Saturday, January 14, 2017

Meddy Gerville - Tropical Rain (DOT TIME RECORDS 2017)

“Tropical Rain” is the ninth album from Pianist, composer and vocalist Meddy Gerville. The album features a star studded line up including Randy Brecker: Trumpet, Giovanni Hidalgo: Percussion, Lionel Loueke: Guitar and Michel Alibo: Bass. “Tropical Rain” features thirteen original compositions ranging from the romantic ballad “Camile” (written for Meddy’s daughter) to “Si zer gran martin”, a unique fusion of Jazz and Maloya, characterized by rhythms of his native Reunion Island.

01. Aerofeel
02. Fresh Perfume
03. Pot pourri Maloya
04. Bandolim Spirit
05. Si zèr gran martin
06. Ter vs Bin
07. Camila
08. Bab Marakech
09. Konm sa minm
10. Domoun Malizé
11. La bohème
12. Voyage Austral
13. Sanm ou mi ve [bonus track]

Captain Green - Jazz Noise (2017)

The band will celebrate the release of its latest album, "Jazz Noise," with a show on Saturday at the Varsity Theatre. Doors open at 8 p.m. Jam rockers Levee Daze open the show at 9 p.m. 

Captain Green is known for its virtuoso playing and high-energy instrumental music. Though the new record still features intricate compositions, the band wanted to ease back a bit for a calmer aesthetic.

“The last [album] was a psychedelic tour de force,” keyboardist and band leader Ross Hoppe said. "There’s some heavy-hitting stuff on this one, too, but we’re going for a more chill vibe and showing our jazz influence more.”

The band draws evenly from two primary wells of inspiration: Miles Davis and Frank Zappa.

“I have two tattoos — one is Davis and one is Zappa,” Hoppe said. “What made Miles so good was that it wasn’t just him; it was a roster of superstar pioneers on their instruments. What Zappa did was compose classical or opera for a rock band. I like to think we’re in between the crazy acid jazz and the prog-rock.”

The jazz vibe on the new record goes further than song composition. In the studio for only a few days last fall, the band wanted to record in a live-performance style.

“We wanted to record it more like old jazz records where they’d strategically place a couple mics in a room and play a couple takes to get the song," bassist Robert Kling said. "It gives it a live, organic feeling.”

This is the first Captain Green studio recording to feature a guitarist, after having Grant Hudson join the band in 2014.

“Having someone as good as Grant on guitar definitely makes my job easier,” Hoppe said. “I get to play less, and that frees me up in a different way.”

Hoppe writes most of the music (sometimes with trumpeter Dave Melancon) with live performances in mind.

“I write parts for everybody but myself, so live I do different stuff every time just by improvising and reacting to the energy of the crowd,” Hoppe said.

Saxophonist Kevin McMann also recorded with Captain Green for the first time after joining last year. Melancon and drummer Chris “Katt” Lee returned to the studio with the band to record “Jazz Noise.” Drummer Michael Harris plays on three of the album’s tracks.

In a band with so much sound and so many solos, Kling said there is a specific task onstage.

“Everything has to be intentional — you can push without playing tons of stuff,” Kling said. “There’s a lot of sound potential onstage, so we try to guide it, as well as back the other guys up.”

Although proud of the new studio release, Kling and Hoppe both consider Captain Green to be its boldest during live performances.

“It’s how we’ve learned to work as a unit,” Kling said. “We always have the option to do anything live, and it’s different every time — and that’s the jazz tradition." 

1. Shattered Teeth Nightmare 2:57
2. Tsurutsuru 6:08
3. Kitties Go to Sleep 7:15
4. The Snaffe 8:04
5. Dinogasm [Part 1} 5:05
6. Dinogasm [Part 2] 8:42
7. Revenge of the Swedish Chef 10:32
8. Hot Black Sticky Tar Balls 9:41

Chelsea McBride's Socialist Night School - The Twilight Fall (2017)

A few words from Chelsea : 

We spend so many hours of our lives in transit - on busses, trains, planes, in cars, constantly traveling to new destinations, in search of what places can bring to us. Sometimes we travel to work, sometimes for pleasure, sometimes necessity. But we are always on the move. 

