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Volume 18 Issue 5 - February 2013

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  • February
  • Toronto
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tured throughout the

tured throughout the album. There are alsofine solos from cellist Mike Karoub and pianistMike Karloff.All in all an enjoyable album from fourmusicians who respect and understand thetraditions of the music. As the back of thejewel case accurately says: “Classic jazz witha unique fresh sonority.” Thank you Hughfor your seemingly tireless dedication to thejazz of an earlier era. To buy the CD contactlealjazz@gmail.com. and it’s yours.—Jim GallowayPOT POURRIWhen I Arrived You Were Already ThereAviva ChernickIndependent AVGC-002avivachernick.bandcamp.com!!This is the soloCD debut for AvivaChernick, who alsoperforms as leadsinger of the JUNOnominatedgroup JaffaRoad. Jaffa Road, likemany of the othergroups she performswith, explores a wide variety of world music.This recording reflects her work leadingdevotional music in the Jewish community,including at a number of Toronto’s templesand synagogues.Her melodies on English and Hebrew textsare presented in a lovely, simple and accessiblechant-like style. They transport thelistener with a meditative and transcendentcharacter, while the accompanying musicianson a number of exotic instruments providemore intricate and varied textures elegantlylending elements of rock, jazz and worldfusion. One of the songs, Chadesh yameinu,borrows its melody with a tip of the hat to theIndian-Persian duo Ghazal.Aviva maintains a forthright manner andpurity of tone in her vocal style, as do hermany notable guest singers. The relationshipsof breath/spirit, creativity/divinity,nature/renewal, family and community areexplored on many levels in this deeply heartfeltand personal offering. The title When IArrived You Were Already There is an invitationto the listener to look deeply within andreturn to peace.—Dianne WellsAndrew Timar looks atLife Death Tears Dream,the latest from Vancouverbasedworld music trio,Orchid Ensemble. Online atthewholenote.com.Always find more reviews onlineat thewholenote.comFew cds will garner the immediateinterest of Test of Time(Cornerstone Records CRSTCD 140, cornerstonerecordsinc.com),previously unreleasedmaterial recorded in 1999 by thetrio of saxophonist Mike Murley,guitarist Ed Bickert and bassist SteveWallace. The trio’s only previous CDwon the 2002 Juno Award for bestmainstream jazz album, shortlyafter Bickert’s 2001 decision toretire from playing. Bickert maybe Canada’s most distinguishedjazz guitarist (his tenure withPaul Desmond might be enoughto establish that) but all hisgifts are in evidence here, thegentle propulsion of his chording,the perfect voicings when he’scomping and the brilliant linearflow of his improvised lines.There’s likely no better forum toshowcase his gifts than this triowithout drums, his every nuanceclearly audible and Murley andWallace ideal associates to bringout his best as both soloist andaccompanist. East of the Sun stands out.Myriad 3 is a group of young Toronto musiciansin the traditional jazz piano trio format,with Chris Donnelly on piano, Dan Fortin onbass and Ernesto Cervini on drums.Tell (ALMA ACD13112, almarecords.com),however, doesn’tstrongly suggest any traditionaltrio approaches. Instead thegroup’s affinities are with morerecent paradigms, like Sweden’sEST or the American trio Bad Plus.Myriad 3’s style is distinctly spareand strongly rhythmic, with elementsof classical and pop music frequentlyappearing. The opening Myriadmay suggest Satie in its modal grace,while Drifters emphasizes forceful,broken rhythms and dramaticallyunexpected piano chords. There’sa sense here of an equality of parts,each member playing in a sparse,assertively gestural style. When olderjazz elements appear, they’reequally lean and specific,whether it’s Duke Ellington’salmost monotone C Jam Blues orthe bluesy Horace Silver-style bopof Donnell’s Mr. Awkward.The Lina Allemano Four hasachieved remarkably consistentform, maintaining the same personnelfor their fourth consecutive CD (beginningwith Pinkeye in 2006). Trumpeter Allemanois joined by Brodie West on alto saxophone,Stuart BROOMERAndrew Downing on bass andNick Fraser on drums on Live atthe Tranzac (Lumo Records, linaallemano.com),the Torontobar providing a comfortable settingfor these close-knit, highlyconversational dialogues onthe leader’s compositions.The style is free jazz, the bandreminiscent of Ornette Coleman’soriginal quartet, but the musiccouldn’t be more disciplined,the band working hand-in-gloveto realize the most from each ofAllemano’s tunes.Tenor saxophonist MichaelBlake has long been established inNew York, where he’s best knownfor his decade-long membership inJohn Lurie’s high-profile LoungeLizards. He still maintains strongties to Vancouver, however, andhe has just released In the GrandScheme of Things (SonglinesSGL159-2, songlines.com) featuringa quartet with Vancouvermusicians. It’s a heady musicalblend that delights in contrastingsounds, from Blake’s own, often straightaheadtenor in lyrical ballad or forcefulup-tempo mode to passages of eerie, electronicallyaltered trumpet from JPCarter, techno and ambient electronicsound from Chris Gestrinon Fender Rhodes electric pianoand a Moog Micromoog synthesizerand percussion that rangesfrom traditional trap drummingto the metallic grit of scrapedcymbals from Dylan van derSchyff. It’s evocative work, but it’sBlake’s warm, keening tenor onthe soulful Treat Her Right thatleaves the strongest impression.The American composer andbandleader Sun Ra died in 1993,but his influence persists innew recordings from Montrealand Toronto. Bassist Nick Caloiahas been building the RatchetOrchestra since the early 90s. Attimes it’s been as small as a quartet,but the current personnel numbersaround 30. While the band hasperformed and recorded Sun Racompositions in the past, here theinfluence is apparent in Caloia’sown writing. It’s a mad explosionof sound that layers Caloia’s ceremonialmelodies over processional rhythms and athick undergrowth of improvising percussion.As heard on Hemlock (Drip Audio DA00820,dripaudio.com), the band has also assembled58 thewholenote.com February 1 – March 7, 2013

