3 years ago

Volume 25 Issue 5 - February 2020

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  • February
Visions of 2020! Sampling from back to front for a change: in Rearview Mirror, Robert Harris on the Beethoven he loves (and loves to hate!); Errol Gay, a most musical life remembered; Luna Pearl Woolf in focus in recordings editor David Olds' "Editor's Corner" and in Jenny Parr's preview of "Jacqueline"; Speranza Scappucci explains how not to reinvent Rossini; The Indigo Project, where "each piece of cloth tells a story"; and, leading it all off, Jully Black makes a giant leap in "Caroline, or Change." And as always, much more. Now online in flip-through format here and on stands starting Thurs Jan 30.

La Mince Ligne Tertio

La Mince Ligne Tertio MCM ( !! This was the first time this writer had come across up-andcoming, jazzrock fusion group Tertio; and what a great discovery it turned out to be. The Montreal-based collective truly has their own distinctive style that is absolutely refreshing and pleasing to listen to. Drum and bass grooves for days, unique and interesting synthesizer work, fantastic trumpet riffs and catchy guitar melodies, come together to make this record a contemporary jazz, rock and even funk journey that will have any listener wanting to tap their foot or bop along. More With Less starts off the record with a positively groovy track that showcases their distinct blend of “modern jazz, urban rhythms and the raw energy of rock” which they are known for. New One showcases soaring trumpet melodies courtesy of Andy King and a soulful, stellar guitar solo by Vincent Duhaime Perrault who is also credited with composing all of the group’s pieces. La truffe incorporates a positively funky and enthralling electric bass solo in which very apparent talent is showcased. Throughout the record, drummer Eric Thibodeau, bassist Alex Lefaivre and keyboardist Paul Shrofel provide the perfect backing to each piece, moving the melodies along with captivating chords and a constant, catchy rhythm. For those wanting a great and much needed pick-me-up within these dreary and grey winter days, this album is ideal for you. Truly a newer band worth keeping an eye out for. Kati Kiilaspea Temptation Chantal Chamberland EvoSound EVSA719M ( !! Renowned French-Canadian jazz vocalist and guitarist Chantal Chamberland’s recent release is a wonderful testament to her musical talent and unique style. Her trademark soulful and sultry voice shines throughout out the record, often accompanied by her melodious and flowing guitar melodies. Chamberland can almost be compared to the late, great Leonard Cohen based on some similarities in vocal styling and smooth genre-crossing ability, albeit she brings a distinct jazz and soul touch to the songs. The album is comprised of wellknown pop, soul and blues songs which she has transformed and pleasantly enhanced through beautiful, mellow guitar and vocal stylings into a relaxing and all-encompassing musical journey. Tracks Temptation and Beautiful Life start the listener off on a path that meanders softly through a sultry musical soundscape in which it is easy to get immersed completely, lulled and guided along by Chamberland’s melodious voice. Chasing Cars is a stellar string arrangement by Paul Intson that pulls you right into a magical dream world. A toned down, piano and acoustic bass version of Whitney Houston’s hit I Wanna Dance With Somebody is a pleasant and very pleasing surprise in the latter half of the album. Backed by talented musicians Dan Lockwood on drums, Intson on acoustic bass and Eric Boucher on piano results in a perfectly balanced sound. This record is a worthy addition to any jazz or pop aficionado’s collection. Kati Kiilaspea Absolutely Dreaming Ted Quinlan w/Brian Dickinson; Kieran