Friday, December 19, 2008

Tim Turvey presents world jazz fusion concert

Always looking to explore new territory, local musician Tim Turvey presents Neeraj Prem’s Ragaffaire, January 3 at the Brantford Arts Block.
Turvey drums with the Hamilton-based group, playing music of Northern India and Hindustani origins. Taking part in the first Brantford International Jazz Festival this past summer, Turvey has established a solid following and he is looking forward to introducing his hometown fans to Prem (above), a virtuoso sitarist and leader in the modern movement of Indian music.
Since immigrating to Canada in 2002, he has been featured in television and radio productions such as the Asian Television Network and Omni 2. He has a weekly show on McMaster radio and he also runs the Raga Music School, catering to students in Toronto and surrounding areas. His debut CD, Sounds of India, which was recorded in both India and Canada, has been recognized by the Dofasco Hamilton Music Awards for special instrumentalist of the year and best cultural recording of the year.
Advance tickets are available for $8 at the Arts Block, located at 80 Dalhousie St. Tickets can also be purchased at the door for $10. Doors will open at 7 p.m. and the show begins at 8 p.m. Contact for further information or tickets.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Live review: Lady Son Y Articulo Viente

Spirits of Ibrahim Ferrer and old Cuba are alive and jumping in southern Ontario. Appearing as part of the downtown jazz series in Brantford last night, Lady Son Y Articulo Viente is a Toronto-based group specializing in Cuban Son and Salsa. Fans of Buena Vista Social Club and traditional sounds will recogzine tunes from their live show. Musical director/lead vocalist Yeti Ajasin (right) commands attention at centre stage while introducing a six-piece band. Sean Bellaviti (piano) and Jay Danley (Tres Cubano) stand out among this talent-ridden group of players from all corners of the planet. Normally using a larger horn section, Patrick Blanchard made the authentic vibe complete with touches of trombone. They are planning to release a CD in the new year.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Lori Bell - the music of Djavan

My first review published by (below)has cracked their 50 most read list. Currently at #39, nearly 550 people have looked into this Lori Bell CD over the past month.
If you can dig flute-fueled funk give this record a spin...
A tribute record can be an interesting way to discover an artist—especially one with such a lengthy career, gone previously unnoticed.
Most of the material by phenomenal flute player Lori Bell on The Music of Djavan is originally from the 70s, and here she takes a look at the Brazilian singer-songwriter whose songs have been recorded by Al Jarreau and Carmen McRae. In 2000, Djavan won a Grammy for Best Brazilian Song at the first Latin Grammy Awards.
Leaving enough space for other instruments (besides the flute) ensures the funk-fueled back beat stays strong during most of this recording. Bell is not given extended solo time and the overall sound she creates does not drift carelessly into space (as too much flute can sometimes do in jazz). All but one of the tracks features instrumental music.
"A Ilha (The Island)" calls attention to pianist Tamir Hendelman, from Israel. In 2001 he appeared at the Hollywood Bowl as part of the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, playing excerpts from the legendary Oscar Peterson album, Canadiana Suite (Limelight, 1964). Peterson personally compliments Hendelman in his online journal, calling the new young voice "exhilarating and thoughtful." One should keep their eyes and ears open for Hendelman's name and inventive sound. In only the second tune, a solid rhythm section of bassist David Enos and drummer Enzo Todesco begin to flex their mighty musical muscles, rounding out what would be a great bop trio.
With a flurry of flute and a peppering of piano, "Serrado" sounds like a natural soundtrack to a smoky 70s film.
By the mid-point of the CD, any thoughts of wishing Bell was a sax player have been cast aside. Purists may struggle with the flute out in front, but interestingly, her transition from what might be expected out of a smooth jazz sound, into free-jazz/funk territory, is fresh.
"Obi," a particularly positive samba, features piano and flute solos separately. It is when these two players join together that the song finally blasts off, prematurely fading away in conclusion, just when the free falling flute and punishing piano were gleefully losing control.
"Canto da Lyra (Song of the Lyre)" finds the band catching a serious groove, maintaining the funky feel and unloading the album's catchiest moments.
Unnecessarily wandering over the seven minute mark on a couple of tracks and including orchestral arrangements on others can be distracting between moments of such an upbeat nature. Only the classical material feels out of place in an otherwise brilliant piece of discovery for jazz explorers.

