Views
10 months ago

Volume 25 Issue 2 - October 2019

  • Text
  • Performing
  • Orchestra
  • Symphony
  • Musical
  • Concerts
  • Arts
  • Jazz
  • Choir
  • October
  • Toronto
Long promised, Vivian Fellegi takes a look at Relaxed Performance practice and how it is bringing concert-going barriers down across the spectrum; Andrew Timar looks at curatorial changes afoot at the Music Gallery; David Jaeger investigates the trumpets of October; the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution (and the 20th Anniversary of our October Blue Pages Presenter profiles) in our Editor's Opener; the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir at 125; Tapestry at 40 and Against the Grain at 10; ringing in the changing season across our features and columns; all this and more, now available in Flip Through format here, and on the stands commencing this coming Friday September 27, 2019. Enjoy.

sound.” Recorded in

sound.” Recorded in Toronto in 1987-89, their sound brings back wonderful memories of the Toronto improvisational scene of the time. The clear recording opens with a march-like feel and an almost singalong melody interspersed with electronic effects. Too much fun being had by the two performers, as the music includes washes, electronic shrieking effects, occasional almost pop groves, pulses, horns, vocalizations, moments of anxiety, etc. Especially love the water sounds in track three. It is a gift to the listener that their music was even recorded, and later released. Car Dew Treat Us features Kernohan and the perfectly ordinary (Allison Cameron, Rod Dubey and Lawrence Joseph) with different guest artists reciting intermittent text fragments from Cornelius Cardew’s Treatise against an electronic soundscape featuring clicks, held tones, wavering dynamics, wobbling tones, bell sounds, atonalities and percussive effects in a challenging soundscape. Some may find it difficult to listen to but worth the effort to experience. Bravo to Spool’s Spurn series for these three contrasting releases showcasing amazing Canadian experimental talent. Tiina Kiik Alchemy – Music by Jalbert; Stucky; Vine Jupiter String Quartet; Bernadette Harvey Marquis Classics MAR 81491 (marquisclassics.com) !! Being a devotee of the piano quartet and quintet I’m gratified to hear four fine 21st-century examples originally commissioned by the Arizona Friends of Chamber Music. The American-based Jupiter String Quartet and Australian pianist Bernadette Harvey play these demanding works vividly and expressively, their virtuosity suited to the brilliant motions that American composer Pierre Jalbert induces in his Piano Quintet (2017) and Secret Alchemy for Violin, Viola, Cello and Piano (2012). The players also excel in reflective passages and evocative sonorities, such as the “outer space” part of the Quintet’s Mannheim Rocket movement. In Secret Alchemy’s movement, Timeless, mysterious, reverberant, Jalbert’s miraculous mood creation suggests a medieval cathedral in modern terms. For me it brought to mind, uncannily, the Notre Dame Cathedral fire earlier this year. Australian Carl Vine’s Fantasia for Piano Quintet (2013) is in a lighter vein which the composer describes as “quasi-improvisational.” Featuring plenty of idiomatic virtuosity, I found the work’s style more conventional with recurring four-bar phrases in the last two movements that could have stood a few metric surprises. Finally, I can only offer the highest possible praise for the late, Steven Stucky’s outstanding one-movement Piano Quartet (2005). A long, sorrowful melody begins shortly after the opening, broken into motifs yet somehow finding the strength to go on. This work is too rich to describe in words; I hope readers will find their way to hearing it. Roger Knox JAZZ AND IMPROVISED Joan of Art Dave Robbins Sextet Cellar Music CM110518 (cellarlive.com) Jump Up Brad Turner Quartet (with guest Seamus Blake) Celler Music CM123018 (cellarlive.com) Just Like Magic Mike Allen; Peter Washington; Lewis Nash Celler Music CM010519 (cellarlive.com) This Quiet Room PJ Perry featuring Bill Mays Cellar Music CM121018 (cellarlive.com) The Real Blue Pureum Jin (Jeremy Manasia; Luke Sellick; Willie Jones III; Sabeth Perez) Celler Music CM020219 (cellarlive.com) !! The Cellar Music Group: As a high school jazz musician in Metro Vancouver in the early 2000s, The Cellar Jazz Club, owned and operated by Cory Weeds, was the centre of my musical universe. Despite the fact that it was located below street level, it stood head and shoulders above comparable Vancouver venues, bringing in a healthy mixture of performers, from local standouts such as Jodi Proznick, Bill Coon and Brad Turner, to major international acts, including organist Joey DeFrancesco, pianist Monty Alexander and Chris Potter’s Underground project, with Adam Rogers, Craig Taborn and Nate Smith. (I have a vivid memory, at the Potter show, of strategically hiding a recording device under a napkin at my table, on behalf (I swear) of a friend.) Out of the club grew the label: Cellar Live, as it was initially known, was a vehicle by which the club’s live performances could be documented and distributed, helping to further develop the identity of the Cellar, the musicians who played on its stage, and the Vancouver jazz scene as a whole. Though the Cellar Jazz Club is no more, the label has continued to thrive, and now operates as The Cellar Music Group, with three distinct imprint categories: Cellar Live, which primarily releases live recordings, Cellar Jazz, which primarily releases studio dates, and Reel to Real Recordings, a relatively recent venture, which releases rare archival recordings. With close to 150 albums over the course of its 18-year history, Cellar Music has a broad range of releases in its roster. Some highlights: the late Ross Taggart’s Thankfully, with Bob Murphy, Mike Rud and Bernie Arai, Curtis Nowosad’s Dialectics, with Jimmy Greene, Derrick Gardner, Steve Kirby and Will Bonness, and, on Reel to Real, Etta Jones’ A Soulful Sunday: Live at The Left Bank, a recording made in Baltimore in February 1972. Cellar Music has five new recordings worth checking out, which, taken together – but listed in no particular order – showcase the label’s aforementioned breadth. Joan of Art, from drummer Dave Robbins’ eponymous sextet, takes its name from the title track, written in honour of Vancouver jazz patron Joan Mariacher. Robbins is a strong, dynamic drummer, with a propulsive swing feel that lends itself well to a sextet format (he is joined by Steve Holy, bass; Chris Gestrin, piano; Mike Allen, tenor saxophone; Brad Turner, trumpet; Rod Murray, trombone). Robbins is also a thoughtful, conscientious arranger, both of his own compositions and of the album’s two covers (Lennon/McCartney’s Can’t Buy Me Love and Paul Desmond’s Take Five). Jump Up, a new album from the Brad Turner Quartet with special guest Seamus Blake, is a follow-up almost 20 years in the making: around 2000, the same group (Turner, trumpet; Blake, tenor saxophone; Bruno Hubert, piano; André Lachance, bass; Dylan van der Schyff, drums) released Live At The Cellar. Packed with exciting playing and Turner’s mature, well-developed compositions, Jump Up covers a wide range of material, from the funk-tinged The Enthusiast to the swinging up-tempo title track to Catastrophizer, a welcome bonus, recorded live at Frankie’s Jazz Club during a three-day stint leading up to this album’s recording at The Warehouse Studio in Vancouver. Tenor saxophonist Mike Allen’s new album, Just Like Magic, is a trio outing with the famed rhythm section of Peter Washington 72 | October 2019 thewholenote.com

