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Volume 22 Issue 9 - Summer 2017

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CBC Radio's Lost Horizon; Pinocchio as Po-Mo Operatic Poster Boy; Meet the Curators (Crow, Bernstein, Ridge); a Global Music Orchestra is born; and festivals, festivals, festivals in our 13th annual summer music Green Pages. All this and more in our three-month June-through August summer special issue, now available in flipthrough HERE and on the stands commencing Thursday June 1.

Grace Evergreen Club

Grace Evergreen Club Contemporary Gamelan with Jennifer Moore & Sanctuary Artifact Music ART 041 ( Bridge Evergreen Club Contemporary Gamelan Independent ( !! 30 plus years of performing, composing and commissioning works together has completely immersed the Evergreen Club Contemporary Gamelan in the sonic possibilities of their unique orchestra. Two recent CD releases provide ample evidence of the maturity of their sonic palette. Grace is a live collaboration with the Sanctuary Trio (bass clarinet, cello and pipe organ). These very unique timbres create an inspiring range of compositional possibilities that are fully explored in the three pieces that make up this recording. Bill Parsons’ Translating Grace immediately pulls us in with a softly insistent, offbeat time-keeping underpinning a series of two-note motifs on the gamelan’s various tuned percussion instruments. The texture becomes quietly denser as drums, higher melodies and suling (bamboo flute) all join in. It all slowly unravels and ends with a percussive burst that repeats and fades, echoing into the distance. We have now entered another realm… Low and ominous tones from the cello and bass clarinet underpin the sober truthtelling of the vocalist. This static, sombre mood alternates with blithe suling interjections over gamelan textures, and a loping, Dolphyesque bass clarinet solo. Dreamlike textures and odd time signatures keep us adrift. The vocalist reminds us: “Before Grace, everything slips away.” The pairing of the ECCG with the Sanctuary Trio in this setting creates a wonderfully lush and warm environment. Jeff Reilly’s Meditations on Innocence delves deep into the textural possibilities of this pairing, while using ample space in the music to fully exploit the acoustics of the cathedral used for this live recording. Space is a palpable part of the texture of a slow gong ostinato, over which bass clarinet and cello take turns giving voice to the silence. Mark Duggan’s Language of Landscape begins deliberately off kilter, sounding like the wind pushing through chimes. Though the work stays very abstract, it is no intellectual exercise. It is full of feelings of questioning and yearning, expressed mainly by the cello and bass clarinet. Repetitive textures imply urban or mechanized environments. A slow one-note chiming mantra is the underpinning of dense organ clusters reminiscent of the Japanese shō. This all gives way again to fragments and gestures and is brought to a close by the organ. This recording is a great document of the musical sensitivities the two ensembles bring, not only to each other but to the environment in which they performed. The ECCG’s recording Bridge is an ambitious project, years in the making. Citing various Indonesian sources as inspirational starting points, original lyrics were composed, and arrangements using the gamelan as well as western strings, guitars and turntables were written. The music is definitely accessible to those not familiar with the sounds and structures of Indonesian music; striking the right mood between instruments and sensibilities is the real accomplishment here. However, the inclusion of an arrangement of Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now seems transparently aimed at getting airplay (Canadian content x2!). Though