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Volume 14 - Issue 6 - March 2009

the only musician other

the only musician other than leader to appearon every track. Drum duty primarily belongsto Ben Riley with guests Davide DiRenzo andLarnell Lewis. Special guesting are PhilDwyer on tenor saxophone, Kevin Breit onguitar, Alan Hetheringtonon percussion and a 13-piece string section ledby Lenny Solomon on thedeservingly titled Beauty.The sweet Almost Tangois an 8-minute suite ofsheer amusement, withanother highlight being the romping instrumentalrendition of Mrs. Robinson . Besidesplaying the piano, organ and Rhodes on"Mombacho", Janzen lends his voice toBruce Cockburn's All the Diamonds and hisown Masaya . While singing the odd tune isnot unusual for an instrumentalist, having avoice as velvety as Janzen's certainly is.Ori DaganAlex ErneweinWith Terry Clarke; Kelly Jefferson;Jake Langley; Keiran OversIndependent T AERCD08(www.alexernewein.com)When this CD was recorded in May of 2008at Canterbury Sound Studio in Toronto, AlexErnewein was 14 years old and quite the debutalbum it is. Wiseenough to surround himselfwith four of the topmusicians on the scenewho give him all the supporthe needs, and thensome, this is a very impressivedisplay by anystandards. There are eleven selections, wiselymostly familiar, ranging from the Rodgers& Hart standard My Romance to Monk'sStraight No Chaser and there is one original ,a piano solo called Improv Suite One. Theline-up varies throughout the album andErnewein moves comfortably from piano toFender Rhodes to Hammond B3.The music was improvised on the spot andany imperfections are a worthwhile trade-offagainst the spontaneity of the music. Youwill hear more of young Mr. Ernewein.Jim GallowayAfter HoursJeff Dyer; Bill Brennanlndependent0209135(www.myspace.com/jeffdyerbillbrennanduo)Pour yourself a drink, put on "After Hours"after hours and you will enjoy an eclectic,varied program of choicestandards and genuineoriginals. Newfoundland's Bill Brennan is apianist, percussionist,composer and producerwho can be heard onsome 80 albums to date.Wonderfully warm andvery witty, Brennan's work proves he is theconsummate accompanist; no wonder, con-52sidering he has previously backed up CabCalloway , Placido Domingo and DizzyGillespie .Apart from five vocal/piano duets, seventracks feature the superb Jim Vivian on bass,Michael Billard on drums and Patrick Boyleon trumpet and flugelhorn. But the spotlight ison Jeff Dyer's full-bodied , emotionally rawsinging style that suggests a natural , experiencedtalent. The baritone's larger-than-lifevoice is not technically faultless, but this doesnot get in the way of the singer's captivating,earnest delivery. Fans of the old standardswill enjoy authentic readings of Lucky to BeMe and the like, but even more intriguing areDyer's spicy originals. Jona is a haunting, poeticode to a Newfoundland ghost town,whereas the sentimental Time is a Dragon isa "smooth jazz" offering. In contrast, Nicaraguais a composition devoid of words butrich with intensity , trumpet doubting thevoice . Dyer' s musical setting of John Mc­Crae's In Flanders Fields is inspired and respectful. Come to think of it, any time is appropriateto relish this recording, a healthymarriage of traditional and contemporary vocaljazz.Extended Play - FACE OFFBy Ken WaxmanOri DaganSonic battles involving musicians who playthe same instrument facing off against oneanother are part of a tradition that goes backto Kansas City jam sessions. This sort ofcompetition isn't unique to jazz. Probablythe first cutting contest took place when onemedieval troubadour restrung his lute to bestothers playing Greensleeves.Now that improvised music is internationalhowever, players can test themselvesagainst musicians from other countries.That's what four Canadians do here. Two,former Torontonian reedist Quinsin Nachoffand ex-Burlington trumpeter Darren Johnstondo so in group situations. Two others -both Montrealers: guitarist Antoine Berthiaumeand