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Volume 19 Issue 3 - November 2013

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to Mike Murley, Terry

to Mike Murley, Terry Promane, Jef Deeganand John MacLeod who lay down the richlayers of sound which add so much to theoriginal compositions of Mike Murley. If youlisten carefully to the final track, “Can’t YouSee,” you might just recognize the chordchanges of “It’s You Or No One.” Murley is thefeatured soloist displaying his usual formidabletalent along with members of the U ofT Jazz Orchestra. I am constantly amazedat the technical proficiency of so many oftoday’s young musicians, talents that areamply demonstrated on this recording, withseven members of the orchestra sharing solohonours with Murley.The CD will be available through Indie Pool,Amazon and will have distribution on iTunes.—Jim GallowayLive at MusideumDon Naduriak and XavierjazzIndependent!!Don Naduriakpiano, Bill McBirnieflute, Russ Littletrombone, DuncanHopkins bass, JoaquinHidalgo drums. Allcompositions andarrangements byDon Naduriak.Don Naduriak has been active in establishingLatin music in Canada with hisbands Salsa Con Clave and his current groupXavierjazz. This CD was recorded before anaudience at the Musideum. For those of youwho are not familiar with the venue, createdby composer Donald Quan, it is quite unlikeany other in that it is also a retail store situatedin downtown Toronto at Richmond andSpadina and stocked with rare and unusualinstruments. As a venue it is unique and as astore it is certainly worth visiting even if thereis no performance scheduled.Now to the CD. If you like your music Latin,this is for you. The two horn players handlethe ensemble passages fluently and thoseof you who are familiar with the playing ofRuss Little and Bill McBirnie know that thesolo department is in good hands. That said,one of the most enjoyable tracks for me, “BigJoe Beam” — nice pun — is a feature for DonNaduriak. This is music performed by giftedartists who are very much at home in thegenre and is well worth a listen.—Jim GallowayDreamMichele MeleIndependent GKM!!In her second inspired collaboration withproducer Greg Kavanagh, luminous vocalistand contemporary jazz composer MicheleMele has once again created a recording oforiginal music that is as accessible, captivatingand refreshing as a perfect spring day.Mele’s life is her musical canvas, and sheallows her clever lyricsand delightfully contagiousmelodic linesto give us a glimpseinto her most intimatefeelings — and thoserelatable, humanemotions are consistentlyrendered withpurity, honesty and high musicality.Dream has been expertly producedand arranged by Kavanagh, and Mele hassurrounded herself with a stellar cast thatincludes trumpet/flugelhorn icon GuidoBasso, piano genius Robbi Botos and firstcallsaxophonist John Johnson. AlthoughMele never panders to us with over-troddenstandards or gratuitous scat singing, she is aserious jazz composer, lyricist and vocalistwho simply prefers to colour outside the linesa wee bit — not unlike Bob Dorough, DaveFrishberg, Blossom Dearie or Mose Allison.Standout tracks include the title song,which lures the listener directly into Mele’sbeautiful “dream” — lulled along by thesinewy, rich saxophone of Johnson, Botos’crystalline piano work and Mele’s sensualand swinging signature vocal sound. Thegreat Guido Basso also lends his own specialmagic to the CD, particularly on the track“The More” — sung in English, Spanish andFrench by the multilingual Mele. Also of noteare the touching compositions, “Intimacy,”which is breathtakingly beautiful and featuresa heartrending lyric, and also the witty “Anti-Magiana,” which utilizes intricate Latinrhythms expertly played by brothers Lewand John Mele on bass and drums, as well asrichly layered vocal nuances.—Lesley Mitchell-ClarkeSmall ChoicesPapetti-Manisalco-RubinoAUT Records 006!!Why not improviseon so-called classicalmusic themes isa question increasinglyanswered in thepositive by adventurousplayers of everygenre. Thus the Italiantrio involved in SmallChoices dedicates more than half this CD tosuch prestidigitation.These are serious improvisations, not ajazzy overlay of notated music however.Which means that when bassist GiacomoPapetti, pianist Emanuele Maniscalco andGabriele Rubino on piccolo, soprano andbass clarinets deal with themes by Sibelius orLigeti they bring the same freedom to experimentwith them as they would with tunes byEllington or Monk.