the strongest core of soloists you’re ever likelyto hear in a Canadian free-jazz band, includingthe reeds of Jean Derome, Lori Freedman,Christopher Cauley and Damian Nisensen,trombonists Tom Walsh and Scott Thomsonand guitarist Sam Shalabi. The vitality andhigh spirits are palpable and they sometimesexplode, as in the eruption of Beat poet BrionGysin’s permutational Kick that Habit Man.Toronto guitarist Ken Aldcroft’sConvergence Ensemble has released a 2-CDset of the leader’s compositions called SneakyPete/Slugs’ (Trio Records try 015, kenaldcroft.com).Disc one is a collection of piecesthat emphasizes sub-groups and solo improvisations;Disc two, by the full sextet, presentsSlugs’: Suite for Sun Ra, named for the NewYork club where Sun Ra once played regularly.It’s animated at once by Aldcroft’s melodiesand swaying rhythms, but it’s elevated bythe focused improvisations of the ensemble,from Aldcroft’s own divergent approaches(sometimes a lyrical minimalism, at othertimes tumbling, rapid flurries of notes) tothe extended techniques of trumpeter NicoleRampersaud, playing multiple tones at once,and trombonist Scott Thomson (yes, he managesto appear in both these bands) whoexplores seemingly contradictory low-pitchedwhistles. The final piece, combining themesfrom both Sneaky Pete and Slugs’, goesthrough numerous textures, highlighted bythe intensity of saxophonist Evan Shaw.More Aldcroft? Tiina Kiik’s review of twonew Ken Aldcroft “free improv” releases, onewith Joel Le Blanc and one with Andy Haas,can be found at thewholenote.com.Something in the AirPeter Brötzmann’s Triumphant Seventh DecadeKEN WAXMANAlthough the witticismthat “free jazz keepsyou young” has beenrepeated so often thatit’s taken on clichéstatus, there’s enough evidenceto give the statement veracity.Many improvisers in their eightiesand seventies are still playingwith the fire of performers in their twenties.Take German saxophonist Peter Brötzmann,who celebrated his 70th birthday and nearly50 years of recording a couple of years ago.Case in point is Solo +Trio Roma (Victo CD122/123, victo.qc.ca), recorded at 2011’sFestival International de Musique Actuellede Victoriaville (FIMAV) in Quebec. Not onlydoes Brötzmann play with unabated intensityfor almost 75 minutes, while fronting abassist and a drummer about half his age onone CD; but on the other inventively playsunaccompanied, without a break, for anotherhour or so. The multi-reedist still blows withthe same caterwauling intensity that characterizedMachine Gun, 1968’s free jazz classic,but now a balladic sensitivity spells his gofor-brokeexpositions.On Solo, his overviewis relentlessly linear mixing extended staccatocadenzas with passages of sweet romance thatmomentarily slow the narrative. Climacticallythe nearly 25-minute Frames of Motion isa pitch-sliding explosion of irregular texturesand harsh glissandi that seems thickas stone, yet is malleable enough to squeezethe slightest nuance out of every tune. Slyly,Brötzmann concludes the piece with garglingsplit tones that gradually amalgamateinto I Surrender Dear. Backed by Norwegianpercussion Paal Nilssen-Love and Italian electricbassist Massimo Pupillo, Brötzmannadds lip-curling intensity and multiphonicglissandi to the other program. Centrepieceis Music Marries Room to Room that continuesfor more than 69 minutes.Besides wounded bull-like criestempered with spitting glissandifrom the saxophonist, the pieceincludes jet-engine-like dronesfrom Pupillo as well as shatteringruffs and pounding shuffles fromthe drummer. Several times, justas it seems the playing can’t getany more ardent, it kicks up another notch.Indefatigable, the saxophonist spins out staccatoscreams and emphatic abdominal snortsin equal measures, with his stentorian outputencompassing tongue slaps, tongue stops andflutter tonguing. Brief solos showcase Pupillocrunching shards of electronic friction withbuzz-saw intensity, while Nilssen-Loveexposes drags, paradiddles, rebounds andsmacks, without slowing the beat. Thereare even lyrical interludes among the overblowingas Brötzmann occasionally bringsthe proceedings to a halt for a capella sequences,which suggest everything from Taps toBetter Git It in Your Soul. Finally the brokenoctavenarrative reaches a point of no returnto wrap up in a circular fashion with yelpingreed cries, blunt percussion smacks anddense electronic buzzes. Rapturous applausefrom the audience spurs the three to go at itagain at the same elevated concentration foran additional five minutes.For reviews of other discs by Brötzmann,with trumpeter Toshinori Kondo; pianistMasakiko Satoh and drummer TakeoMoriyama plus two younger saxophonists,Ken Vandermark and Mats Gustafsson,see the continuation of this column atthewholenote.com.Berlioz reimagined by French free musicensemble La Marmite Infernale? KenWaxman’s review of Le Cauchemar d’Hectoris also on our website.February 1 – March 7, 2013 thewholenote.com 59

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