8 years ago

Volume 20 Issue 7 - April 2015

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areness of

areness of autumn.Papador’s commitment and passion forCanadian solo percussion repertoire drivesthis exemplary recording. Enjoy!Tiina KiikTundra Songs – Music by Derek CharkeKronos Quartet; Tanya TagaqCentrediscs CMCCD 21015!!The story of themusic on this extraordinaryalbum ismulti-faceted andinterwoven withtranscultural skeins.Allow me to tease outa few threads.On one hand allthe music is composed by the JUNO AwardwinningCanadian composer Derek Charke(b. 1974). He is also a flutist and a compositionand theory professor at Acadia University inWolfville, Nova Scotia. On the other hand thegifted young storyteller Laakkuluk WillamsonBathory is the only presence on track 7,reciting a gripping Greenlandic version of thecreation story that exists all across Inuit lands,the Sassuma Arnaa. She remarks that “wedon’t so much own this story as we belong toit,” keeping it alive through retelling it today,“despite intensive colonization and religiousconversion…”That story is retold in Clarke’s exhilarating30-minute opus Tundra Songs (2007) by thethird presence on the CD, the Polaris MusicPrize-winning Inuk avant-garde vocalistTanya Tagaq. Her masterful virtuoso vocalpresence, at times taking on the multilayeredquality of two Inuit women throat gamers andat others the innocence of childhood, dominatesthis work of vast scope.The fourth element on the album is perhapsthe best known to music lovers: the renownedKronos Quartet. In over four decades, specializingin modernist, post-modernist and widerangingworld music collaborations, theyhave been astonishingly productive, commissioningmore than 800 works and arrangements.I have seen them several times liveand they never fail to engage their audiencemusically, and also often inter-culturally. Theydo both in this album.In Tundra Songs the most substantial workhere, the story being told is of the Arctic, itssoundscape, animals and people. The tellingaccumulates several layers including Charke’sNunavut field recordings and his polishedstring quartet score brought to life by Kronos’brilliant string playing. Also featured in thesweeping mix are studio-produced sounds,a regional origin myth, and a star turn vocalperformance by Tagaq who just won a 2015JUNO Award for her album Animism. As theNorth becomes more readily accessible – Idid my first Arctic Skype sessions last year –so too the world is slowly learning to open itsears and hearts to its remarkable music andmusicians.Andrew TimarJAZZ AND IMPROVISEDParking for MeatballsLJ FolkIndependent (!!This amusinglyentitled selfproduced/arranged/masterfully recordednew offering fromacoustic guitarist,composer and vocalistLJ Folk has been along time in the making, with the recordinghaving taken place between November 2008and August 2014 – which only serv es tosubstantiate the axiom that all good thingsare worth waiting for. Folk is the primarycomposer here, with tasty inclusions fromStevie Winwood, Harry Nilsson and JeromeKern as well as two key collaborations withtrumpeter Vince Constantino. The equallytasty players include NYC-based percussionistMemo Acevedo, bassist Duncan Hopkins andnoted Canadian (and now Austin, Texasbased)guitarist-composer Jake Langley.As a vocalist, Folk is nothing short ofbreathtaking – expressive and compelling,his voice effortlessly and consistently deliversthe goods. Of special beauty is the romanticLatin-infused cooker, Deepest Love, whichfeatures a pitch-perfect and refreshingly pureand vibrato-less vocal from Folk, enhancedby a lilting melodic line, clever lyric andAcevedo’s superlative percussion work. Folk’slanguid take on Winwood’s Can’t Find MyWay Home is another standout, supported byskilled guitar work from Langley. The original,Nunca Mas (Nothing More) highlights Folk’sconsiderable acoustic guitar chops, andhis deeply personal treatment of the rarelyperformed jazz standard In the Wee SmallHours of the Morning is sheer perfection. Thebluesy original All Night Long illustrates evenmore of Folk’s eclectic versatility. Of specialmention is Folk’s composition Gathering ofFriends – a deeply emotional exploration oflove and loss that is bound to resonate withall of us.Despite the whimsical title, this CD is awork of incredible depth and artistry andcertainly one of the finest vocal jazz recordingsof the year.Lesley Mitchell-ClarkeSwingin’ on the KornerRed Garland TrioElemental Records 5990426(!!Red Garlandbrought an electricbrightness tothe piano, whetherplaying block chordsor scintillating runs;Philly Joe Jones, apolyrhythmic master,was perhaps the most explosive drummerin jazz history. They were key parts of oneof the greatest bands in that history, MilesDavis’ mid-50s quintet, until Davis firedthem in 1958 for unreliability. This two-CDset catches the two of them nearly 20 yearslater during a week in December 1977 at SanFrancisco’s Keystone Korner, anchored by thefine bassist Leroy Vinnegar, a worthy partner.Garland had gone through stretches of retirementby then, and Jones was less prominentthan when he propelled many of hard bop’sWhat if you couldlisten in?Now you can!• Read the review• Click to listen• Click to buyNew this month to theListening more information Thom McKercher at thom@thewholenote.comExtreme flutist, Bill McBirnie,and the multi-talented, BruceJones, collaborate to produce acaptivating series of incantatoryBrazilian works.Monk Work features 11compositions by Monk,including the seldom performedDreamland and Two Timer. Atrue monk working!72 | April 1 - May 7, 2015

