5 years ago

Volume 19 Issue 6 - March 2014

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  • Toronto
  • April
  • Jazz
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  • Bloor
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Many musicians act as

Many musicians act as theirown agents, produceand distribute their ownrecordings and promote theirown concerts, but a few takeon far greater roles, developingperformance spaces and recordlabels, helping create vital scenes.Three such figures are Vancouver’s CoryWeeds, Toronto’s Ken Aldcroft andRimouski’s Éric Normand.Tenor Saxophonist CoryWeeds is an all-purpose advocatefor mainstream modern jazz,running Cory Weeds’ Cellar JazzClub and the very active CellarLive label. Canada/U.S. musicalexchanges figure in three recentreleases. Let’s Go! (CL documents Weeds’visit to New York’s Smoke JazzClub with his regular associates,pianist Tilden Webb, bassist KenLister and drummer Jesse Cahill,and adds New York trombonistSteve Davis. Recorded at the endof a 19-performance tour, the experienceshows. The music is a pure distillationof hard-bop, featuringtight-knit, spirited playingthroughout, highlighted by themuscular lyricism of the tenor/trombone combination. A highlightis a reflective rendering ofthe late trombonist/pianist RossTaggart’s ballad Thinking of You.The recording venue switches to Weeds’own club for American guitarist PeterBernstein with the Tilden Webb Trio (CL042613). Along with bassist Jodi Proznick,Webb and Cahill are once again models ofsupport: Webb a worthy foil to Bernstein,turning out long lines that coil and twist, alivewith melodic surprise, and Cahill providinganimating drive and prodding rhythmicdetail. With a distinctive singing tone, raresustain and inspired virtuosity, Bernsteinfinds new dimensions in standards and jazzclassics, from a heart-felt Darn that Dreamto elegiac renderings of John Coltrane’s WiseOne and John Lewis’ Django.The cross-border emphasis continues withtenor saxophonist Pete Mills’ Sweet Shadow(CL 070813). Originally from Toronto (hisCD includes a photo of Charlie Parker’s autograph,collected at the 1953 Massey Hallconcert by his father, Ernie), Mills, whoteaches at Denison University in Ohio, isa wildly inventive player with a light, airysound and solid fundamentals. Sam Riversand Joe Henderson likely number among hisSTUART BROOMERinspirations, while histhemes include RolandKirk’s Serenade to aCuckoo and DiamondsAre a Girl’s Best Friend.Aided by a first-rate NewYork band that includesguitarist Pete McCannand drummer Matt Wilson,Mills also plays twofreely improvised duetswith Wilson.Since migratingfrom Vancouvermore than adecade ago,guitarist Ken Aldcroft hasbecome an essentialfigure in theToronto improvisedmusic scene, producingperformanceseries and acting asone of the founders ofAIMToronto, an associationof improvisers.Documenting his ownwork on his Trio Recordssince 1997, Aldcrofthas just released twocontrasting sessions.Aldcroft’sConvergenceEnsemble is his principalgroup, a long-standing quintetthat has been a laboratory for his developingcompositional approach. Saskatoon(TRP-017 recorded at the Bassment in 2007, so it’sclearly an old performance with enduringsignificance. Alto saxophonist Evan Shaw,trombonist Scott Thomson, bassist Wes Nealand drummer Joe Sorbara share Aldcroft’scommitment to the group, and it’s apparentin every instant of this music, a consistentcollective creation on Aldcroft’s themes. OurHospitality cleverly integrates free jazz, swingand instrumental click languages.For sheer playfulness, there’s Aldcroft’sduo with drummer Dave Clark, Hat andBeard: The Music of Thelonious Monk.Their second all-Monk program, Reflections(TRP-018), extends Monk’s own assertiverhythms, clashing phrases and unlikely chordchanges. The approach, with Clark’s explosive,weirdly precise cacophony and Aldcroft’sacid-toned minimalism, may owe as muchto the members of Captain Beefheart’s MagicBand as to Monk himself. It’s all a delight, butPannonica and Monk’s Dream are stand-outs.While Weeds and Aldcroft work in majorpopulation centres, bassistÉric Normand, through sheercreativity, commitment andenergy, has somehow madeRimouski, Quebec a hotbed forfree improvisation, producingconcerts, drawing in internationalguests and releasing musicin a welter of media on his Tour deBras label.The acronym GGRIL mayidentify the large ensembleGrand Groupe Régionald’Improvisation Libérée, but italso suggests “guerrilla,” emblematicof Normand’s adaptive andspontaneous rebellion. GGRIL hasreleased one of the year’s mostbeautiful records, Combines a redvinylLP in a clear plastic sleeve,(TDB 990001LP There’s a delightful senseof community get-together in themusic, whether it’s using chancemethodologies or two conductorssimultaneously leading a collectiveimprovisation, and it extends to theunlikely combination of instrumentalists:multiple percussionists,bassists, and guitaristswith an accordionist among thefeatured voices.At the opposite pole ofmedia, there’s the insubstantialRrrrrrrrrroyal Canadian Free FormFolk Experience ( bythe trio of Normand, Halifax-based guitaristArthur Bull, and Toronto percussionist BobVespaziani, also known as the Surruralisms.Available as a paid download or freestreaming audio, the work consists of a singlehalf-hour improvisation called Batoche’sBattle, a brilliant realization of Normand’saesthetic, melding folk materials and instrumentswith the most radically concentrated,minimalist, electroacoustic improvisation. It’san invitation to sample one of Canada’s mostcreative musical visions.Normand has also released the latestmusic by the Montreal-based trio PinkSaliva, with trumpeter Ellwood Epps, bassistAlexandre St-Onge and drummer MichelF. Côté also exploring electronics. Availableas a download or a micro-edition CD, Ilparait que... (TDBW0003) is a tangled forestof vital distorted sound, Epps’ amplifiedtrumpet sounding like a raw nerve in theundergrowth.60 | March 1 – April 7, 2014

SEASON PRESENTING SPONSORUPCOMING CONCERTSDon’t miss these spectacular performances!ANGELAHEWITTRICHARD GOODEJOHN STORGAARDSBeethoven EmperorConcertoTHU, MARCH 20 AT 8:00pmSAT, MARCH 22 AT 8:00pmHannu Lintu, conductorAngela Hewitt, pianoMatthew Whittall: Solen(NORTH AMERICAN PREMIÈRE)Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5“Emperor”Sibelius: Symphony No. 5Schumann Symphony 2WED, MARCH 26 AT 8:00pmTHU, MARCH 27 AT 2:00pmJohn Storgaards, conductorColin Currie, percussionBeethoven: Overture to FidelioKalevi Aho: Sieidi: Concerto forSolo Percussion and Orchestra(CANADIAN PREMIÈRE)Schumann: Symphony No. 2Goode Plays MozartFRI, APRIL 11 AT 7:30pmSAT, APRIL 12 AT 8:00pmPeter Oundjian, conductorRichard Goode, pianoJonathan Crow, violinVivian Fung: Aqua (CANADIAN PREMIÈRE)Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 17, K. 453R. Strauss: Ein Heldenleben(A Hero’s Life)Informative pre-concert chats in the lobby on March 22 & 27.Post-concert chat onstage with Peter Oundjian on April 11.TICKETS START AT ROY THOMSON OFFICIAL AIRLINEMARCH22 & APRIL 12March 1 – April MARCH 7, 201422| 61PERFORMANCE SPONSORPERFORMANCE SPONSOR

Volumes 21-25 (2015-2020)

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