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Volume 16 Issue 7 - April 2011

  • Text
  • April
  • Toronto
  • Symphony
  • Jazz
  • Orchestra
  • Organ
  • Violin
  • Recording
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  • Vocal

in G minor; the Partita

in G minor; the Partita No.1 in B minor;and the Partita No.2 in D minor. Shoji hasa full, warm sound, and is recorded with agood deal of resonance but great clarity. Hertechnique is superb, and her interpretationquite captivating: with its understated dynamics,the great D minor Chaconne makesan almost introspective ending to a fascinat-across the centuries. In fact, hearing theseworks side by side makes you realize justhow chromatic and stunningly ‘modern’Bach’s harmonic structures really were. Editor’s Note: Strings Attached continues atwww.thewholenote.com with The RomanticViolin Concerto Volume 10 (works byd’Erlanger and Cliffe performed by Philippeuteto Joseph Joachim by Daniel Hope)and Romantic Works for Violin (featuringChristine Raphael).MODERN & CONTEMPORARYSirocco – A Warm Breeze fromNewfoundlandSylvie ProulxCentaur Records CRC 3053(www.centaurrecords.com)Here is a delightfulsolo recording byCanadian guitaristSylvie Proulx featuringaccessible yetvirtuosic contemporarymusic for everyone,even those oneor two of you whodon’t like new music.Proulx is a technical and stylistic wizardon the guitar. She tackles the non-stopperpetual rapid momentum of the fourthmovement Presto in Carlo Domeniconi’sKoyunbaba with breathless ease. Her takeYork’s Sirocco are personal yet bang-onaccurate. The more Baroque-like qualities ofLeo Brouwer’s An Idea showcase her solidfoundation in a more classical rooted work,and her ability to conjure a more subtle andsoothing atmosphere from her instrument.movement of Roland Dyens’ Triaela whileshe gets to interpret more jazz and groovebased lines in its other two movements.The Theme and 10 Variations of ClarkRoss’ Variations on McGillicuddy’s Rant areas wide ranging in style as Proulx’s talent.From folk dance to jig to chorale to bluegrass,it was written over a 20 year periodyet is so cohesive in spirit and ideas that itsounds like it was composed after an afternoonat the pub. a listener’s interest in a solo recording (orrecital for that matter). Proulx’s guitarmakes “Sirocco” a recording that will keepone’s interest for a long time to come.—Tiina KiikJAZZ & IMPROVISEDBird SongsJoe Lovano; Us FiveBlue Note 509999 058610205Joe Lovano is acolossally creativejazz performer ona par with vintageSonny Rollins buton his 22nd albumfor Blue Note he’soutdone himself– with barely anoriginal composition to be heard. It’s atoughchallenge reinventing the classic materialof 20th century jazz master Charlie Parker,IT’S BEENYEARS sincesophisticateddrummer BarryElmes’ quintet enteredthe lists, butthe wait’s worthit for Barry ElmesQuintet – Redshift(Cornerstone CRST 127 www.cornerstonerecordsinc.com),a nine-tune sessionshowcasing leading jazzmen at the top oftheir game. The beat’s in a constant statetrumpeter Kevin Turcotte, guitarist RegSchwager and propulsive