8 years ago

Volume 16 Issue 8 - May 2011

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  • Choir
  • Toronto
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performance from the deepest bellow to themost ethereal whisper. Conversely, the pianofeels distant and ominous, leaving reverberanttrails of melody in the background of thesoundscape.One can easily discern that these fourteensongs have been chosen and placed in orderwith much deliberation. Although they aresongs without words, a story unfolds in sucha way that one should surely listen to thisalbum from beginning to end.—John LaroqueJunjoEsperanza SpaldingAyva Music AYVA036( Music SocietyEsperanza SpaldingHeads Up International HUI-31810-02 A shockwavewent through thepop music communityand a smallthrill of delightwas felt by a lotJustin Bieber forthe recent GrammyAwards. Finallyhere was someonesomething otherthan an iPhone. Theyoung bass player and dsingerhassolidandsolid andthe prestigious Berklee School of Music inBoston where she went on to become theyoungest faculty member at age 20. Sheshe landed a spot in the Oregon ChamberMusic Society. And it all shows in her“Chamber Music Society,” for which shewon the Grammy. (Spalding has a third solo“Chamber Music Society” is produced bythe masterful Gil Goldstein (check his workon Karrin Allyson’s “Wild for You” and Bozimprovisation that is rife throughout hera bit and tempered by a string trio. Her singing– which was done completely withoutclassical side, without the encumbrance ofactual melodies for the most part. The exceptionis Loro, a brilliant vocal chord twist-Gismonti, which Spalding handles with ease.The most mainstream song on her latest discis the opening track Little Fly which is aWilliam Blake poem Spalding has prettily setto music. The disc then ventures through aseries of mostly Spalding compositions thatmix percussion from a variety of musicalcultures, courtesy of Terri Lyne Carringtonand Qunitino Cinalli, with angular stringtrio arrangements and Spalding’s solidacoustic bass playing. Spalding is a playfulperformer who stretches her considerableimagination and skills to the fullest.—Cathy RichesAll Baby Wants is MeRita di GhentGroove Classic ( her seventhand latest recording“All Baby Wantsis Me” evocativea tasty samplingof much lovedstandards as wellas two original compositions, ositions including thehaute-cabaret presentation and impeccablegood taste are in full swing on this highlythe bluesier numbers are well-served by hersmoky, understated vocal style – reminiscentof the late great Lee Wiley. -ensemble is nothing short of perfection, andand on this recording he also shows himselfto be a masterful accompanist – in the bestpossible Alan Broadbent sense. NicelySituated is a song in search of a Broadwayand melodic integrity. Other outstandingtracks include an up-tempo What a LittleMoonlight Can Do and George Gershwin’sKone of Canada’s premiertenor saxophonists, shin-latterly adding composinggifts to his arsenal. His JunonominatedKirk MacDonaldQuartet – Songbook Vol.2 (AddoAJR006 I’ve Got a Crush on You, replete witha gorgeous string arrangement and performancefrom Jaro Jarosil.—Lesley Mitchell-ClarkeElla and OscarElla Fitzgerald; Oscar PetersonOriginal Jazz Classics RemastersOJC-32693-02( than essential bonusOscar” – recordedMay 19, 1975 – is awelcome reissue thatwarrants repeatedlistening. Bassistassociated to both artists, appearsonfourtracks, but this is a decidedly duo effort thatfocuses on two close friends who happenedwould be dishonest; at the time, 58-year-oldFitzgerald’s failing health caused a goldenvoice that was previously 24-karat to tarnish;less than effortless. Thankfully there wasmore to the First Lady of Song than aand a chameleonic hypersensitivity to herhere are sumptuously spontaneous, fromthe miraculously phrased Midnight Sun toI Hear Musicevery ballad is enhanced considerably byPeterson’s performance, which is pitch-brightly dazzles on every solo taken, and asaccompanist, he displays an acute sensitivitythat was arguably lacking in his early years.The album’s most charming tracks are an8½-minute exploration of April in Parislively When Your Lover Has Gone, boastingglorious four-bar trades between voice andpiano that will likely never be equalled. TurnOscar smiling.—Ori DaganIt’s Our JazzGEOFF CHAPMANsionwith classy sidekicks thatcements his stature. The openingburner You See But YouDon’t Hear has power playingfrom all with Cuban-born pian-Swainson and whirling drum-66 thewholenote.comMay 1 – June 7, 2011

