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Volume 17 Issue 4 - December 2011

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work I know. His Etude

work I know. His Etude Fantasy (1976)struck me as an outstanding and originalwork when I heard dedicatee James Toccoplay it shortly after it was composed.Oppens’ interpretation maintains awonderful sense of fantasy, while rising to become strenuous technical exercises. Forexample, Etude No.3: Fifths to Thirds hand beautifully.Pianist and pedagogue Jerome Lowenthaljoins Oppens in works for two pianos.In the evocative Chiaroscuro (1997) forpianos a quarter tone apart, the secondpiano suggests variously an out-of tuneinstrument, or “blue” notes, or high-registertinkling chimes! And in the early Fantasia(1959) Corigliano emerges as an Ivesianproto-Magic Realist, already with his ownremarkable technique and colour-palettewell established.— Roger KnoxSonando Caminos: Guitar WorksDaniel BolshoyThe latest CDfrom the otstandingCanadian guitaristDaniel Bolshoyfeatures the musicof Eduardo Sainz dela Maza (1903–82),one of two Spanishguitarist/composerbrothers whose lives spanned most of the20th century. Bolshoy has a direct link tothe other brother, Regino Sainz de la Maza(1896-1981): one of Regino’s students wasRicardo Iznaola, with whom Bolshoy studiedat the University of Denver.Unlike his brother, Eduardo rarelycomposed in the traditional Spanish particularly by the music of Ravel andDebussy. The works here are mostly fromthe 1960s and 1970s, and are beautifullycrafted and immediately accessible. Theeight-movement Suite Platero y Yo (Plateroand I) is the centerpiece of the recital: itwas inspired by Juan Ramón Jiménez’s 1956Nobel Prize-winning prose-poetry about awriter and his donkey, and the short excerptsfrom the chosen poems that the composerincluded in his score are also included herein Bolshoy’s excellent booklet notes.Eight shorter original pieces and threearrangements—La Paloma, the cowboy songColorado Trail and Swanee River, complete adelightful and thoroughly enjoyable CD thatruns for over 77 minutes.Bolshoy has a full, warm tone, with Recorded at the beautifully resonant SalleFrancoys-Bernier at Domaine Forget inQuebec, the sound is close and intimate.— Terry RobbinsShapeshifter Accordions in Many GuisesT I I N A K I I KAs an accordionist since childhood, Ihave seen the popularity of my instrumentrise and fall in a fashion similarto current money markets. The accordionis on a sharp rise again at the moment,with a number of new releases that featureits rhythmic and melodic sensibilities in avariety of styles.Finnish accordionist/composer Antti Paalanenshowcases his enviablebellows control and minimalistcompositional ideas in thesolo release Breathbox (Siba. TheFinnish landscape is depictedmusically in tracks likethe heavy long tones and loopinggrooves of Permafrost and theethereal high pitched harmonies ofNorthern Wind. The tiny detailedtones of Mementos waltz areas touching as looking at one’sfavourite keepsakes. Paalanen isan excellent instrumentalist fullyin control. Many of the repeated edmusical ideas seem to bedrawn from traditional folkmelodies creating an excitingand accessible “cross-over”effect, though some lengthypassages, especially in Gaza,could use a bit of editing.Accordionist RobertKusiolek showcases his playing,compositional and electronicsskills in Nuntium (Multikulti. Along with AntonSjarov, voice/violin, KsaweryWojcinski, double bass, and KlausKugel, drums, etc., Kusiolek createsan atonal musical environmentin seven chapters. The slow-movingvocal/violin improvisational moodof Chapter 1 sets the stagefor a diverse range of ideasthat is unbelievably coherent.Chapter 4, with its intricateconversations between theinstruments, is the highlight.Each player is a star, with theaccordion driving the jazzymusic. The free improvisationalfeel of Nuntium addsto the unique sound of the accordion in thisensemble setting.The bandoneon