cleverly arranged, it is rather saccharine, and I find it disruptive to this collection of otherwise interesting experiments. John Carnes JAZZ AND IMPROVISED Without a Little Rain Avery Raquel Independent GKM 1029 ( L/R !! On her sophomore recording, young vocalist Avery Raquel has not only created a satisfying followup to her 2016 debut but has matured into a fine, contemporary songwriter. Collaborating with producer, arranger and musician Greg Kavanagh (and vocalist Sophia Perlman), Raquel has co-authored six tracks, and in so doing, has established her own, unique voice as both a composer and singer – no easy trick. Joining Raquel and Kavanagh (who plays guitar on this project) is a strong lineup of musicians, including Adrean Farrugia on acoustic and electric piano, Ross MacIntyre on bass, Joel Haynes on drums, Ben Lemma on guitar, Amoy Levy on backing vocals, Kaelin Murphy on trumpet/flugelhorn, Brandon Tse on alto sax, Emma Haynes on percussion and special guest, the iconic David Clayton- Thomas (of Blood, Sweat & Tears) on the Disney classic from Toy Story, You’ve Got a Friend in Me – which is a fresh, jazzy, soulful take on this Disney standard, featuring excellent bass work on this track by Jaden Raso. Other notable tracks include the catchy and engaging title tune, Without a Little Rain; the funky Your Mouth Is the Door, which not only boasts a clever lyric, but displays Raquel’s vocal power and control as the song builds in intensity. Without question, Dreaming (co-written with Perlman) is one of the strongest compositions on the recording – not overly arranged, as well as rhythmic and appealing, the song seamlessly highlights the lovely gossamer lightness of Raquel’s vocal quality. Sophisticated chord voicings and wonderful flugelhorn work by Murphy are the icing on this irresistible cake. Lesley Mitchell-Clarke Concert Notes: Avery Raquel has a busy schedule this summer with performances June 11: Barrie Jazz Festival – Bradford West Gwillimbury Public Library; June 24: Children of the Forest Fundraiser – The Duke Live, Toronto; June 29: Music on the Waterfront – Hamilton; July 20: Summer Concert Series – Goderich; July 22: Jazz at the Museum – Haliburton; August 19: South Coast Jazz Festival – Port Dover; and August 20: Riverfest – Elora. Songbook Reg Schwager Jazz from Rant 1751 ( !! In his latest release, consummate Canadian jazz guitarist Reg Schwager acts brilliantly as producer, composer and arranger. The well-conceived and performed recording comprises all original compositions by Schwager, with collaborations from: his talented sister, jazz chanteuse Jeannette Lambert; luminous Brazilian vocalist Luanda Jones; and certainly one of Canada’s finest jazz singers, John Alcorn. The superb cast of performers on the CD also includes William Sperendai on trumpet, Allison Au on alto saxophone and flute, Mike Murley on tenor saxophone, Brodie West on alto saxophone, Don Thompson and Amanda Tosoff on piano, Steve Wallace on bass, Michel Lambert and Fabio Ragnelli on drums and Manino Costa on percussion. Schwager’s elegant, crisp style and harmonic sophistication are reminiscent (but not derivative of) guitar legends Jim Hall and Emily Remler, and this recording is certainly a portrait of an artist at the peak of his creativity and skill. Every track here is a work of art, but of particular note are Kisses of Summer – a winning combination of Alcorn’s sensuous and evocative baritone, sumptuous compositional ideas, Schwager’s incomparable guitar work and jazz legend and multi-instrumentalist Thompson on piano. Co-written with Jones, O que tinha que dar features Schwager’s considerable Brazilian chops on full throttle, as vocalist Jones effortlessly draws the listener into her lovely web of bossa rhythms and sexy nuances. Au on alto and 84 | June 1, 2017 - September 7, 2017