Monday, December 8, 2008

McCoy Tyner - the best of (The Blue Note Years)

Happy birthday to McCoy Tyner, who turns 70 tomorrow. He is celebrating upon the release of his latest album Guitars after a career of roughly 50 years.
Tyner must be one of the best jazz pianists active today. Since gigging with John Coltrane from 1960-65, Tyner has worked with his own groups as well as with notables like Ike and Tina Turner, Sonny Rollins and Stephane Grapelli.
The Best of McCoy Tyner - the Blue Note Years covers a time period between 1967 and 1989. His early quartet including Elvin Jones (drums), Ron Carter (bass) and Joe Henderson (tenor sax) begins the CD with a wild number appropriately title "Passion Dance."
Lee Morgan appears on "Man from Tanganyika" and clearly makes an impression with his definite trumpet delivery.
Any fan of Thelonious Monk ("Blue Monk" appears on this album) and truly original piano jazz stylings will dig this collection. A highly recommended introduction to further material by Tyner.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Jump Up Records - Caribbean Memories Sampler

So, technically it is not a jazz CD. Forgive me. But listen hard and you will find a great range of horns and jazziness in among the 21 tunes.

This Chicago label has quite the slate of ska/reggae/dub talent.

Popping out among the long list immediately is Dub Is A Weapon.

The two main musicians behind the band are Dave Hahn, a guitarist with Antibalas and Larry McDonald, a percussionist who's played with artists such as Taj Mahal, Bad Brains and Peter Tosh. After recently becoming Lee Perry's back-up band they sold out a west coast tour of the U.S. and Canada. Their six-song LP is currently unavailable through but "Bruce Lee" is a good enough reason to give this compilation a chance.

Drastics are another great band on here. "Red Light" has to be the best track of the CD. Out of Chicago, they have three releases to date but they are temporarily out of order as far as live shows go. One band member has a horrible story about being hit by a 7 Up truck while he was riding his bicycle. for the low down on these guys.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Consider this...

"Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana."

- Groucho Marx

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Jazz Arts Trio - Tribute

Rightfully so, indeed, more tributes to Oscar Peterson continue to appear. The Jazz Arts Trio combines six tunes by this late piano legend, known for his trios, with reinterpretations of songs featuring other trios lead by famed pianists Erroll Garner, Bill Evans, Vince Guaraldi, Herbie Hancock and Horace Silver.
Tribute, recently released on JRI Recordings, is an attempt to re-create specific moments in jazz history.
Pianist Frederick Moyer, bassist Peter Tillotson and drummer Peter Fraenkel are three friends reuniting after 30 years. Since playing together in high school and going their own ways, they got back together in 2007 when Moyer was thinking about transcribing and learning the music of his favorite recordings.
After purchasing the Amazing Slow Downer, software that slows down music without changing the pitch, Moyer began to capture moments of improvised jazz expression and he is demonstrating the ability to explain the art to a classical music crowd.
Much like the way classical musicians interpret Beethoven or Bach, this truly special project takes the music of jazz legends and explains it to these incredibly capable performers, mainly schooled in the classical realm.
In liner notes by Scott Yanow, Fraenkel describes his chore of transcribing brush strokes, cymbal splashes and drum rolls. “Figuring out what those guys actually played and then performing it is sort of like breaking the genetic code,” says the drummer who spent hours listening to the likes of Louis Hayes, Bobby Durham and Grady Tate in preparation.
Vince Guaraldi’s tune “Freeway” throws a curve into the mellow, middle part of Tribute. With Peterson material taking up the first four and final two of the CD’s 11 tracks, the Guaraldi song is a fun, almost Monk-like surprise stuck in the centre. Unmistakably eye-opening on a record full of stars, it is shocking that his work is not more well-known. Before writing the music behind the Peanuts cartoon series, he spent time as an apprentice with Cal Tjader and Woody Herman. His first album, Modern Music from San Francisco, was recorded in 1955.
“Lonely Woman,” a Silver original is a chance to relax the toe-tapping and appreciate a remarkably basic selection. It serves as an impeccable intermission and a gentle jaunt before the tribute to Oscar carries on.
‘Blues Etude’ completes the project with the Jazz Arts Trio going for and executing a hard-bop vibe in a big way. It punctuates Peterson’s appeal and underscores a slick set.
Moyer plays with classical orchestras all over the world and he deserves credit for assembling this project with his extremely talented mates in order to preserve pieces of a jazz legacy. Moyer’s skill and forward thinking, along with his stunning band makes Tribute a relevant salute to Peterson and other piano greats.