the leader’s invention and intensity whilesucceeding songs underline the presence ofvigorous probing spirits, plenty of mercurialent.Vanda Justina is a pleasing ballad, TheTorchbearers a surging up-tempo piece withinspired contribution from Virelles, whileStarlight and other tracks showcase dartingsolos with seamlessly evolving and thoroughlydeveloped ideas.Veteran trombon-alumnus of WyntonMarsalis’ LincolnCenter JazzOrchestra, holdsthe Oscar Petersonformanceat Yorkevidence of his talent. On Ron WestrayThomas Heflin – Live From Austin (BlueCanoe Records BCR-1094 he co-leads a hard bop quintet at theand alternating bassists and drummers,plus on four pieces starring tenor saxman(Exile: Remember The Homeless, Inside Outand demonstrates stunning agility with muscularopen tones that stop short of brash yetare always exciting. He’s clearly in the J.J.Johnson tradition, ever-rousing but sweetlyelegant when without doubt inCanada’s leadinghis diverse talentsin numerous genres.His newest venture –David Braid – Verge(DB 20110120 – is a solo effort comprisingeight pieces, six by him, a remodelling ofBroadway ditty The Way You Look Tonightand a traditional Chinese folk song. Onthe opener Le Phare he’s in Brad Mehldaumode, active counterpoint embellishing theences.You get a fulsome and quirky deconstructionof the standard tune done with witand superior craft, a spiritual treatment ofEl Castillo Interior and nods to contemporarypop structures with subtle chord alterationson Richmond Square. Braid exudessweetness as he creates complex narrativesover sheer power.Big bands have always been a Canadianfavourite (except perhaps in today’s parlousShift, led by JimJohn on alto saxand clarinet, isincreasing. A dozentunes includinga three-pack ofblues and popvehicle WhateverLola Wants onCollege, illuminate its well-drilled abilities.Swing Shift Big Band – Mostly Canadian,Eh! (Palais Records features livelyswing, strong charts and solid transcriptionsof versions by earlier Canuck greats like Artvary. My choice, tenor saxist Jeff Pighin,here.It’s always worthhearing Quebec’salto saxist FrançoisCarrier, a veteranof the improv scenewho never recordsthat’s off-puttingto listeners. Taped François Carrier –Entrance 3 (Ayler Records, a heady rompby his trio with Sweden’s Bobo Stensona piano-playing guest. Four collectively“composed” long workouts are alwaysambitious and adventurous with hugecontributions from the upright electric bassconstructed by Pierre Côté and regularCarrier companion Michel Lambert’sfrantically busy drums. Sax and piano swapsmart ideas with great urgency in a sessionthrobbing with energy and atmospherepeppered by heated moments, catchy hooksthat arrive and depart without overstayingtheir welcome and splendid passagessignalling imminent menace. Great stuff.The Toronto bandaim for the samevisceral impact,preferring to achieveits spontaneousaims by employingand contrastingabrupt shifts of mood and time, playfulsounds off the conventional music map andrumbling passages suggesting a Mingus-Engine –Start (Pet Mantis Records PMR007 an interesting disc, nineof its ten tersely-titled items from reedmanleaderPeter Lutek. Bandsmen, notablyArdelli trolling rhythmic possibilities withverve. Best crank-turning tune among manygood ones is the closing The Lawnmower,with Lutek et al at full wail.Something in the Air | Dutch Improvisers and Friends in TorontoAableimprovising musicians from the-players from different countries in Hollandthey see non-local musicians’ participationas additions to their music, not competition.These beliefs characterize twopresented by the Music Galleryat Lee’s Palace on May 18; whileIg Henneman’s Kindred SpiritsSextet is at Gallery 345 May 19.Violist Henneman’s comboincludes two Canadians, pianist MarilynLerner and clarinettist Lori Freedman plusMatsGustafsson, American saxophonist KenKEN WAXMANVandermark and Dutch trombonist WolterWierbos. A careful listen to some of theseplayers’ own CDs demonstrates the sort ofadaptability that characterizes these Dutchcentredcombos in general.A series of duos, Walter Wierbos – Deining(DolFijn Records 02 most intuitive when the trombonist’srugged and multiphonictimbres stack up against thosefrom the reeds of Ab Baars, whocoincidentally is a member ofthe Henneman band playing thefollowing night. On Buitengaats,for instance, Baars’ altissimo irregularlyvibrated warbling andlike chromaticism from the trombonist. Thisemphasis towards linear connections workseven more effectively on Op de Warf, asthe play-anything Bennink works his waystaccatissimo all around his kit – and theMay 1 – June 7, 2011 67

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