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Volume 28 Issue 4 | February - March 2023

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Volume 28 no.4, covering Feb, March and into early April '23! David Olds remembers composer John Beckwith; Andrew Timar reflects on the life and times of artistic polymath Michael Snow; Mezzo Emily Fons, in town for Figaro, on trouser roles, the life of a mezzo-soprano on the road and more; Colin Story on the Soft-Seat beat; tracks from 22 new recordings added to our Listening Room. All this and more.

Tango, six

Tango, six multi-movement dance suites for bandoneon and cello. Plante is joined by Stéphane Tétreault here. These two multi award-winning musicians play the mesmerizing unique sounds with compassion. Baroque meets modern day Argentinian dance music head on! Suite No.1, “Argentina” is a perfect introduction to Plante’s compositions here. First movement Preludio, with its slow emotional rubato opening, creates the mood, with a gradual accelerando into instrumental conversational tango styles. Lyrical slower bandoneon opens Silbando, with legato cello contrapuntal countermelodies, plucked cello and lower-pitch bandoneon solo adding different colours. The third movement Tango is so very melodically rooted in this dance-form style, highlighted by cello melodies accompanied by accented bandoneon chords and single notes, then shifting to bandoneon melodies with cello accents. The opening movement Coral of Suite No.2 “Bach to tango” features a Baroque/tango-flavoured bandoneon to a closing Bach-like cadence. The solo cello is memorable in the short 49-second Recitativo second movement. The Baroque-coloured tonal duet features subtle tango feelings in Canto. Back to an exuberant lively short tango in the fourth movement Milonga-cayengue. Four exciting multimovement suites follow. Plante composes with Bach and tangoflavoured styles combined, alone and developed into compelling new sounds. Both performers play with colourful rich tones, and virtuosic stylistic/instrumental expertise. It’s time to listen and/or to dance to Suite Tango! Tiina Kiik JAZZ AND IMPROVISED Featuring Caity Gyorgy La Reserve Recordings ( ! With the opening barn burner, I Feel Foolish, singersongwriter Caity Gyorgy puts us on notice of what’s to come on Featuring. It’s the first of many compelling songs she’s written for her latest release, and what’s to come is 13 tracks of vocal virtuosity and genuine jazz, ranging in style from swing to cool to bebop. Backed up by a hard-swinging trio (Felix Fox-Pappas, piano; Thomas Hainbuch, bass; Jacob Wutzke, drums) with guest appearances by guitarist Jocelyn Gould (who does a gorgeous duet with Gyorgy on the ballad, I Miss Missing You), fellow young phenom singer, Laura Anglade and a long lineup of horn and woodwind players, including Pat LaBarbera and Virginia MacDonald. Gyorgy solos effortlessly and extensively along with the master instrumentalists, but never sacrifices warmth or musicality for adroitness. Storytelling wins out even when vocal gymnastics are dazzling us, as they do on A Moment, featuring the remarkable Allison Au on sax. My Cardiologist is a masterclass on how to be both light-hearted yet seriously musical, with its witty take on what love does to our hearts. The accolades continue to pile up for Gyorgy since her debut release two short years ago, as she made Best of 2022 lists and won a Juno Award. I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of the world catch on as this homegrown talent expands her reach through tours in the U.S. and beyond. Track her progress at Cathy Riches Concert note: Caity Gyorgy performs on March 31 at the Old Ancaster Fire Hall in