bass Steve Wallaceromp through seven artfully-arranged Elmesoriginals, joined on some tracks by hornmanKelly Jefferson and Montreal-based organistVanessa Rodrigues. The opening ReadingWeek is an appealing blues in ever-changingmeters and Stumpy updates “Pink Panther”themes with rugged tenor and glistening guitarthat counterpoints jagged passages elsewhere.All the Elmes rhythmically-chargedtunes suggest a long shelf life with their imaginativestructures and unspooling lines thatcreate their own elegant moments – and theyget sterling, probing and vigorous executionhere. Thus one can accept the leader’s indulgentinclusion of the hymn Abide With Me.A new album by Russ Little showing offhis vast trombone wares is always welcome,guaranteed to be both different from pastentries (like the outstanding “Footwork”and “On The Shoulders of Giants”) andbut Lovano with his band Us Five (votedjazz group of the year in Downbeat’s 2010poll) has achieved in spades what hordes ofjazzers have essayed with this rich repertoire- he’s made it sound new. Playing fourwoodwinds, mostly signature tenor sax, hetechnique, thorough comprehension ofmelodic and harmonic language and questingcuriosity. He’s backed on the 11 tunes bypianist James Weidman, Grammy-winningbassist Esperanza Spalding and two livelydrummers, Otis Brown 111 and FranciscoMela. Among many treasures you hear anelegant slow Donna Lee usually done atreckless speed, a funky Moose the Mooche,a Lover Man on G mezzo soprano sax, KoKo played in trio format with furious drumpolyrhythms, a mix of three of Bird’s blues(Blues Collage) featuring alto sax, pianoand bass, the extraordinary Birdyard withthe leader on aulochrome, a new instrumentcombing two soprano saxes and a mightyclosing Yardbird Suite. This disc’s a keeper.—Geoff ChapmanIt’s Our JazzGEOFF CHAPMANentertaining. HereRuss Little – SlowBurn (Rhythm TracksRTCD0014 www.russlittle.com) roams20th century musiccovering the musicalwaterfront fromJimmy van Heusenand Irving Berlin to Stevie Wonder andMarcus Miller. Plenty of guests enhance hisbasic quintet, with only drummer-arrangerBrian Barlow ever-present on seven longtracks that demonstrate Little’s ease whateverthe genre. The funky My Momma Told MeSo has two tenors and regular pianist TomSzczesniak on electric bass, the versatileleader offers soothing Glenn Millerisms onBody and Soul before jumping into liltingimprove, while Jive Samba features slickplaying by trumpeter Steve McDade beforeLittle delicately growls on his Latin journey.Overall, the pace is too leisurely and Littlecould have challenged himself more, buteach chart gets a colourful, subtle workoutwith strong contributions from skilfulsidemen.Canadian stars Ingrid and Christine Jensenhelp serve up a sonic treat on NordicConnect – Spirals (ArtistShare AS0097 www.ingridjensen.com). Together with Sweden’sMaggi Olin (piano) and Mattias Welin (bass)plus Alaskan drummer Jon Wikan, thesisters underscore the notion that jazz is artwith a program of lush and atmospheric,essentially cerebral music of superior quality.66 thewholenote.comApril 1 - May 7, 2011