and Lewis Nash, recorded in Rudy Van Gelder’s Englewood Cliffs studio in New Jersey in January of this year. From the downbeat of Big Bertha, the focus is on melody, time and tone, the intimacy of the sax trio configuration only enhanced by the headphone-free, live-off-the-floor approach and the legendary acoustic characteristics of the studio. This Quiet Room, a duo album from Canadian alto saxophonist PJ Perry and American pianist Bill Mays, is another essay in intimacy. Recorded live-off-the-floor at a private home in Vancouver, the session feels warm and immediate, and successfully produces the sensation of being in the room as the songs are being performed. Both Perry and Mays are veteran jazz players, with a firm grip on the idiomatic conventions of the music they’ve recorded. Bud Powell’s Parisian Thoroughfare and Charlie Parker’s Laird Baird are highlights, and both give Perry ample room to demonstrate his bebop prowess. The album’s quieter moments are also memorable: the medley of The Folks Who Live On The Hill (played solo by Mays) and Two For The Road is a lovely treat. The Real Blue, the debut studio album from New Yorkbased alto saxophonist Pureum Jin, was recorded at GB’s Juke Joint, in Long Island City, New York; relatively close to Van Gelder’s New Jersey Englewood Cliffs studio, at least compared to Vancouver. Joined by pianist Jeremy Manasia, bassist Luke Sellick, drummer Willie Jones III and special guest vocalist Sabeth Pérez, Jin has a bright, strong sound, rooted in the hard-bop style of Phil Woods, to whom she pays tribute on the song Remembering Mr. Woods, one of eight originals on this ten-track disc. Colin Story Musique-Politique: Anthologie 1971-1974 Le Quatuor de Jazz Libre du Québec Tour de Bras TDBHIST0001 (tourdebras.com) !! This has been a momentous year for the documentation of Quebec’s entry into the world of free jazz. First came Eric Fillion’s book Jazz Libre et la révolution québécoise : Musiqueaction, 1967-1975 (M Éditeur: 2019) and now this ambitious four-CD set to provide sonic evidence of the achievement of the founders of free jazz in the province, Le Quatuor de Jazz Libre du Québec. The CDs, drawn from the group’s archives of performance tapes, are supplemented by a 24-page, LP-size volume that includes essays in French (including ones by Fillion and producer Éric Normand) and reproductions of manifestos, news stories and even a cover questionnaire from the group’s social outreach program, all of it providing context for the most radical Canadian-born jazz movement in history. The group existed from 1967 to 1975 with two constant members, tenor saxophonist Jean Préfontaine and trumpeter Yves Charbonneau. If jazz has rarely been political in Canada, Le Quatuor was insistently so, creating a distinct connection between the ferment in Quebec society and the ferment in their own music, initially inspired by American free jazz as played by Ornette Coleman and Albert Ayler. The music here is very much a soundtrack to the times, an intense element in the rise of Quebec nationalism that followed on the FLQ crisis and the War Measures Act, enacted in October 1970. The quartet’s reach into the heart of Quebecois culture included the founding of an artist commune (Le Petite Québec Libre), a later performance space (L’Amorce) and public self-analysis of their work (interspersed here between the performances). The music here runs from 1971 to 1974, arguably the group’s strongest period despite shifting support. Jean Préfontaine, born in 1926, is the strongest presence here, a musician who found free jazz after a career in a military band. His extended opening solo on a September 1973 performance is a riveting example of all that free jazz saxophone could be: a radical soliloquy that’s part jeremiad, part exhortation, part abstract interior monologue cut through with doubt and excitement at the coming day. Yves Charbonneau is a fine foil, a subtler provocateur, adding thoughtful solos and detailed support as the set documents the band’s developing sense of a commanding freedom. The presence of American cellist Tristan Honsinger on the 1973 material, passing through en route to a brilliant career in European free improvisation, signals a broadening musical language and the achievement of the group’s final period. The set adds substantially to the history of jazz in Canada, casting new light on its most intense moment, as well as a significant contributory stream to Quebec’s diverse concept of musique actuelle, perhaps the most vigorous scene in contemporary Canadian music. Stuart Broomer What we're listening to this month: thewholenote.com/listening Friday Monkey House Sophisticated musicianship, imaginative lyrics, and a flair for melody are signatures of the sound of Monkey House that has earned them an international following. La Serena Aviva Chernick A reimagining of Sephardic folk tunes in an intimate and lush collection. Elegant electric instrumentation with soaring vocals singing rich poetry in Judeo-Spanish. Sphere Heather Dale The thoughtful 20th album from this New Age Celtic songwriter. "Powerful... reminiscent of Loreena McKennitt and Sarah McLachlan" (Vanc Sun) Crowing Ignites Bruce Cockburn With the intriguingly titled Crowing Ignites, Bruce Cockburn has released another dazzling instrumental album that will further cement his reputation as both an exceptional composer and a picker with few peers. thewholenote.com October 2019 | 73