Ancaster. Recollecting Mathieu Soucy Inner-Bob Records ( ! Young jazz guitarist Mathieu Soucy, a recent graduate of McGill and a Montreal native, showcases his prolific compositional and technical skills on this debut album. Soucy adds his own twist to the songs, managing to both create a beautiful hark back to the eras of swing and bop while also bringing them into current times; making for a new classic of sorts. The record features an excellent set of musicians, with Gentiane MG on keys, Mike De Masi on bass, Jacob Wutzke on drums and Caity Gyorgy on vocals. Most pieces are penned by the guitarist himself with a couple of fresh takes on wellknown jazz classics mixed into the musical pot pourri. Lennie’s Changes starts off the album with catchy, toe-tapping energy; fast-paced bass runs and a constant, driving beat keep this captivating little number moving until the last note fades. Where or When is a spiffy take on the Rodgers and Hart classic, featuring the sultry and mellow vocals of Gyorgy with Soucy’s talents as a guitarist splendidly coming to the forefront within the piece. The fascinating thing about this album is how Soucy manages to make these pieces sound as if they could have been written back in the golden era yet also fit incredibly well into the current musical landscape. With this invigorating album, the up-and-coming young guitarist shows that he definitely has more in store for the future. Kati Kiilaspea Let Go Sam Taylor; Terell Stafford; Jeb Patton; Neal Miner; Willie Jones III Cellar Music CM013122 ( ! Philadelphia native, tenor saxophonist Sam Taylor has a pure joy for both playing and writing music which shines through phenomenally on his latest release. Recorded at the legendary Van Gelder Studios in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, Taylor has managed to capture that aforementioned joy within each of these pieces and send it right to the ears and hearts of listeners; it’s impossible to not smile while listening through. The talented musician has brought together his musical heroes and inspirations in his backing band, featuring Terell Stafford on trumpet, Jeb Patton on piano, Neal Miner on bass and Willie Jones III on drums. The pieces are uplifting and fresh takes on jazz classics with one song penned by Taylor himself. The record is a ray of musical sunshine that brightens up the dreariest, grey winter days from the first note. A perfect balance of slower, mellow tunes and fast-paced, headbopping ones make for an ear-pleasing, allencompassing musical journey to satiate that itch for fresh music that you didn’t quite know you had. Luminescence stands out as a particularly energetic and snazzy piece with fantastic solos peppered throughout, showcasing each musician’s fine talents. Bye Bye Baby, a fitting title to end the record, leaves the listener with a sense of hope and positivity for the future as well as a curiosity to see what this prolific saxophonist comes up with next. A great addition to the jazz aficionado’s collection! Kati Kiilaspea Make That Flight François Houle & Marco von Orelli ezz-thetics 1032 ( ! A barebones, but not budget flight, this 11-track itinerary is fuelled by only two instruments and the improvisational imaginations of Canadian clarinetist François Houle and Swiss cornetist Marco von Orelli. The key to microscopic interactive playing like this is to make the partnership expansive not reductive, creating as many harmonized or contrapuntal tropes as necessary. Not only are compositions divided between the musicians, but for every delicate reed tone and portamento brass sequence heard, an almost equal number of altissimo squeals and half-valve extensions 62 | February & March, 2023

