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Volume 16 Issue 10 - July/August 2011

  • Text
  • Jazz
  • August
  • Toronto
  • Festival
  • Festivals
  • Quartet
  • Concerts
  • Trio
  • Orchestra
  • Musical

It’s Our JazzWhen mike

It’s Our JazzWhen mike murley enters the heroictradition of tenor sax trios, you’dbetter listen. The star hornman haslinked with two quality veterans in a newband playing bandsmen originals that makesits recording debut on Broadview Trio – TwoOf Clubs (Addo Jazz Recordings AJR008www.addorecords.com). Taped at Torontoclubs Chalkers andThe Rex, the appropriatelytitledopening trackRich Murlted soonmorphs into a thriller,with fleet andpungent bassist RichBrown and smart,energizing drummerTed Warrenrevelling in anopen, loose structurethat lets themstretch. All eightcuts have somethingto recommend them,Lullabye showingoff the serious intensegroove impact Brown generates, OpenSpaces brewing nicely beneath Murley’sseamless phrasing cruise and InternationalIdle a feast for Warren’s rapid-fire excursionsaround the kit. Murley’s caressing of WinterFlower is the saxman at his spellbinding best,the off-kilter Tango Ruby bounces giddily,On The Lemonade is an out-and-out swingerwhile Hibiscus rambles with purpose, illuminatingtrio members’ vast skills as theyblend ingenuity and emotional depth.The threesome led by inspirationalQuebec alto saxist François Carrier indulgesavant-garde motifs crammed with repetitivenotes, long tense solos and a sound that’swildly uneven yet most agreeable, at leastto these ears. François Carrier/Alexey Lapin/Michel Lambert – Inner Spire (Leo RecordsCDLR601 www.leorecords.com), recorded inMoscow last December, has the boss wailinglike Albert Ayler while regular drummerLambert and thunderous Russian pianistLapin pursue manic notions of their own,together creating freewheeling music that’salways teetering on the precipice. Lapinsuggests Cecil Taylor or Matthew Shipp,the irrepressible Lambert only himself.Five “tunes” here, none hummable, but it’salways fascinating to hear how bold sonicexplorations develop — it makes 20th centuryclassical revolutionaries seem distinctly tame.Kirk MacDonald, noted tenorman andnow noted composer, has put together atop-drawer collection of musicians to playeight of his tunes on Kirk MacDonald JazzGEOFF CHAPMANOrchestra – Deep Shadows (Addo AJR009www.adddorecords.com), with trombonistTerry Promane and trumpeter Joe Sullivan(who also conducts) sharing chart duty. Theleader’s in the sax section, soloing at lengthin signature powerful manner on the openingNew Piece and with considerable acumenand authority elsewhere. His compositionspack the passionin, though it’s notalways obvious.The intro toGoodbye Glennhas elements ofthe lustrous Millersound but the balladis a delightfulshowcase forsaxists P. J. Perry(alto) and PatLaBarbera (tenor)and ever-presentlush section work,while the thrustingGreenwich Timeoffers fine momentsfrom guitaristLorne Lofsky. Jazz waltz Calendula putsthe chief back in the solo saddle to delivera well-rounded gem, and it’s the turn ofSullivan, Promane and driving drummerBarry Romberg to achieve blowhard honourson the effective minor-chord Eleven. Highstandards throughout are maintained, rightup to the showcase title tune closer.Drummer Kevin Brow graduated fromU of T’s jazz program but now is based inCopenhagen. Koptor – Fire Sink(Fresh Sound New Talent FSNT 384www.kevinbrow.com) is his band Koptor’ssecond album and it’s really good. Theforceful, imaginative Brow composed 10originals for a session featuring threeDanish players — avant-garde saxist LotteAnker, pianist Jacob Anderskov and bassJeppe Skovbakke. The music’s all stoptimerhythms, unpredictable sequitursand cool sonic provocation, like someECM recordings, and nods relentlessly toEuro classical structures. Brow maintainsexceptional grooves, often exciting thoughnever overstating his case while hiscompanions offer up jazz ranging fromlavishly melodious to suggestively raw. Therousing Intellectual Sex, the fascinatingsoloing of sax and piano and craftyunderpinning by drums and bass on thetitle cut and the weird eruptions on PennyCrushing are just three examples of creativeminds in high gear.Young bands are stirring interest inHogtown. One has twenty-somethingsmaking theirdebut recordingon Brent Mah/Alex Goodman –Convergence (www.alexgoodman.ca),a most promisingalbum demonstratingmaturity, flexibilityand a cohesion so acute that on occasion italmost throttles freshness. Accomplishedguitarist Goodman penned four tunes,saxist Mah three and the 68-minute sessionis fleshed out with a jazz standard andcontributions from Radiohead and PinkFloyd. Booming bassist Dan Fortin anddrummer Karl Schwonick make a solidrhythm team. The opening Momentum issort of chamber-bop in 5/4, a measure of thewriting challenges met and the other materialis never dull, though while I appreciateMah’s range and agility I don’t care muchfor his restrained and thin alto/soprano tones.Other entertaining tracks are Persistence OfMemory and Missed Opportunity.The next shows bassist Ken McDonaldmaking big strides with his second albumas leader Ken McDonald Quartet – PayWhat You Can (www.kenmcdonaldjazz.com)that features saxist Paul Metcalfe, guitaristDemetri Petslakisand drummerLowell Whitty.He’s composed sixthoughtful originalsthat are performedwith energy andconfident flair, forstarters Detroitwhich especially shows off his stringsagility and bright-toned Metcalfe’s rich veinof ideas. Beyond it are smart and subtlecreations that let bandsmen expand theirhorizons and conjure up novel, sometimesstriking, jazz — it’s a pity there’s just 39minutes of it.JAZZ & IMPROVISEDTwo KitesFern LindzonIntros IM02 (www.fernlindzon.com)On pianist/vocalist/composerFernLindzon’s sophomorerecording, sheexplores themes ofspiritual and emotionaltranscendenceas well as the kinaestheticexperienceof soaring through, around and above thenatural elements of wind, sea and sky. Themusical journey is an eclectic one, featuringoriginal material, Brazilian and Yiddishcompositions as well as blues and a medley66 thewholenote.comJuly 1–September 7, 2011

