddulcimer) played by the virtuoso Canadianmusician Vivian Xia inRain in the Forest(2001).InDance of the Many Colours (2003), theunique timbre of the two Vietnamese dan bau,a demanding single string instrument, holdtheir own against the orchestral tuttis. Thehaunting dan bau solos ranging from cantabileportamenti to seeming electronic timbraltransmogrifications expertly rendered by theVancouver-based Khac Chi Ensemble, trulyperked up these jaded ears.I was impressed not only with the composer'ssensitive presentation of these unusualinstruments in an orchestral setting, but alsohis inclusion of a representative sample of theKhac Chi Ensemble's rich Vietnamese instrumentarium.We hear in turn the bass dan bau,a bamboo flute, plus the koni which is anamazing double string fiddle using the player'smouth as resonator, and lip and tonguemovements to modulate its tonal colour. Anidea for a concerto: one featuring the trulyunique koni!Andrew TimarJAZZ AND IMPROVIZED40 Years of SackvilleVarious ArtistsSackville Records"40 Years Of Sackville" is a 3CD compilationcelebrating four decades of recordingswhich established this label as one of the mosthighly respected among jazz fans and musiciansaround the world. The guiding forcesbehind this labour of love were producer JohnNorris and art director Bill Smith who, some10 years earlier, had founded Coda Magazine.CD 1, "The Early Years", has 11 tracksDaniel Foley culled from 1968 to 1981, ranging from Struttin'With Some Barbecue by Wild Bill Davi-56 WWW.THEWHOLENOTE. COM'son's Jazz Giantsto The Aloe AndThe Wild Rose byAbdullah Ibrahim.These were theyears in whichSackville establishedits internationalreputation.CD 2, "Some Of Canada's Jazz Legends",gives pride of place to our rich wellspring ofhome-grown talent and features a broadcross-section of musicians and styles.CD 3, "Some Of My Favourite People" .Over the years, John Norris inevitablyformed personal friendships with many of theartists he recorded, and some of them are tobe found in this selection which rounds out athoroughly enjoyable tribute to John Norrisand Bill Smith. Their dedication to, and loveof the music have made an invaluable contributionto jazz.This CD is a limited edition at .00, postpaid,and is only available through SackvilleRecordings, P.O. Box 1002, Station 0, Toronto,Ontario, M4A 2N4, or through Art ofJazz, The Case Goods Warehouse, Building74, Studio 202, The Distillery Historic District,55 Mill Street, Toronto, Ontario M5A3C4. 416-840-7663 ( GallowayThe Sum of the PartsAndy Ballantyne Large EnsembleIndependent AB007( jazz artist'ssupreme challengeis respecting thetradition withoutsacrificing freshness.The debutrecording by theAndy BallantyneLarge Ensemble(ABLE) succeeds,as the title suggests, thanks largely to themarvellous work by each player, but equallythanks to the thoughtful work by the composer/arranger/saxophonist/bandleader.Ballantyneselected his textures carefully: foursaxophones, two trumpets and two trombonessupported by a seriously sturdy rhythm section.Although the music is heavily steeped inthe orchestral jazz tradition of yesteryear, amodern sensibility permeates without distracting.For instance, on the funky Spin,trumpeter Kevin Turcotte and saxophonistKelly Jefferson each solo intensely over adrum-and-bass feel, the latter utilizing pedalsfor a genuinely special effect. Elsewhere, theCharles Mingus-inspired The Phone Don'tRing Jack provides a droll growling solo bytrombonist Rob Somerville which offers oneof the album's highlights. Amid the variousoriginal compositions, it's always nice tohear a respectful take on a familiar standard.Duke Ellington's In a Sentimental Mood isUCTOBER 1 - NOVEM BER 7 2008

majestically arranged for the unique 11-pieceensemble, with a sweet soprano saxophonesolo by Tara Davidson. The album closeswith a sensitive take on Joni Mitchell's BothSides Now, which features Ballantyne ontenor, supported for the most part only by thewondrous David Braid on piano.Ori DaganConcert Note: The Andy Ballantyne LargeEnsemble performs at The Rex Hotel Jazz &Blues Bar on Saturday October 4th at 9:30.Thinking About BixDick HymanReference Recordings RR-116 HDCD(www is no moreversatile a musicianthan DickHyman. His playingtranscendscategorisation, buthis real love isearly jazz on whichhe is an authority.He is, withoutdoubt, the ideal1Be.,J,,,~ag .~•.,.D:ck t:limon°p!ono fri\:.-.llffl~,~musician for this tribute to the music of Leon"Bix" Beiderbecke.Recorded February 25-26, 2008 at SkywalkerSound, Marin County CA, it is alovely and intimate sounding CD - like havingMr. Hyman playing in your home just foryou. There is one original, the title song, allfive pieces that Bix created for piano - probablya recording first - and eleven numbersrecorded by him with his original solos recreatedby Hyman. All the favourites arethere - Sing in' The Blues, Ostrich Walk, JazzMe Blues, Since My Best Gal Turned MeDown and for good measure he also includessome transcriptions of the Frank Trumbauerchoruses recorded with Bix and there is onefour-hands performance of You Took AdvantageOf Me with fellow stride enthusiast,Mike Lipskin.But most of all there is the very personalmusical mind of Dick Hyman at play