Ingrid on trumpetin splendid form,clarity temperedwith a biting attack,Christine on alto andforcefully eloquent yet always tasteful. Withnine cuts and also a dab hand on FenderRhodes, they comprise a Pandora’s box offresh, clever ideas, narratives big on melodysculpted within ethereal surroundings,precise but never predictable. This isHer continued riseto the top is exem-soprano saxophonistTara Davidsonin her new releaseView (TD-11 www.taradavidson.ca).This seven tune setof originals, her third dasleader leader, embellishesher talent as a composer as well as a hornMike Murley protégé who comprehends theimportance of balance and contrast. Her colleagues– pianist James Reynolds, bass JonMaharaj and drummer Fabio Ragnelli – arefully in sync with her expansive ideas. Theopening Bunny, Bubs and Bodie has effectivealto long-line improv with supple phrasing,while Reynolds eases June into a re-before tempo is doubled for an undulatingscamper that suits the bustle and ebb ofthe boss’ notions. Elsewhere she displays awith Reynolds switching to electric piano.Tempos hew to the serene, which makes thebruising elements of South Western View awelcome, grittier proposition, but this albumis a classy contender for your wallet.EnterprisingWinnipeg pianistMichelle Gregoireis an intense andengaging performer,as you’llhear on Diversity,her second CD asleader (MG3332www.michellegregoire.com), ecom) aquintetoutoutingwith seasoned companions in tenor KirkMacDonald, trumpeter Kevin Turcotte, bassJim Vivian and drummer Ted Warren. Ofthe nine pieces three comprise the GratitudeSuite with Vivian offering a fourth, the soloGratitude Interlude. The opening title trackis typically intricate with a surging pulse,at their core. The minor key Dichotomyrumbles in hard bop idioms illuminat-Streak hasbandsmen to greater vigour. Throughout thesession she demonstrates an acute sense ofmood that’s perhaps most dramatic in thevaulting cadences of Three or Four in theMorning. More please.Pianist Amanda Tosoffa solid niche in Toronto since emigratingLookingNorth (Oceans Beyond Records OBR0008www.amandatosoff.com). With Evan Arntzen(saxes), Sean Cronin (bass) and MorganChilds (drums) plus guests she highlightsTHROUGHOUT JAZZhistory, independent labelstime. In the Swing era it wasCommodore; Modern jazz wasprominent on Blue Note andPrestige; and with ImprovisedMusic, FMP is one of the longestlasting imprints. Celebrating its40 th anniversary, the Berlin-based label hasgiven listeners a spectacular birthday presentwith FMP In Rückblick – In Retrospect1969-2010 (www.fmp-publishing.de):12 [!] CDs representing FMP’s past andfuture – the oldest from 1975, the newest,by American cellist Tristan Honsinger andGerman guitarist Olaf Rupp from 2010, halfpreviously unissued – plus an LP-sized,218-page book, lavishly illustrated withcontemporary photographs, posters, albumcovers and a discography.FMP’s musical scope was overwhelming.In this box, for instance, are discs by anearly Pan-European ensemble, the GlobeUnity Orchestra (GUO); solo sessions byBelgian pianist Fred Van Hove, Germanbassist Peter Kowald and others; outstandingcombo dates including British saxophonistEvan Parker and Swiss pianist IrèneSchweizer; and instances of minimalismfrom German string-player Hans Reichel andAustrian trombonist Radu Malfatti. FerociousGerman saxophonist Peter Brötzmann, whoalmost single-handedly formulated FreeMusic in Germany and helped create FMP,is represented on three CDs. No exercise innostalgia, the book outlines in unsentimentaldetails how the revolutionary climate ofthe late 1960s sustained the growth oftough, experimental, music modeled onvalue was that by 1971 it was recordingdistinctively European Free Music, blendinglayers of contemporary notated and electroacousticmusic, Fluxus art ideas plus folkbasedmaterial onto the American base.Triumphs such as FMP’s documentationof American pianist Cecil Taylor and itswide dissemination of essential American,a talent for catchycomposition andan impressivecommand of thekeyboard and theinevitable Rhodesat all tempos.Among a batch ofintriguing tunesM.I.A. struts delightfully and Concept 2010is most certainly compelling contemporarypiano, direct and thrusting. Tosoff conveys asense of resilient optimism in her creations,Something in the Air | FMP at 40KEN WAXMANEuropean and created-in-East-Germany discs are also noted.Broadminded, FMP neverasserted European musical superiorityhowever. For example,Steve Lacy Solo 1975 & Quintett1977 In Berlin CD 02 (FMP CD138), is a reissue by AmericansLacy on soprano saxophone;alto saxophonist Steve Potts; bassist KentCarter and drummer Oliver Johnson plusSwiss cellist Irène Aebi. The band’s superfastharmonies plus the contrast betweenPotts staccato and linear style and Lacy’sbugle-like moderato blowing atop Carter andJohnson’s Freebop backbeat, demonstratewhy the quintet was admired. Most of theCD consists of some of Lacy’s earliest solos,including The Duck. Characteristically thatthrilling improvisation is built from a collectionof kazoo-like reed bites, split-tone yelps,More details about this massive bookand set of CDs can be found at www.thewholenote.com where Something in theAir continues. April 1 - May 7, 2011 thewholenote.com 67

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