of Broadway standards — even so, there isa unifying creative intent on this breathtakinglybeautiful album. For “Two Kites”she has enlisted gifted collaborators bassistGeorge Koller (who also wears the producerhat), Mike Murley on saxophones and NickFraser on drums.The jaunty title track comes from AntonioCarlos Jobim (who wrote the music aswell as the English lyrics) and deliciouslycoalesces all of the thematic elements ofthe album.Lindzon has a consummate ability to singin Yiddish. On Dona Dona and Yam Lid/Lustige Chasidm/Balkan Bella-Busta, sheeffortlessly combines an ethnic sensibilitywith decidedly contemporary elements — allthe while wrapping her tongue around theunforgiving German dialect. George Koller`srich and extensive background in worldmusic can be felt throughout.Memorable tracks include the originalinstrumental All Fall Down where Lindzon’sintricate, yet commanding piano techniqueis a perfect fit for Murley’s lithe sopranowork, which weaves in and out of Koller andFraser’s pulsing lines. Also noteworthy arethe haunting Distance by consummate vocalistNorma Winstone and Lindzon’s original,Grey Green, on which her evocative vocal,harmonically complex arrangement andBill Evans-ish piano solo coupled with theinspired work of her ensemble, make this anundeniable stand-out.—Lesley Mitchell-Clarkegreen edge sky, green edge sunMark Kieswetter; Ross MacIntyreIndependent(www.cdbaby.com/cd/markkieswetter)It’s alwaysnice — and arelief — when theplaying you hear ona CD is as elegantand evocative asits title (and titletrack). Indeed, thatis the case withpianist Mark Kieswetter’s and bassist RossMacIntyre’s newly released CD, ever-soevocativelyentitled, “green edge sky, greenedge sun” (no clumsy caps, here). It is abeautiful album, exquisitely executed bytwo outstanding musicians who clearly“get” each other. Kieswetter and MacIntyrehave captured the true essence of whatthe best piano/bass duos are all about:elegance, economy, precision, fluidity, style,intimacy, grace, and that magical, intangiblechemistry — the simpatico.Indiana-born Kieswetter has been thepianist-of-choice for many Toronto-based,talented jazz artists (including HeatherBambrick, Emilie-Claire Barlow and TheWholeNote’s own Ori Dagan) since movingto Toronto in 2002. Ross MacIntyre (born,raised and based in Toronto), is one of themost in-demand side musicians in Canada,in the studio, playing in town alongside localluminaries such as Reg Schwager andMike Murley and touring the world with thelikes of Matt Dusk, Elizabeth Shepherd andBarlow. Despite their whirlwind schedules,it was meant to be for these two highly respectedmusicians to take a breath and takethe time to make some great music together.We’re lucky that they did. They’ve gifted uswith 13 tracks including gorgeous and creativearrangements of classics such as GreenDolphin Street (chosen in keeping with theCD cover’s “green theme” perhaps?), Lernerand Loewe’s The Heather on the Hill and,the final track, Bill Evans’ We Will MeetAgain, as well as Kieswetter’s original titletrack and his harmonically haunting AskAlice. Let’s hope they’ll consider producing asecond CD down the road.