“Fine del Tempo,” for instance, inspired byMessiaen’s Quatuor pour la Fin du Temps,adds a rhythmic undertow, and before recappingthe head, stretches the theme withunbroken trills from Rubino, Papetti’s slapbass plus Maniscalco’s repeated note clusters.On the other hand, Escape from Ainola, takenfrom Sibelius’ Fifth Symphony, maintainspanoramic echoes with resonating chordsfrom the keyboard and a buzzing bass line.Here Rubino creates the bonding ostinato asthe others interject sub-motifs or decorate thebrooding theme.Solid definitions and identifications areproven unfeasible on some of the othertracks however. With sweeping piano glissandi,double bass thumps and a melodypropelled by delicate soprano clarinet sweeps,“Nascondere” appears to be another contrafactof classical notated music. Instead it’s acompletely original composition by Papetti.Two of the three players here earnedadvanced conservatory degrees in bothnotated and improvised music. AlthoughManiscalco, in contrast, is an autodidact — likeSchoenberg and Elgar — this sort of jazz-classicalcrossover will likely become muchmore common in the future. “Small Choices”shows the way.—Ken WaxmanTriple PlayRussell MaloneMaxJazz MXJ607This Side of StrayhornTerell StaffordMaxJazz MXJ408! ! Here are tworeleases on theMAXJAZZ label whichwas founded in 1998and is now releasingits albums via theMAXJAZZ website andwith internationaldistribution by Naxos.Russell Malone’sTriple Play (RussellMalone guitar, DavidWong bass, MontezColeman drums)features four nicelymelodic originals byMalone and sevenby others rangingfrom “Butch And Butch” by Oliver Nelsonto the seldom heard “The Kind Of Girl SheIs” by Alan and Marilyn Bergman and DaveGrusin. There is also a beautifully sensitivesolo performance of the Alex North composition“Unchained Melody.” This is a very satisfyingCD and a welcome addition to any jazzcollection.Terrell Stafford’s This Side of Strayhornfeatures Stafford on trumpet and flugelhorn,Tim Warfield, on soprano and tenor saxophone,Bruce Barth piano, Peter Washingtonbass and Dana Hall drums. An album dedicatedto the compositions of Mr. Strayhornis off to a good start and this one followsthrough with some formidable playing byStafford and his fellow musicians. One of thetracks is “Lana Turner” which, in case you’re72 | Novemberr 1 – December 7, 2013

wondering, was later re-titled “Charpoy.”The CD is a rich cross-section of Strayhorn’samazing output, running the gamut from“Lush Life” to “Smada” via “Day Dream.”The excellent arrangements are by BruceBarth who also adds some first rate solos.But it is the melodic warm sound of Stafford,ably accompanied by Tim Warfield thatstays with me.If these releases are typical of the MAXJAZZcatalogue I can only say that I look forward tohearing more.—Jim GallowayAfter BlueTierney SuttonBFM Jazz!!Tierney Sutton, thefive-time Grammynominatedjazzsinger has turned herconsiderable talents toJoni Mitchell’s musicon this, her tenthrelease. After Blue isa collection of covers,mostly from Mitchell’s heyday in the 70s and80s, and includes some of her more popularhits like “Big Yellow Taxi,” “Woodstock”and “Both Sides Now.” The challenge withcovering much-loved songs such as these is tobe innovative enough to not slavishly mimic,without straying so far from the original asto render the songs unrecognizable. Suttonand the band have managed to strike that finebalance, largely by staying true to Mitchell’svocal lines while introducing clever newtreatments and arrangements through theinstrumental accompaniment.The band members on After Blue are notSutton’s regulars and include such greatsas Al Jarreau (the 73-year-old is a gas on BeCool), Hubert Laws, Peter Erskine (who wasMitchell’s drummer on Both Sides Now andMingus) and Larry Goldings. But it’s thework of the Turtle Island Quartet that reallyelevates some of these tunes, in particular“Little Green,” a simple song from Mitchell’searly days that here gets made over into acontrapuntal beauty. Cellist Kevin Summershines as his solo work with Sutton on “All IWant” is multi-textured and lively. Although“Dry Cleaner from Des Moines” is fun in itsstripped down, beatnik form here, it doesn’thold a candle to the energy of the original.In general, this is a low-key, thoughtfulalbum and a wonderful tribute to a mastersongwriter.