Tosoff on piano also shine. On the gorgeous ballad Splintered Dream, co-writer Jeannette Lambert channels the spirit of Peggy Lee with this romantic and melancholy song worthy of the silver screen. Lesley Mitchell-Clarke Loving You – Celebrating Shirley Horn Peter Campbell Independent ( !! Vocalist Peter Campbell’s introduction to the stylings of the great vocalist/ pianist Shirley Horn was during his undergraduate days at McGill University. After hearing her 1992 recording Here’s to Life, he was greatly impressed and influenced by her musical expressiveness. In this celebration of Horn’s recordings, Campbell utilizes her influence as he performs 13 Horn songs with clarity, musicality and respect while simultaneously creating his own sound. Campbell performs with clear diction, phrasing and vocal colour. He is accompanied by a stellar group of musicians – pianist Mark Kieswetter, guitarist Reg Schwager, bassist Ross MacIntyre and trumpeter Kevin Turcotte. In the opening track A Time for Love, Campbell’s effortless wide vocal range is supported by Kieswetter’s solid piano stylings and a colourful Turcotte trumpet solo. Bass and guitar provide tasteful solos and support to an emotional vocal performance of Sharing the Night With the Blues. Loving You is highlighted by subtle vocal colour changes in the longer held notes against a sparse piano accompaniment – it’s almost like two soloists having a musical chat over beverages! A straightforward ballad rendition of the Piaf classic If You Love Me is memorable for its simplicity and lyric storytelling. No drums here in the mix, but the rhythmic sense is never lost with the band members’ sense of time. Inventive arrangements by Campbell and Kieswetter, and smart instrumental improvisations support Campbell’s moving renditions to make this a great musical gift to his musical hero Shirley Horn. Tiina Kiik Two Calls Rebecca Hennessy’s FOG Brass Band Independent RH002 (rebeccahennessy. com) !! If the term “less is more” ever elicited a vivid example to go along with it, this disc Two Calls by Rebecca Hennessy’s FOG Brass Band would be it. Rarely do performers shine in all their radiant apparel, creating an unmatched nimbleness of sound, as Hennessy and her ensemble. This is no stripped-down interplay but a fulsome recreation of the evocative dialogue between a trumpeter and her band. The ebullient arpeggios and brilliantly gilded glissandi played by Hennessy mimic perfectly the melisma of a singer, only in this instance the trumpet or flugelhorn, in all its brazen or hushed spookiness, recalls the ghosts of masters as Hennessy shines forth. Among the choicest encounters on this disc are Birds for Free and Why Are You So Sad Booker Little? The rest of the melodically exquisite songs are also beautifully crafted; a combination of ingenious writing and inspired improvisation on the part of Hennessy and her ensemble. The vitality and brilliance of each invention shines forth in the strongest and most appealing orchestral colours. The dynamic range and balance between the instruments is achieved by each artist never seeming to tread on the other’s turf. It’s almost as if soloing is done in a series of shy dance moves, as saxophone comes into the spotlight while piano is in the shadows; then switching roles as if by magic so that another instrumentalist is highlighted. Raul Da Gama Afterthought Audrey Ochoa Trio Chronograph Records CR 055 ( !! As any dictionary search shows, “feeling” is a word with multiple meanings: a function or the power of perceiving by touch; any particular sensation of this kind; the general state of consciousness considered independently of particular sensations; thoughts affected by emotion… To say that trombonist Audrey Ochoa sets about creating feelings is to suggest, therefore, that somehow she does all of these. All the ingredients are there: tempo, dynamics and emotion, activated by the vibrations as her lips engage the air from her lungs singing, and her fingers extend the gliding tubing. This is the means by which Ochoa creates fine texture and timbre; her sense of spatial scale creates equal parts grace, rhythmic energy, and pure emotion in a kinetic response to combative, hair-trigger dynamic musical contrasts. For proof of all of the above, look no further than the present recording, Afterthought, a mesmeric album full of swagger, swing and beckoning genius. Audrey Ochoa’s inventions are redolent of light-handed glissandos and mercurial arpeggios played with quintessential charm and wit. The disc consists of eight works of unsurpassed beauty. Each song is alive with personal magic and happily shared imaginative possibility. Ochoa’s compositions are graceful, fluent and affectionate. Titles such as Low Interest Rate and Doppelgangers are bursting with surprise. Underpinning this excellence is the work of bassist Mike Lent and drummer Sandro Dominelli, whose superb playing adds a feeling of considerable largeness to this fine recording. Raul Da Gama Polygon Erik Hove Chamber Ensemble Independent ( !! Montreal-based alto saxophonist and composer Erik Hove is a musician of startling persistence and ambition, as ready to challenge himself as his listeners. In 2014 he released Saturated Colour by his ten-member Chamber Ensemble, a well-rehearsed group playing complex compositions that merged the microtonal methodologies of spectral composition à la French composers Gérard Grisey and Tristan Murail with a jazz rhythm section and improvised solos, an approach also pioneered by New York-based saxophonist/composer Steve Lehman. Now, simply put, Hove has done it again, with just three personnel changes in the ensemble of four reeds (including flutes, clarinets, oboe and saxophone), trumpet, string trio, bass and drums. He has an increasingly assured and innovative command of his complex materials, happily mixing microtonal chords, machine-like arpeggios and complex rhythms. On Metal Clouds, Hove, flutist Anna Webber and cellist Jane Chan solo with aplomb, matching their own quartertones with those of the accompanying chords. His gifts as an orchestrator come increasingly to the fore as the program continues, with Inversions developing eerily sustained mixes of strings and reeds. Hove uses improvisation selectively and structurally: Inversions is already a welldeveloped piece before it welcomes a passage of collective improvisation, while Tetrahedron begins as a feature for Andy King’s jazz-fueled trumpet, eventually evolving into a composition for full ensemble. Hove’s finest moment as an improviser comes at the end as he solos on the brief Octagon, lifting its evanescent textures while adding further mystery. Stuart Broomer Concert notes: Erik Hove appears with Woody Epps’ Togetherness, June 16 at the Something Else! Festival of Creative Music in Hamilton. He will showcase Polygon with a small ensemble at Dièse Onze in Montreal on June 23. June 1, 2017 - September 7, 2017 | 85

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