—Sharna SearleLet Me Off UptownAnita O’DayMr. Music MMCD-7027(www.worldsrecords.com)For those of uswho believe AnitaO’Day was one ofthe most importantamong jazz singers,this brand newrelease of previouslyunavailable livematerial is a divinetreat. Those not in the know should googleO’Day’s mind-blowing renditions of SweetGeorgia Brown and Tea for Two, filmedby Bert Stern at the 1958 Newport JazzFestival. With these two cuts as bonustracks, this CD features four other selectionsfrom that famous set, including a brilliantlyphrased Have You Met Miss Jones and adroll ditty referred to as the novelty number,Varsity Drag.Also included are several impressiveperformances from the late 1950s, O’Day’sheyday. Take The Man I Love recorded atthe 1957 Timex All-Star Jazz Show: shestarts off rubato, decorating phrases expertlywith dissonance; then, improvising like thefinest of horn players, she swings the melodyto Mars and back, but never loses the lyricin the process. Four Brothers and Love Meor Leave Me demonstrate O’Day’s incredibleease with fast tempos; her time feel isinfectiously on the money and she is neverrushed, always relaxed. The singer’s cool,tongue-in-cheek approach is best exposedon vehicles like Honeysuckle Rose, whichshe performed literally thousands of timesin her career, but never the same way twice.Personnel includes Benny Goodman, JackSheldon, Lionel Hampton, Flip Phillips andothers jazz greats. This CD is a worthwhilejazz history lesson. A bargain at any price.—Ori Daganà l’inattendu les dieux livrent passageMecha Fixes Clocks (Michel F. Côté)& Records ET 09 (www.etrecords.net)Atmospheric andambient, but alsoaudacious, Montrealpercussionist/keyboardistand electronicmanipulatorMichel F. Côtéuses a variety ofsonic strategies to construct an exuberantlyoriginal nine-part sound world on “àl’inattendu les dieux livrent passage.”Accomplished in transforming directors’ andchoreographers’ ideas into sound, as well asleading ad hoc bands such as this one, whichgenerate a new meaning from his initials,the composer/arranger pushes and pulls thetextures in a multi-stylistic fashion so thatseemingly bland surfaces turn out to containtough, multi-faceted cores.Case in point is a track like ferveurfossile, where chunks and clicks from signalprocessedtimbres splutter and shrill whilecommenting upon Gordon Allen’s irregularlyvibrated trumpet lines and the twangs fromBernard Falaise’ guitar. Arco string runsmaintain the theme, although variantsbecome looser, more strident and discordantas they come in contact with the buzzingelectronics. Other pieces offer interludesof pseudo classicism via Pierre Yves-Martel’s viol de gambe or Jean Derome’sharmonized bass flute, only to have themsabotaged by Lori Freedman’s harsh bassclarinet slurs or abrasive wood scrapes fromthe percussionist. Overall it seems thatsonic disruption is as much a part of Côté’scompositions as legato continuum.This post-modern strategy is sardonicallyconfirmed on au-delà de l’espace despetits oiseaux and more obviously on theconcluding entre idéal et mental. On thattrack, string-laden samples, likely sourcedby turntablist Martin Tétrault from Gonewith the Wind composer Max Steiner LPs,are interrupted by plinking from live stringplayers, motor-driven whines and clanksplus the percussionist’s cross pulses andopposite-sticking beats.—Ken WaxmanAlways find more reviews online at thewholenote.comJuly 1–September 7, 2011 thewholenote.com 67

Volume 26 (2020- )

Volume 26 Issue 1 - September 2020
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Volume 25 Issue 9 - July / August 2020
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