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Volume 16 Issue 4 - December 2010

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  • December
  • February
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  • Toronto
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  • Jazz
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international musical

international musical dialogue.”Kudos to her, to the wonderful CopenhagenPhilharmonic and conductor Lan Shui– and to the composers of these wonderfulpieces.—Alison MelvilleConcert Note: Toronto with events January 23 through29. Chen’s Yangko is also included inSoundstreams Canada’s January 25 concertLou Harrison - Scenes from CavafyGamelan Pacifica; Jarrad PowellNew World Records 80710-2(www.newworldrecords.org)style gamelan on this album. The Seattlecomposer and expert gamelan musicianJarrad Powell convincingly directs the extendedensemble of instrumentalists, choirand vocal soloists in the three works here.The Concerto for Piano with JavaneseGamelansolo instruments and the gamelan. The pianois retuned to match the gamelan. This is aneffect which provides bracing listening atthe slow cantabile movement, a Harrisonspecialty.A Soedjatmoko Set (1989) illustratingHarrison’s mature gamelan style, featuresJessika Kenney, an outstanding Americanmusical tasks: to convincingly nail a sort ofmagical amalgam of both Javanese and late20th c. American vocal style, articulation,timbre, intonation and mood, at the sametime. Together with the excellent liner notes,son’sideal of the peaceful coexistence ofworld music cultures, demonstrated here at avery high level indeed.—Andrew TimarThe long list ofnon-Indonesian composerswho havebeen intrigued andinspired by the instrumentsand musicof the gamelan (anindigenous Indonesianorchestra) goesback some 250 years. Starting with Jean-JAZZ AND IMPROVISEDPhilippe Rameau in the 18th c., the lineage- Tracing Lightto works of Steve Reich and to many more Laila Bialimusicians active today.Independent LB09102There was no more eager convert to the (www.lailabiali.com)everthan the American composer Lou Har- Laila Biali has had quite a year – adozens of works for various types of gamelans,Harrison served as a generous men-vocalist with Sting,new gig as backingtor to a generation of musicians who have a new baby and nowsubsequently taken the gamelan music modelinto their own musical domains. These in-Light” is the thirdclude Toronto’s Evergreen Club Contempor- solo album for the Vancouver-raised,The top-notch musicians of the latter per- composer.scale Harrison works for Central Javanese Although Biali started out her still-burgeoningcareer as a jazz piano player whoher singing that predominates. All the tunesexcept two – an instrumental and anotherdulhamid,both of which Biali composed –feature Biali’s light pretty voice, which is atdisc starts strong with an absolutely stunningcover of Imogen Heap’s Let Go, featuringLarnell Lewis’s exquisite drumming.(Lewis is a standout throughout the disc,turning in some of the most exciting drumwork I’ve heard in a long time.) The Best IsYet to Come is shaken out of its customarycasual groove and turned into a barn burnerwith Lewis and bassist and producer GeorgeKoller driving the tempo and Biali rightthere with them coolly and capably navigatingmultiple key changes. The disc closesout with Biali alone on Billy Joel’s And So ItGoes to which she adds a layer of harmoniccomplexity on piano and fathoms of emotionaldepth to the poignant lyrics.—Cathy RichesConcert Note: Laila Biali is performing alive-to-air concert with Lewis and Koller onThe Forgotten 1949 Carnegie Hall ConcertNat King ColeHEP Records CD 91 local music collectorand archivist has,since the 90’s, madea living restoring archivalrecordings.Recently he cameup with a winner –Carnegie Hall, never issued until now.Irving Ashby, guitar, Joe Comfort, bassand Jack Costanzo on bongos make up thetrio and the programme consisting, for thesmooth as silk with Cole’s smoky voice makingeach song sound as if it were written forhim. At the time the group was touring as a-The concert was recorded on acetates,a not uncommon practice at Carnegie inthose days. Bass and guitar are somewhatunderrecorded, not the fault of the restorationprocess, and I would have liked to heartake away from the overall feeling of beingpresent at a pretty special event.Congratulations to everyone involvedin making this performance available. Ifisn’t, you will want to add this one to yourcollection. Edinburgh, Scotland, owned by AlastairRobertson. The label has a catalogue of his-accessed at www.hepjazz.com.—Jim GallowayOne Take Volume FourJoey Defrancesco; Robi Botos;Vito Rezza; Phil DwyerAlma ACD11912(www.almarecords.com)72 thewholenote.comDecember 1, 2010 - February 7, 2011One Take is exactly what it says – a freewheelingsession of straight ahead jazz withno rehearsal, no edits, no overdubs – justfour masters of their craft blending theirskills together to create almost an hour’sworth of high octane jazz. take no prisoners when the music starts.Everybody is at the top of his game, althoughas a saxophone player I feel I have to