hereand the end result is over an hour's worth ofdelightful music. Add this to your collectionpiano lovers.Jim GallowayAfter burnTorben Waldorff; Donny Mccaslin;Sam Yahel; Matt Clohesy; Jon WikanArtistShare AS0078 ( jazzguitarist TorbenWaldorff's latestrelease, "Afterburn"is the highlyanticipated followupto his wellreceived2006 ArtistSharedebutrecording, "Brillt\JoRFFAlt!rbumliance: LIVE at the 55 Bar". With six newO CTOBER 1 - NOVEMBER 7 2008compositions as well as contributions fromMaria Schneider and John Wikan, this insightfuljazz recording promises to be one ofthe most memorable of the year.On "Afterburn", we find Waldorff pairedonce again with the fine musicians from hisfirst outing, including drummer Jon Wikan,bassist Matt Clohesy, in-demand New YorkCity saxophonist, Donny Mccaslin (lately ofMaria Schneider's Jazz Orchestra) and keyboardistSam Yahel - a long-time colleagueof wunderkind terrorist Joshua Redman andkey performer alongside guitarist Bill Frisell,and renowned funkmeister/trumpeter MaceoParker.Within the performance of the compositionson "Afterburn", Waldorff has allowedfor a significant amount of spontaneity andexperimentation. Of particular note on therecording are the testosterone-laden openerDAZE, and the simply gorgeous EspressoCrescent - a tune in search of the right film.The writing and performance are so visceralon this track that it is a simple matter for thelistener to conjure up images, sights andsmells of the world's most perfect Cafe.Another strong track is Charo Dancado - alovely quintet arrangement of Maria Schneider'slarge ensemble piece, rendered herewith Nordic melancholy that sensuouslywraps around the Gil Evans-ish chord structures.The evocative CD artwork of "Afterburn"is simply stunning and sets the mood withsepia-toned professional photographs ofTorben's European variety artist grandmother,Lorie Waldorff.Lesley Mitchell-ClarkeEXTENDED PLAY - GUELPHJAZZ FESTIVAL MUSICIANSBy Ken WaxmanHealthy in its adolescence, the Guelph JazzFestival (GJF) has become Ontario's preeminentfestival for improvised music, includingconcerts, workshops and symposia.An appealing factor for listeners is that GJFconcerts highlight only one of the versatilemusicians' many activities. Recent CDscapture other aspects of some of the fineplayers featuredlast month at the15 th annual instalmentof the festival.Take Britishbassist Barry Guy,who visited Guelphwith violinist MayaHamburger andbass clarinettist Jeff Reilly. Except for Guy'sstring prestidigitation, that chamber-improvis nearly the opposite of the go-for-brokeEnergy Music on Tarfala Maya (MCD0801)with Barry Guy, Mats Gustafsson and RaymondStrid. Two high-octane Swedish players,saxophonist Gustafsson and percussionistWWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COMStrid, complete the band. Spewing accentuatedtimbres, Gustafsson's cries and snortsdemand muscular retorts from the bassist.On the title track Guy uses guitar-like arpeggiosto match the saxophonist's echoing splittones, wrapping the friction of individualstring pressure into a contrapuntal response.Strid's rim shots and rattling snares providethe rhythmic glue. Eventually Guy takescharge and his harsh twanging plus abrasivebelow-the-bridge sawing move the saxophonist'ssmears, flattement and flutter-tonguinginto contrapuntal counterpoint. Chromaticbass thumps and conga-like pops from thepercussionist push Gustaffson's extendedglossolalia from discursive to convergent onlcefall. Guy's ostinato underpinning andStrid' s pats and pumps neutralize Gustafsson's honks and tongue slaps into a diminuendoconclusion. www.maya-recordings.comResolving the clash between rough andgentle voicing, staccato and legato pitchesalso characterize Junk Box's Cloudy ThenSunny (Libra Records 203-019). Two membersof the trio,Japanese pianistSatoko Fujii andtrumpeter NatsukiTamura played theGJF. A composerarranger,Fujiiexplores new territoryon this CD,using graphic nota-(iition to spur theimprovisations. Junk Box's third member isAmerican drummer John Hollenbeck, capableof rhythmic interaction ranging fromrattles and pumps from tarn-tarns and marimbato full military press rolls and bass drumthwacks. On One Equation, Tamura uses splittones and triplets to create a call-and-responsesection all by himself, as Fujii playsthe tremolo melody in tandem. Opera by Ratsemphasizes piano pedal action as the themeshifts from Bop to Stride, while the trumpetbrays and Hollenbeck snaps cymbals and popssnares. This popping serves as a coda to Backand Forth, which also describes the trio'stonal connection. Tamura's timbre is Frenchhorn-like as he echoes Fujii's phrases, andthe track concludes with cascading pianochords draping themselves over the others'note clusters.'s a similar interchange among altosaxophonist John Zorn, trombonist GeorgeLewis and guitarist Bill Frisell on News ForLulu (hatOLOGY 650). This 1987 reissue isdifferent, yet somewhat similar to the threesets of Radical Jewish Culture Zorn presentedat GJF thisyear. Rather thenre-interpreting andre-conceptualizingJewish melodies,"Lulu" does thesame for Hard-Bopclassics. Yet asdevotional orfreylach-like ditties57

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