Overs; Ted Warren Independent TQ-2019 ( !! With the release of his new recording, guitarist and composer Ted Quinlan has again established himself as one of the most gifted, imaginative and technically skilled jazz guitarists around. For this very contemporary project, Quinlan has joined forces with three additional noted players – Brian Dickinson on piano; Kieran Overs on bass and Ted Warren on drums. Produced by Quinlan, the CD was also perfectly and authentically recorded by Steve Bellamy. All nine tunes here were written and arranged by Quinlan, and seldom is one blessed to experience a jazz project of such luminosity. Things kick off with Cheticamp, which begins with a sense of urgent musical anticipation, tinged with sinuous guitar lines. These are perfectly complemented by the penultimate rhythm section work featuring an exquisite and percussive piano solo by Dickinson and inspired work by Overs and Warren. Of note is Not What it Seems – where sensual, languid guitar lines intertwine seamlessly with Overs’ warm, fat bass sound. The group is like a single-celled organism – mutating, dancing and swinging through the unknown inclusive universe in total symmetry. Also a delight is Building 8 – a jaunty, bop-ish track, with an almost 1950s West Coast jazz feel, and yet completely fresh – featuring a stunner of a bass solo from Overs as well as Quinlan’s masterful playing throughout. Quinlan never overplays and every note has gravitas and meaning. X Marks the Spot is a true dynamic standout, displaying Quinlan’s diverse sensibilities and Warren’s exciting and combustive drumming. I imagine the reserved face of the late jazz guitar legend, Jim Hall, listening to this CD and smiling with his characteristic understated grin of approval and joy. Lesley Mitchell-Clarke Ow! Live at the Penthouse Johnny Griffin; Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis Reel to Real RTR-CD-003 ( !! Perhaps inspired by legendary cutting contests between Lester Young and Coleman Hawkins, quintets featuring two tenor saxophones became a familiar jazz format in the 1950s. The most prominent paired Gene Ammons and Sonny Stitt, another Al Cohn and Sonny Stitt. Johnny Griffin, a veteran of the Thelonious Monk and Art Blakey groups, and Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, a star of the Count Basie band, were relatively late to the genre, pairing up in 1960, but they represented the format’s peak. Accompanied by their New York rhythm section in these 1962 performances from Seattle’s Penthouse, the Griffin/Davis combination combines individual brilliance with furious swing and shouting enthusiasm, a celebratory energy that sometimes testifies to their shared roots in rhythm and blues. Griffin was famous for the sheer speed of his lines, playing incandescent strings of precisely articulated arpeggios, while Davis had a vocalic genius, adding a different spin, emphasis or articulation to every note he played, sometimes sounding like he was swallowing notes. The band adopts material from varied sources to their purposes, whether it’s rooted in bop, swing or Kansas City blues. The title track, a Dizzy Gillespie composition taken at a medium swing tempo, highlights Davis and Griffin’s contrasting approaches, while Lester Young’s Tickle Toe is capped by the exuberant, high-speed inventiveness of their exchanges. Griffin’s rich balladry on Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated Lady may slow things down, but there’s a special vitality heard throughout. Stuart Broomer Assembly of Shadows Remy Le Boeuf Soundspore Records SS 201901 ( ! ! My introduction to Remy Le Boeuf was an amazing Le Boeuf Brothers concert in 2017 at the Jazz Room in Waterloo. Remy (saxophone), and his brother Pascal (piano), have recorded 78 | February 2020