drummer Michael Lambert - gomano a mano.Results are particularly spectacular inBerthiaume's case. On Base (AmbiancesMagnetiques AM 178), his partner is NewYork guitarist/composerElliott Sharp whose instrumentalprowess involvesequal facility inblues, noise, rock , jazz,improvised and notatedmusic. Raging over 11free improvisations, thetwo use the tactile capabilitiesof guitars' attachments and propertiesas much as its strings to tell stories. Incahootsnot conflict, Sharp and Berthiaumecrunch, crash and pan across the sound field,combining watery flanges, slurred fingeringand twanging resonation into pulsations thatare simultaneously wedded to electronic distortionand acoustic elaborations. WhenSharp's bottle-neck facility is mixed withW WW .TH EW HOL EN OT E.C OMclawing oscillated tones, Station could be DeltaBlues on Mars. Freed on the other hand,manages to work inchoate fuzz-tone delayand dial twisting into lyrical sprays of sound.The duo's essence is best expressed on Es ­sence. Here one intermittently plunks bassstrings alongside jagged resonation created byscratching strings below the bridge, until thepiece concludes with throbbing drones reachingneedle-in-the-groove concordance.(www .actuellecd.com)Similarly blending rhythms so there is noperceptible transition between one and another'simprovising on Meditations on Grace(FMR Records CD 256-0108) are percussionistsMichael Lambert and Boston's veteranRakalam Bob Moses,both of whom arealso visual artists. Overlayinga Pop-Art-likejumble of beats they referenceethic rhythms asfrequently as those associatedwith conventionsof so-called legit music and jazz. Cunninglyblending in double counterpoint the throbs andtinkles available from cross patterning andinverted sticking, octave jumps, staccatoruns, march tempos and sudden rebounds,they understate, but never abandon heart-beatrhythms. Meanwhile bell trees are sounded,maracas shaken , ride cymbals scratched,steel pans popped and tension lugs tightenedand loosened to produce multi-colours. Subtletyis the watchword here with whisks andbrushes in use more than sticks and mallets .Cognizant of each other every second, onedrummer produces rim shots when the otherratchets; or one bluntly whack the bass drumwhen the other pounds Indian tom-toms.Chromatically shifting the tonal centre, theyadvance left-and-right in tandem. Gauge thejoy in the proceeding, by noting the ecstaticshouts frequently heard from the participants.(www .fmr-records.com)This joy is also apparent on In BetweenStories which features Darren Johnston'sUnited Brassworkers Front (Evander MusicEM 040). This Bay- area band of twotrumpets, two trombones,tuba, guitar, bassand drums plays mostlyJohnston's compositions,while echoes of Balkanmarches, brass chorals,Dixieland and mariachimusic abound. As burblingtuba provides the pedal-point bottom,shuffle drum beats and walking bass lines addan R&B feel. Johnston is surprisingly expressiveand romantic on the sardonic Long Livethe Yes Men, yet breaks up the initially statelyIn Between Stories with splattering triple-tonguing,jazz shakes and rubato slurs. Chunkyrhythm guitar licks and half-honk/half-hip-hopfrom tuba adds to the transformation. ElsewhereJohnston's arranging skills showcasepolyphonic undulations, ensuring the massedbrass braying is neither protracted nor gratuitous.(www.evandermusic.com)Brass band-inflected jazz is also the raisonM ARC H 1 - A PRIL 7 2009