alance the horizontal flow. This is most expansively expressed on the concluding Morning Song 1 where the tune’s forward motion is speckled with shaking growls and toneless breaths from von Orelli and scoops and stretches from Houle. Eventually both intersect and resolve the tune with connected but distorted high pitches. Transitions aren’t always that abrupt, as dual sweeps up and down the scale are sometimes concluded with grace not suturing. Other times, as on a track like Tandem, the title is literally defined. Allegro cornet puffs and calliope-like clarinet peeps move through parallel shaking emissions only to finally connect with tandem-animated narratives. Overall, while each sequence allows for individual technical expressions, all are resolved with lockstep ambulation or rondolike affiliations, leading to broken octave linear motion. Without the need for electronic technology or more partners, Houle and von Orelli prove that together they can auspiciously fuel a memorable musical flight. Ken Waxman Outside the Rain Has Stopped Ig Henneman Stichting Wig Wig 32 ( album/outside-the-rain-has-stopped) ! Canadians who only know Dutch violist Ig Henneman from her collaboration with the local Queen Mab duo, might not realize that in recognition of her lifetime in improvised and composed music The Netherlands made her a Knight of the Order of Oranje-Nassau in 2021. This CD presents many aspects of the 76-year-old’s extensive career in many idioms. The soundscape Bow Valley, which blends improv with Alberta’s Rocky Mountain area field recordings is one standout. While Anne La Berge’s flute flutters and Ab Baars’ shakuhachi trills are intertwined with rural sounds, the bucolic texture is repeatedly interrupted by passing freight train whistles and radios blaring rock music. Meanwhile Galina U, inspired by Russian composer Galina Ustvolskaya, posits a contrapuntal challenge between Ansgar Wallenhorst’s foghorn-like organ drones and dynamic crescendos with structured colouration from La Berge’s flute, Baars’ clarinet and Henneman’s own viola. Other compositions for pressurized solo organ, spirited solo cello and poem or sound poem embellishments and improvisations are included. But the most impressive demonstration of Henneman’s compositional aptitude is the title tune. Here, dynamic interaction among violins, viola and cello with jagged arco slices, sul tasto pushes and whistling glissandi, shatter the form then reach an energetic crescendo that approaches Cecil Taylor’s dynamic pianism. Obviously, Ig Henneman is a name that should be more recognized by sophisticated listeners on both sides of the musical improvisation-notation divide. Ken Waxman In a Summer Dream Hannah Barstow; Mike Murley; Jim Vivian Cornerstone Records ( ! There can be no question that the creative pairing of pianist, vocalist and composer Hannah Barstow with saxophonist/composer Mike Murley is beyond inspired… and the addition of eminent jazz bassist Jim Vivian is not only the perfect complement to Barstow and Murley, but also to the superb, eclectic selection of rarely performed tunes and the two original compositions here. Barstow and Murley serve as producers, innovatively arranging works from such diverse artists as Johnny Mandel, Nat Adderley, Johnny Mercer and Michel Legrand. The program kicks off with Mandel’s Don’t Look Back – which features a haunting, delicate melodic line as well as masterful playing from Barstow who has put her own swinging stamp on this Broadway tune. Her pitch-perfect, rhythmic jazz vocal style adds another dimension to the meaningful lyric, while Murley and Vivian eminently support Barstow throughout. Barstow’s intonation, tone, lyrical interpretation and respect for the melody is worthy of a vocal master class – and the sooner the better! Who Are You comes from iconic trumpeter/composer Kenny Wheeler. The tenor solo opening gently segues into Barstow’s stunning vocal line. Murley sings through his tenor, effortlessly creating an aura of musical intimacy, and Vivian’s skilled and moving bass solo takes us deeper on the trip. From the inspired minds of Legrand and Mercer, comes Once Upon a Summertime, replete with a sumptuous solo from Murley. Of special note is Barstow’s original title track, which calls to mind the vocal style and musicality of the great Norma Winstone. By any musical criteria, this is one of the finest jazz recordings of the year. Lesley Mitchell-Clarke A Little Louder Now Lauren Falls; David French; Trevor Giancola; Todd Pentney; Trevor Falls Independent ( ! With her second dynamic salvo, gifted and accomplished bassist and composer Lauren Falls has fired off a fine recording comprised almost entirely of original tunes. Joining her is a superb ensemble, including Todd Pentney on piano, Trevor Giancola on guitar, David French on tenor saxophone and Trevor Falls on drums. First up is New View – a languid, sensual trip, grounded by Pentney’s perfectly insistent chordal movement and Giancola’s incredible touch and taste on guitar – which brings to mind the great Jim Hall or Mundell Lowe. French’s warm, substantial sound perfectly parenthesises the almost hypnotic tonal modalities of the composition. The well-conceived title track absolutely grooves with intent and prominently displays the artistry of each musician. Falls is rock solid, and her superb bass work not only permeates the musical landscape, but it deftly leads her group through this evocative tone poem. Drummer Falls not only embodies seamless, perfect dynamics, but additionally manifests the ideal diaphanous support of his sister’s gorgeous solo. Disagree to Disagree is an outstanding effort, rife with emotional content, exploring both longing and resolution. French weaves his tenor in and out of the composition, with clever improvisations that underscore the contrapuntal aspects of the tune. Another standout is Take Me. This track lilts along with pure joy, and the duet sequences between tenor and guitar are almost breathtakingly beautiful, as is Pentney’s piano solo. The closer, Vincent Youmans’ venerable Tin Pan Alley classic, I Want to Be Happy is presented here with a fresh, contemporary twist, featuring some interesting non-standard chord changes that perfectly illustrate the cognitive dissonance of the search for personal happiness in a seemingly cold, rigid, unforgiving world – just as it was in the Great Depression. Lesley Mitchell-Clarke HOME.S. Esbjörn Svensson ACT 9053-2 ( ! During the 28 years when he was active, pianist Esbjörn Svensson (1964-2008) was all the rage. The music that he created with his trio e.s.t. had an February & March, 2023 | 63

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