greatest records, but if they were supposed togo gently into that good night, the two hadn’tgotten the message. The genre never burnedmore brightly.The music is almost entirely standards,drawn from Garland’s vast repertoire,including a sweetly balladic renditionof the obscure If I’m Lucky, a signatureswinging arrangement of Billy Boy and asoulful version of Bags’ Groove that celebratesGarland’s mastery of blues. Familiarityfeeds the trio’s fervour: this is joyous, rawmusic, touching, even reckless. Sometimessubtle, Garland can match Jones for sheerferocious energy; Jones creates wild obliquepatterns with thundering drums, buildingcomplex, melodic solos against a beat that’sonly implied.The set includes extensive interviews andmemories of Garland from some noted criticsand musicians: it’s the first such tribute to apianist who deserves far more attention.Stuart BroomerReflective DrimeSubtle Lip CanDrip Audio DA01030 (!!Featuring musicas off-centre as itsname, Subtle Lip Canhas created a fascinatingCD of heavymetal, as if insteadof headbanging, thatterm described subtlyabrasive instrumental techniques expandedby electronics. Consisting of violinist JoshZubot, guitarist Bernard Falaise and drummerIsaiah Ceccarelli, the members of theMontreal-based trio add jazz-like improv andsuspended minimalism to ten tracks whichotherwise are rife with industrial clamors andthe blaring drones found in rock music.Improvisers above all, the trio members’skillfully abrasive textures are unique andfrequently unattributable. Ceccarelli’s beatsrelate as often to tuned gamelan orchestraresonations or intermittent percussionpulses as to unyielding steady timekeeping.Meanwhile the preparation and processesSomething in the AirCutting-Edge Free Improvisation at theMusic GalleryMajor improvisers from elsewherefrequently play Toronto, but not asoften do they appear with an allstarlineup. That’s what happens on April 29when alto saxophonist Tim Berne’s Snakeoilis in concert at the Music Gallery. Berne, whohas been on the cutting edge of advanced jazzfor 30-odd years, arrives with three youngerplayers who have distinguished themselveson the New York scene: fellow reedist OscarNoriega, pianist Matt Mitchell and drummerChes Smith. This being the 21st century andpast the age of consistently working groups,each – including Berne – is involved in manyother projects.As one instanceof samplingskills in anothercontext, considerT-Duality (AuandRecords AU Althoughleader, eruditeItalian drummerAnanda Gari wrote all seven tracks, he’sbacked by three Americans: bassist MichaelFormanek, guitarist Rez Abbasi and Berne.Confident enough of his skills that heconfines his solo fireworks to Fields – whichinclude no drum bludgeoning but manyratamacue slaps plus refined cymbal clatter– Gari frames the others’ playing withsupportive beats. Additionally egged on byFormanek’s buzzing bass line, frontlinersAbbasi and Berne carve unique geometricpatterns out of the drummer’s compositions.Capable of harsh double-stopping runs, theKEN WAXMANguitarist’s ringing lines are more often fullydeveloped harmonically such as on LastDrops, where when twinned with Berne’sglissandi they could be setting up I Cover theWaterfront. However, Gari’s Mylar pressureplus the saxman’s twittering slides confirmthat this isn’t the familiar ballad. Berne’scascading puffs also colour the stop-timeNever Late when his lowing brightness pullsout the theme atop Formanek’s strummedbass lines. Clattering drum ruffs plus walkingbass clobbers set up Don’t Forget to Pet YourCat, as a blues, until Berne’s plush mellownessknifes upwards to poignant screechtones, with the theme tossed back andforth between reed bites and linear hornlikemotions from the guitarist. Then on theextended Are You Kidding Me the alto mandistends and deconstructs the theme withriffing melismatic slurs and tonal sky rockets,urged on by Gari’s hard thumps and cryingstring bends.Concert Note: Tim Berne’s Snakeoil withOscar Noriega, Matt Mitchell and Ches Smithappears at the Music Galley April 29. TrevorWatts and Veryan Weston are at the samevenue April 24.For reviews of how Berne associatesNoriega and Mitchell perform in othersituations, see the continuation of thiscolumn at by Peter Hum of theOttawa Citizen as one of the topCanadian Jazz CDs of 2014.“Griffith plays from his heart,not head. The result is—rarityof rarities—an album of originalcompositions that swings fromstart to finish”Literal Lateral is the latestrelease from Halifax’s Crofts/Adams/Pearse Trio withspecial guest Gerry Hemingway.Music from the deep wells andfrayed edges.Avi Avital re-imagines thesounds of Venice in this vividhomage to the most belovedcomposer of the Italian Baroque,Antonio April 1 - May 7, 2015 | 73

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