several albums which push the boundaries of jazz composition and improvisation including 2016’s Imagist, a collaboration with the JACK quartet. Assembly of Shadows, contains the fivepart title suite and two stand-alone pieces, Strata and Honeymooners (the latter, an elaborate development of an Ornette Coleman tune). Le Boeuf is writing for a 20-plusmember band and his works are complex and layered; they contain innovative orchestration and leave room for individual performers to shine with improvisatory sections. (Anna Webber’s flute playing on Strata and Alex Goodman’s quietly elegant guitar work on the second movement of the suite are noteworthy.) I recommend searching for Strata on YouTube and watching the highly engaging live performance. The Assembly of Shadows suite tells the story of a child who becomes lost in a forest, falls asleep, then wakes to dance with the trees and is eventually guided home. All five movements contain exciting and nuanced material and the final A Light Through the Leaves ends with a beautiful and elegant section with full horn tones with an inner moving line leading to a delicate flute and piano duet (which ends with the child going to sleep safe in her own room). Assembly of Shadows is modern, complex and highly recommended. Ted Parkinson Live At Willimantic Records Lao Dan; Paul Flaherty; Randall Colbourne; Damon Smith Family Vineyard FV 109 ( !! They’re involved in every other form of music, so why shouldn’t Chinese musicians play improvised music? Isolation and lack of venue are drawbacks, explains Mainlander Lao Dan who is featured on this CD. Luckily Dan, who plays alto saxophone, suona and bamboo flute, was able to connect with Americans, tenor saxophonist Paul Flaherty, percussionist Randall Colbourne and bassist Damon Smith to produce this US-recorded 77-minute slab of Free Jazz. Playing saxophone on tracks such as Noise & Light, Dan creates call-and-response patterns encompassing snarling, tripletongued smears and altissimo trills, and even supersedes the veteran saxophonist’s output with bloodcurdling shrieks and froglike croaks. Oriental exoticism isn’t a factor with his other instruments, but the aural Long Shadows he casts on that track reveal more relaxed flute pitches mixed with a spiccato tang from Smith. Meanwhile the suona’s irregular trills and pinched multiphonics on Winter Dawn feature irregular surges that complement Flaherty’s sonorous saxophone split tones and eventually create a guileless theme before diminishing into atomsized peeps. With both horn players sometimes circular breathing and invariably shooting notes past tonal limitations, Smith’s deep woody strokes and obbligato throbs, plus Colbourne’s rumbling affirmations and fluid pops, function both as backing chorus and provocation, urging the others to create even more frantic blowing. Still, at one point Dan completes a ferocious, split-tone solo by vocally screaming. Whether this is the result of excitement or joy at finding simpatico partners is open to conjecture. Ken Waxman Metropolis Paradis Mareike Wiening Greenleaf Music GRE CD- 1073 ( !! Surprising as it may seem, drummers are often accomplished composers and Nuremberg-native Mareike Wiening confirms this truism on her debut CD. Her eight tunes are interpreted by a selection of New York’s top contemporary players, which besides Americans, pianist Dan Tepfer and tenor saxophonist Rich Perry, include fellow German, bassist Johannes Felscher, and ex-Torontonian, guitarist Alex Goodman. Basically Wiening’s strategy is to create subtle sprightly lines, centred on harmonies from Goodman’s fluid fretting and Tepfer’s stacked triads and smooth key changes. Once established, Perry’s sometimes biting and always-flowing solos buoy the melody atop rhythm section swinging. Besides leaving space for frequent single-string guitar extensions and even a bass solo, Wiening’s brush and stick work is also notable for its taste. Tunes range from charming or moody to ones such as the title tune and 2 in 1 which give scope to saxophone slurs, and rolling chords that ricochet from the guitarist to the pianist. The challenging Misconception is the foot-tapping standout, however, as Tepfer digs in with harder accents, Goodman hammers out the exposition while drum rolls and rattles characterize the stop-time finale. If the CD has a drawback, it reflects Wiening’s confidence, or lack of same, as a composer. She has demonstrated that she can write subtle melodies that are lightly rhythmic while retaining sophistication. But as Misconception demonstrates by moving outwards from this lyrical comfort zone she can also create sounds that animate as well as they assuage. Ken Waxman POT POURRI Sombras OKAN Lulaworld Records LWR010 ( !! The two creators of OKAN are Elizabeth Rodriguez on vocals and violin and Magdelys Savigne on vocals, congas, cajon, bata drums and small percussion. Both artists are also the primary composers of the material on their exquisite new recording, Sombras, which translates as “shades”… and that’s exactly what this talented duo has given us – hues, intensities and variegations. Sombras was produced by ubertalented bassist Roberto Riveron (who also performs on the CD). The inspired lineup of players also includes Anthony Szczachor and Frank Martinez on drums; Bill King, Danae Olano, Jeremy Ledbetter and Miguel de Armas on piano and keyboards; Reimundo Sosa on quinto guitar; Pablosky Rosales on tres guitar; Alexis Baro on trumpet and Mari Palhares on pandeiro and surdo. The title track opens with the intoning of a sacred blessing – perhaps for Mother Africa herself, by way of Cuba – followed by a pulse-racing Latin explosion featuring sumptuous, dynamic vocals, a stirring and volatile piano solo from de Armas and the entire face-melting ensemble. Certainly one of the most moving tracks on the project, Laberinto seamlessly segues from a folk-song-like interlude into a very contemporary number, steeped in pure, powerful Cubanismo. Other delights include Desnudando El Alma (Stripping the Soul), which is a heartrending and muy romantico ballad, made all the more melancholic by the moving string arrangements and the always gorgeous piano work of King, as well as a technically thrilling bass solo from Riveron. With the charming closer, Luz (Light), we are again transported to a magical place of ancient sights, smells and emotions – Cuba puro – OKAN si! Lesley Mitchell-Clarke Resonance Stick & Bow Leaf Music LM231 ( ! ! Adventurous duo Stick & Bow is comprised of Canadian marimba player Krystina Marcoux and Argentinian cellist Juan Sebastian Delgado. With the release of their new recording, February 2020 | 79

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