—Cathy RichesAlways find more reviewsonline at thewholenote.comIn 2007 trumpeter David Buchbinderreleased a CD called Odessa/Havana,an innovative mix of Eastern Europeanklezmer and Latin American dancerhythms that touched on their commonroots in the Middle East and AndalusianSpain. It was a brilliant success,finding genuine internationalacclaim. Odessa/Havana returnswith Walk to the Sea (Tzadik 8177,, a sequel thatpossesses even greater resonance,moving beyond the originalinstrumentals of the first CD toinclude songs from the Judeo-Spanish Ladino tradition, with pianistHilario Durán’s arrangementsof older songs andBuchbinder’s fresh settings ofpoems by Lina Kohen Albukrek,sung here by Maryem HassanTollar. The work is filled withrare grace and power, combiningBuchbinder’s lyricism and Durán’sfire with an ensemble that isalive with varied percussion andvernacular fretted instrumentsfrom the middle-Eastern oud tothe Cuban très. John Johnsoncontributes orchestral colour on ahost of reeds and brings an explosive,dancing freedom with histenor saxophone.It’s a Free Country ( Montreal-based trumpeterCraig Pedersen and bassist JoelKerr may be unusual enoughas a trumpet-bass duo, but thematerial makes it stranger still:it’s largely devoted to country andwestern themes approached from avariety of vantage points, includingstraightforward readings of tunes toexploratory free improvisation. Youknow something different is afoot on theopening title tune, with voices intoning: “It’sa free country/ but only for me.” Mixing inoriginal compositions, it’s always unpredictable:Pedersen’s own “Williams Lake” hasthe clarity and grace of a gospel choir singingin a clearing in the woods; J.P. Webster’s“Wildwood Flower” has trumpet and arcobass in unison; Willie Nelson’s “Crazy” beginsin sputtering free improvisation long beforeits famous melody emerges. It’s consistentlyplayful, imaginative work that’s somehowtrue to both the emotional directness ofcountry music and the oblique abstractionof current improvisation, just not at thesame time.Wide-open spaces also inspire composer/reed player Rob Mosher, who grew up in thevillage of Greenwood, Nova Scotia, moved toSTUART BROOMERToronto for composition studies, then settledin New York. His recent suite, Polebridge(, reflects both his mobilityand his keen sense of place, as he goes furtherafield for inspiration. Polebridge, Montanais a hamlet of 88 people, the same numberas the keys on a piano, and whenMosher arrived there he found anold piano abandoned in a lane.That image colours the music,a genuine chamber jazz mutation:there’s a seamless interplayof composed and improvisedelements that draw inspirationfrom sources as diverse as AaronCopland and klezmer as well as theimages of a western town outside oftime. The group foregrounds thevirtuoso trumpeter Micah Killionand pianist Stephanie Nilles, butthe score is alive with unusualtimbres, from country fiddleand mandolin to English hornand bassoon.It’s rare to hear a jazz quintetthat similarly explores sonority,but that’s Toronto guitarist HarleyCard’s frequent emphasis on hissecond CD as leader, Hedgerow(DYM002, with his own guitarchoices, from the sparkling,icy clarity of his electric on GetThere to the warm, ringing, steelstringacoustic of “Helicopters andHolograms.” The emphasis extendsto his band and his compositions:Tenor saxophonist David Frenchalso plays bass clarinet, MattNewton plays acoustic andelectric piano and, among theshifting rhythm players, Jon Maharajplays acoustic and electric bass. That love ofmutating sonorities works hand-in-glovewith Card’s fondness for short, repeatingfigures with modulating harmonies, evidentin tunes like “Hedgerow” and “Sophomore.”Whether the ultimate effect is pensive orcelebratory, Card plays and writes witha keen sense of mood and emotionalcommunication.Bop is at the source of most forms ofmodern jazz, whether it’s the harmoniclanguage of cool jazz, the aggressive swing ofhard bop or the spiky melodies and rhythmsof free jazz, but it’s rare to hear bop stronglyevoked today. The Miles Black Trio with GrantStewart (Cellar Live CL041313,, recorded at Vancouver saxophonistCory Weeds’ Cellar Jazz Club, does just that.Tenor saxophonist Stewart can suggest thecompound messages of the great DexterGordon, lush and hard-edged, relaxed November 1 – December 7, 2013 | 73

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