with its free reedmechanism, is a distant relative of theaccordion, so the inclusion here of Navidad Bandoneonist/composer Dino Saluzzibreathes sonic beauty into this “Christmasin the Andes” ensemble collection. Theexcellent programmatic liner notes provide aguiding hand through the 11 tracks withoutgetting lost in technical details, aiding thelistener to envision the Christmas story in apersonal way. From the arid, bleak openingtrack, many South American musicaltraditions (like the ever popular Tango) arebrilliantly performed by Saluzzi, cellist AnjaLechner and tenor sax/clarinettistFelix Saluzzi.The Tarkovsky Quartet is the brainchildof composer/pianist FrançoisCouturier. His music, which isinspired by the work of the late the name of the quartet—drawsupon hislife and work. Couturier’snew age tonal music shiftsslowly like a scene frozeninlush cinematographyallowing Parisianaccordionist Jean-LouisMatinier to sit on long heldnotes with solemn colour.Cellist Anja Lechner andsoprano saxophonist Jean-MarcLarche add their own uniquecontributions to the mix. Thoughthe impressionistic compositionsare in the style of movie music, itisthe collective improvisations onthree tracks that are the highlights.Here the harmonic world openstomore punchy chords whileaccordion melodies race extreme staccatos.Now, literally, off tothemovies. Uniko (Cmajorwas written byFinnish rock star status accordionist/vocalistKimmoPohjonen and his colleague,electronics master SamuliKosminen. The Kronos Quartetwas introduced to Pohjonen’s musicwhile on tour in Finland, and lovedhow he had expanded the possibilitiesof the accordion. All are but the stark stage set and lightingsupports the stark rhythmic explosivenessof the music. The loopingDo not be misled by Pohjonen’s on-stagepersona — his expertise on the accordion issolid. However, it always amazes me thatnobody ever needs to turn a page…There is a vast world of music availablefor the accordion and it should be nosurprise that in solo and ensemble settingsthe “squeezebox” keeps pushing and pullingits way into contemporary music.80 thewholenote.comDecember 1 – February 7, 2012

JAZZ & IMPROVISEDThe VipersThe VipersIndependentwww.silverbirchprod.comThe self-titled CDfrom bluesy jazzgroup The Vipers isa treat from start to group members PatCarey and HowardMoore, the discfeatures dynamicvocalist Sophia Perlman and additional bandmembers Mitchell Lewis, Ross MacIntyreand Jeff Halischuk. Guitarist and arrangerTed Quinlan also guests on some of thedisc’s strongest tracks.The tasty opener, East of the Sun, West ofthe Moon (Brooks Bowman), has no shortageof swing. The horns are arranged in tight,Med Flory-inspired lines while Perlman’sglorious alto soars with maturity and all theright musical decisions. Her husky, JuneChristy-ish tone is the perfect complement toQuinlan’s crisp, lyrical guitar line. VocalistPerlman also shines on That’s Why I’mCryin’ — a rarely performed gem by bluesicon Koko Taylor. Perlman’s approach isall at once soulful, gut-wrenching, funkyand provocative.Other stand outs include You Make MeFeel So Young (Myro/Gordon), a charmingduet with Perlman and Moore that bringsto mind the duets of Ray Charles and BettyCarter, and an energetic arrangement of OldDevil Moon from Burton Lane’s Broadwaysmash, Finian’s Rainbow. The tune is anup-tempo cooker with vibrant guitar fromQuinlan and drum solo from Halischuk.Also notable is an evocative version of BillieHoliday’s Don’t Explain, which is literally Perlman’s breathtaking and chameleon-likevocal instrument.