Tim Turvey - Autodidactic

A dazzling jazz drummer first, for sure; Tim Turvey is also an upcoming multi-instrumentalist and composer with an aptitude for recording his work himself.
In a brief four-song debut EP, Autodidactic, the Brantford, Ontario native demonstrates sharp, thundering skills on his primary instruments as a percussionist. Piano, clarinet, bass and guitar work is all his doing, as well, and fans of jazz fusion will eat this up for a snack.
A particular style is not easily identifiable in the roughly 15-minute project.
Turvey may be mistaken for Cecil Taylor during the menacing keyboard attacks on the second track, “Improv For Thirteen.” Piano and clarinet hiccup, starting and stopping in a meandering march. Quiet and loud, strange, chunky beats erupt after nearly five minutes of the EP’s most daring moments.
“Strict Nine” is Turvey’s answer to “Take Five.” A swinging highlight of the CD, it is driven by the drone of the clarinet, leading into a bold bop chorus.
A smooth, drum-free number, “In Pulse” continues the instrumental theme through to the end track. It is a peaceful conclusion to a release full of creatively bent jazz, pumped full of life by a pilot of percussive pathways.
As well as an independent musician, Turvey is a member of Ragaffaire, a Hamilton-based group playing music of Northern India & Hindustani origins. He is also a member of the Indie Rock group, No Orchestra and the Free Improv group In Orbit Trio.
Other projects include partnerships with the Association of Improving Musicians Toronto, AIM Calgary & the Kitchener-Waterloo Improvisers Collective.

Heloisa Fernandes – Fruto

Even without the team of dynamic percussionists and fine string accompaniment, Fruto is a masterpiece of arrangement and composition.
Brazilian pianist Heloisa Fernandes can tickle both the hearts of those with a taste for a quieter, more elegant classical palette and those whose survival is based upon jazz in their blood.
Vocal beats in “Colheita” create an epic, fundamental sound featuring only piano and multiple musicians creating choral rhythms together.
Bottomless, dark violin tones change the character of Fruto during the fourth number. Assuming the entire record will be set in a cheerful scene becomes a fleeting thought. A string duo stabs away with sorrow before Fernandes re-enters and stylishly brings spirits back up again in “Crianca,” interestingly spiraling through nine minutes.
Pounding her way along the keys and through the record’s most apocalyptic track, “Trilhos Urbanos” is the only song not written by Fernandes. Caetano Veloso gets credit for this tune, one that lets loose and devastates the quite casual sound of the album.
Two drummers, a percussionist and a guest percussionist (Nana Vasconcelos) do get their rest time, allowing for Zeca Assumpcao (contrabass) to guide the pianist to another level – one of a jazz duo. After a challenging, genre-splitting ride, a 90 second finale called “Rita” is simple goodbye in conclusion.
Tracks eight through 14 move quickly along through entirely improvisational material and juxtaposed against a creatively crafted first half of the CD, they create an atmosphere needing to hear more.
A solo recording is in the air, one can hope. Alone, her arrangements stand-up strongly but with this group of musicians behind her the sound is determined and complete – making for magnificent Brazilian flavored modern music with jazz in it’s soul.