d'etre on Quinsin Nachoff/Bruno TocanneProject's 5 New_ Dreams (Cristal CD 0824),although clanneust/tenor saxophonist Nachoff'sco-leader is a French drummer, as arethe two trumpeters andanother saxophonist. Eschewingchordal instrumentsthe unbridled powerof Tocanne's drummingmanages makes theband evoke drummer ArtBlakey's Jazz Messengers.With nearly everytune a foot-tapper, Tocanne's ruffs and flamsencourage doubled brass triplet, so that thetrumpeters often sound like an intertwinedLee Morgan and Freddie Hubbard. LionelMartin often confines himself to ostinatoslurps from the baritone saxophone, exceptfor some flutter-tongued exchanges with Nachoff._Otherwise space is left open for theCanadian who makes good use of it. OnSoulevement he plumbs his tenor saxophone'sdepth with a wide vibrato and irregular diaphragmbreaths, buzzing upwards into wavesof altissimo before Tocanne's press rolls surgicallycut off the exposition. In contrastGoodbye Lullaby benefits from the barit~nesaxophone's bass undercurrent as Nachoffshades the andante melody with coloraturaand moderato clarinet obbligatos.(www .imuzzic.net)While cutting contests may be a relic of thepast, international musical cooperation continuesto set high standards.POT POURRILike Light Off WaterDaphne Marlatt; Robert Minden·Carla Hallett'Otter Sound OB 105(www.LostSound.com)Capturing the historical essence of a westcoast fishing community, Daphne Marlatt'slong poem Steveston was published in 1974 asa much-acclaimed book with photographs byRobert Minden. For thisrecording, Marlatt readspassages from that workas well as the postscriptadded to the 2001 edition.With an evocative soundscapecomposed and performedby Minden andCarla Hallett, the imagesof a "boom and bust" town at the mouth ofthe Fraser River centered around fishingboats and ca_nnery and the psychologicalstates of as inhabitants are brought to lifewllh qualities ranging from eerie trepidationto awestru~k wonder. The quality and pacingo_f Marlatt s v01ce 1s superb and a strikings1milanty between her speaking voice andHallett's singing makes for a beautifullyseamless transition in the narrative flow.Minden's photogrnphic talent translates verywell to the evocation of visual imagerythrough sound. The music is sparse but highlyeffective_ with mechanical noise set againstthe nppling and twinkling of water and light,together with haunting depictions of mysteriousand erotic undercurrents mixed with thegentle beauty of the night sky. Pure poetry,pure sound, shifting the listener' s consciousnessto the depths of pure feeling.Under the CanopyThe Huppah ProjectlndependentHPOOOI(www .thehuppahproject.com)Dianne WellsI first heard Aviva Chernick in concert withher band Jaffa Road, in the packed BrigantineWholeNote MarketPlaceRoom at last fall 's Ashkenaz Festival at Harbourfront.That same weekend saw the releaseof her latest (andsecond) CD, "Under theCanopy". Part of "TheHuppah Project" , thisCD is a collection of, Jewish wedding music ,sung entirely in Hebrew,with instrumental ac- - ... ~,,companiment. Many of the lyrics come fromthe Song of Songs or other liturgical texts,with either traditional music or music composedin our own era, and at least one song isfrom 1950s Israel. All are arranged by Chermckand/or ensemble members Aaron Lightstone,who plays ud , guitar and saz and JeffWilson (drums, percussion, cornet)'. ChermckIS the one who shines in this recordingand is definitely one to watch on the Torontomusic scene. She sings with a purity and clarityof vocal tone that carries this genre well,and to my knowledge is one of the only femalevocalists in Toronto specializing in Jewishmusic of this sort (ie . non-klezmer, Hebrewbased). Other back-up musicians includeErnie Tollar (ney) and George Sawa(qanun), who are featured in Heviani el BeitHayayin (To the Vinyard's house), a traditionalMoroccan song. Visitwww .avivachernick.com for more about thisartist 's activities.Karen AgesConcert note: Aviva and her band JaffaRoad will be giving a CD release concert atthe Lula Lounge, March 25 (seewww .jaffaroadmusic.com).superbly engineered recordingsconcert hall quality9ft Steinwayaudio & video demosfull CD productioncompetitive rates416-461-0635www.classicalsound.caSpecialized Recording Servicesfor Classical and Acoustic Music64 7 349 6467lockwood.frank@gma ii.cornGOLD RECORDS JUNO AWARDSRecording & Mastering.Great live room in old movie theatre.Yamaha Grand Piano. Hammond M3& Leslie Milestone Drums. per hour 416.467.9597www.studio92canada.comCall for a coffee and tourWWW.THEWHOLENOTE,COM 53

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