single out the play-who couldn’t playpoorly even if youpaid him to. Overthe years he has developeda maturityand depth in hisplaying which makehim stand out in any musical setting. Havingsaid that, every player on the session puts hisstamp on the music and you just know that tohear this band in a live setting would be anexperience to remember.It’s a well balanced programme, rangingTenderly to a roaringversion of Broadwaymusicians are well-known to Toronto audiences,Rezza and Botos being very active onmoving to Vancouver Island. Four” a listen.—Jim GallowayOur First SetJohn McLeod’sRex Hotel Jazz OrchestraIn my columnlast month I suggestedthat there arethree ingredientsto look for in jazz- swing, melodiccontent and a knowledgeof the roots. complete musicians I am privileged to knowand his dedication and musical philosophyare stamped on this programme of originalsand great standards. Four of the originalsare by John with additional contributionsthree superior standards, one of them ar-of the most rewarding albums I have heardthis year. It also serves to underscore justhow many great players we have in this city.Featured soloists include Andy Ballentine,O’Kane, Alastair Kay, John Johnson andgreat foundation for this star-studded musicalorganization.I can’t choose favourite pieces from thealbum. There are so many gems.This is not a recording you will listento once and put on the shelf. It deservesrepeated playing and will give pleasure manytimes over.—Jim GallowayPERHAPS ITbelongs ontelevision’sAntiques Roadshow.It’s a valuable sliceof Canadian jazzhistory – a treasuretrove in fact.Thirty-seven yearsago saxophonist Jim Galloway played withAmerican trombonist Vic Dickenson at awas recorded by Hogtown’s voice of jazz TedO’Reilly, who stored the tapes – and nowthey’ve been transcribed. The result is VicDickenson Jim Galloway – Live In Toronto(Castor Records 11 001 www.jimgalloway.ca), which is pure delight, Galloway on hisstraight soprano for once (and occasionallybaritone sax) matching wits with the king ofgrowls, smears and all-around soft-toned,Reed (drums), the session is relaxed, yetSonny Boyto the last of Just You, Just Me. It’s fabulousmainstream jazz, with journalist-drummerPaul Rimstead in for three of the dozentracks. Happily Galloway sounds today muchlike he did then but everyone who heardwith its immediately recognizable sound.The leaders both understand the blue notesand tasteful lyricism, and each gets his ownhis horn on Manha de Carnaval and Zingwent the Strings of my Heart and Galloway,wry and charming as ever on baritone withSolitude. This great record shows how thewisdom of age trumps the pretentious audacityof much jazz youth.Trumpeter LinaAllemano is at theforefront of freejazz innovation andglides appealinglyon Lina AllemanoFour – Jargon (LumoRecords LM 2010-4www.linaallemano.It’s Our JazzGEOFF CHAPMANcom) Fraser (drums). The leader composed all sevensongs, the opening Cannonball AdderleyTattoo not soulful but surging over churningbass and stimulating rat-a-tat drums. Thequartet treats time like a toy, sampling alldistanced viewpoint suits Wayne’s Shortsa nod to Shorter’s mysterious writing andplaying while Sling Slang is almost hardbop, textures colouring a sparse themewith uninhibited horns scrambling over anundulating rhythmic landscape. Water iswistful fragments, the title tune channelsanother altoist (Ornette Coleman) beforesliding into dissonance and feverish feeling,while fresh emotional tempests and pungentprobing conclude the session which, unfortunately,is far too short – just 40 minutes.Fraser is also hard atwork with new bandPeripheral Vision,co-led by bassistScott, whose debutalbum is the selftitledPeripheral Vision (Step3 Step3-001www.peripheralvisionmusic.com). Thisintricate forms that might seem relativelysimple but in fact are a dense thicket oftricky harmonies, demanding melodies andpunishing rhythms. However, along withtenorman Trevor Hogg, the band shapesinteresting paths along the divide betweeninside and outside playing. All the tunes areDecember 1, 2010 - February 7, 2011 thewholenote.com 73

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