Volumes 21-25 (2015-2020)

Volume 25 Issue 9 - July / August 2020
Volume 25 Issue 8 - May / June 2020
Volume 25 Issue 7 - April 2020
Volume 25 Issue 6 - March 2020
Volume 25 Issue 5 - February 2020
Volume 25 Issue 4 - December 2019 / January 2020
Volume 25 Issue 3 - November 2019
Volume 25 Issue 2 - October 2019
Volume 25 Issue 1 - September 2019
Volume 24 Issue 8 - May 2019
Volume 24 Issue 7 - April 2019
Volume 24 Issue 6 - March 2019
Volume 24 Issue 5 - February 2019
Volume 24 Issue 4 - December 2018 / January 2019
Volume 24 Issue 3 - November 2018
Volume 24 Issue 2 - October 2018
Volume 24 Issue 1 - September 2018
Volume 23 Issue 9 - June / July / August 2018
Volume 23 Issue 8 - May 2018
Volume 23 Issue 7 - April 2018
Volume 23 Issue 6 - March 2018
Volume 23 Issue 4 - December 2017 / January 2018
Volume 23 Issue 3 - November 2017
Volume 23 Issue 2 - October 2017
Volume 23 Issue 1 - September 2017
Volume 22 Issue 9 - Summer 2017
Volume 22 Issue 8 - May 2017
Volume 22 Issue 7 - April 2017
Volume 22 Issue 6 - March 2017
Volume 22 Issue 5 - February 2017
Volume 22 Issue 4 - December 2016/January 2017
Volume 22 Issue 2 - October 2016
Volume 22 Issue 1 - September 2016
Volume 21 Issue 9 - Summer 2016
Volume 21 Issue 8 - May 2016
Volume 21 Issue 6 - March 2016
Volume 21 Issue 5 - February 2016
Volume 21 Issue 4 - December 2015/January 2016
Volume 21 Issue 3 - November 2015
Volume 21 Issue 2 - October 2015
Volume 21 Issue 1 - September 2015

Volumes 16-20 (2010-2015)

Volumes 11-15 (2004-2010)

Volumes 6 - 10 (2000 - 2006)

Volumes 1-5 (1994-2000)