— Lesley Mitchell-Clarkerecorded here in 1963, with Henry Grimes’stentorian walking bass timbres and Dennis saxophonist Steve Lacy and trombonistRoswell Rudd were already so familiar withthe Monk canon that they were able to createtheir own swinging variations on such nowfamiliarMonk fare as Monk’s Dream andBrilliant Corners.The seven spiky and unconventionalsongs, recorded in a New York coffee houseby the late Toronto poet Paul Haines, thenresident in Manhattan, demonstrate howLacy’s gritty, yet lyrical tones imposinglyblended with the modern gutbucket stylingof Rudd. These treatments of Monk’s inimitablecompositions also suggest the distinctiveconcepts that would help Lacy (1934–2004)develop into a major improviser and admiredcomposer during the rest of his life.As an added bonus this reissue containstwo bootleg sound-quality tracks —not recordedby Haines —from a 1960 jazz festivalappearance with Lacy as a member of aMonk combo of heavyweights, the pianist,drummer Roy Haynes, bassist JohnOre and tenor saxophonist Charlie Rouse.Historically matchless, the versions of Ba-Lue Bolivar Ba-Lues-Are and Skippy provideinsight, showing how Lacy’s tart, taut tonecreated a sonic role for itself within the tightknitgroup’s performances.— Ken WaxmanIn the MoonlightSophie Milmanwww.eonemusic.caVocalist Sophie Milman’s latest disc, Inthe Moonlight is a trip through the GreatAmerican Songbook (with a short detour byway of Feist) whichplaces her on a newtier of her remarkableevolution as ajazz vocalist. MsMilman is the veritableGrace Kellyof jazz—elegant,beautiful, skilledand always in good taste. Produced by MattPierson (who is responsible for discoveringjazz star Joshua Redman, among others), theCD was recorded at famed Sear Sound inNYC and boasts an all-star line-up of jazzluminaries such as Gerald Clayton, LewisNash, Romero Lubambo, Randy Breckerand Chris Potter, matched with innovativearrangements by Rob Mounsey, GeraldClayton, Julian Loge, Gil Goldstein, AlanBroadbent and Kevin Hayes. In addition,we are treated to six tracks with orchestralcomponents —inspired settings for Milman’sluminous voice and persona.This recording is the splendid result ofexquisitely talented pairings between instrumentalists,arrangers and vocalist. TheOscar winning title track was written by The Sabrina. Milman’s version utilizes stringsin interplay with her lower register, in orderto capture every romantic nuance. FromThe Music Man comes ’Til There Was You,rendered by Milman with a profound intimacy–anew twist on this familiar Broadwaypowerhouse. Also wonderful is SergeGainsbourg’s romantic Ces Petits Riens, enhancedby atmospheric accordion work frompianist/arranger Gil Goldstein. Milman’squick, parfait-like vibrato and impeccable is a beautifully produced, recorded and performedCD —a perfect holiday gift!— Lesley Mitchell-ClarkeIt’s Our JazzG E O F F C H A P M A NSchool DaysSteve Lacy; Roswell Rudd; Henry Grimes;Dennis Charleswww.emanemdisc.comNearly 50 yearslater it seems unbelievable,but thisall-star quartet brokeup after a couple ofyears of almost nowork because fewwanted to support aband that exclusivelyplayed what was then thought of as far-outmusic by pianist/composer TheloniousMonk. Yet, on the basis of the materialIs it possible to sound better than perfect?This improbable intellectual puzzlecame to mind thanks to the new CD fromGuido Basso been exemplary but he’s surely attained newheights on Changing Partnerscdbaby.com), an 11-tune excursionrecorded over two years in duet formats. These settings,with no plan, no charts and norehearsal, result in playing that’soften passionately inspirational,with wit and bravura technique added to His colleagues are pianists Robi Botos, JohnSherwood and Don Thompson plus guitaristsLorne Lofsky and Rob Piltch. Botos is a particularlyeffective foil on three cuts, notablya sparkling There Is No Greater Love and afrolicking Down By The Riverside but thereare no duds here. On Goodbye Basso adds amoving segment employing latebandleader Rob McConnell’svalve trombone in honour of hislong-time associate. Apparentlythere’s plenty of material availablefor a second volume. Doit soon.Another stylish veteran trumpeteris Montreal’s Kevin Dean,always eloquent and always striking. OnKevin Dean Quartet – A Message From TheDecember 1 – February 7, 2012 thewholenote.com 81

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