The Twilight Fall is the soundtrack to your traveling daydreams, the story of your life. As you move between waking, concrete places, the Socialist Night School takes you on a long distance journey to the end of your imagination - fantastic landscapes, internal dialogue, echoes of memory - and when your body finally arrives, we bring you home.

I would like to thank the Socialist Night School - Colleen, Naomi, Anthony, Patrick, Conrad, James, Justin, Tom, Brown, Will, Aidan, Jill, Siebs, Bruder, Alex, David, Steven, Geoff - for your years of dedication, your tireless hard work, your enthusiasm and positive energy, and your commitment to the further development of an equal opportunity world for everyone.

Without you, this music does not come to life, and I am so thankful that you all have jumped on board this crazy ride with me. To Mom and Dad and Ryan and Marty and all of my extended family: thank you for your constant support and encouragement as I recklessly pursue my dreams. To Len Kay and Marty Summers, David Fromager and Garth Bowen, Mike Allen and Alex Dean and Shirantha Beddage and Andy Ballantyne: thank you for teaching me how to make this instrument make sense. And to Jeremy Hepner, to Darcy James Argue, to David Occhipinti, to Daniel Jamieson: thank you for showing me how to convey a little of your wisdom and my emotions in this weird and wonderful puzzle of composition, arranging, and orchestration.

To all the people behind the scenes on the production team and at Browntasauras – Kevin, Brown, Nick, Nick and Nickel, Andre, Arthur, Ernesto: you are an essential part of this process and it could not have come together without you, so thank you for your constant dedication and hard work and tolerance for late-night emails. To the funders, the Toronto Arts Council, FACTOR, the Toronto Arts Foundation, and especially Manuel and Cheryl Buchwald: thank you for your infinite patience, your financial contribution, and for believing in me and what I could achieve.

And last but not least, to my friends, colleagues, mentors, and more: thank you for your inspiration, your encouragement, your support, and the impressions you have left on me. I hope that this music leaves you feeling whole.

01. Ambleside 02:45
02. Intransitory 07:35
03. The Twilight Fall 09:11
04. Smooth (or What I Should Have Said Instead) 07:39
05. Spirits 03:45
06. Arrival of the Pegasus 07:58
07. Foot In Mouth 09:49
08. In Dreams 05:23
09. Ambleside (reprise) 01:50
10. Something Simple 06:28

Released January 13, 2017 

The Socialist Night School is: 

Vocals: Alex Samaras 
Reeds: Colleen Allen, Naomi Higgins, Anthony Rinaldi, Patrick Smith, Conrad Gluch 
Trumpet/flugelhorns: James Rhodes, Justin See, Tom Upjohn, Brownman Ali 
Trombones: William Carn, Aidan Sibley, Jill Richards, Nicholas Sieber 
Rhythm: Chris Bruder (piano), David Riddel (guitar), Steven Falk (upright & electric bass), Geoff Bruce (drums) 

Recorded at Revolution Recording Studios, September 2016 
Produced by Kevin Stolz 
Executive producer : Brownman Ali 

Recorded & edited by Andre St-Denis of Bonneville Records 
Mixed by Nick Bonin 
Mastered by Nick Blagona at Psychotropic Sound 
Cover art by Arthur Ikuta 
Album layout by Browntasauras Records

Nguyên Lê & Ngô Hồng Quang- Há Nôi Duo (feat. Paolo Fresu) ACT MUSIC 2017

Art Hirahara - Central Line (POSI-TONE RECORDS 2017)

Pianist and composer Art Hirahara, born and raised in the Bay Area of San Francisco, has worked with vocalists Freddie Cole and Stacey Kent as well as baritone saxophonist Fred Ho and trumpeter Dave Douglas.  “Central Line” is his fourth album as a leader and his third for Posi-Tone Records. The new album changes the focus a bit from his previous two (2011’s “Noble Path” and 2015’s “Libations and Meditations“) in that, sprinkled into the 14 tracks, there are four solo piano performances and four that add tenor saxophonist Donny McCaslin to the trio of Linda Oh (bass) and Rudy Royston (drums).

The variety of settings is a big plus in that the program moves from the introspective solo pieces to heartfelt ballads to more uptempo tracks.  McCaslin’s appearances each stand out.  He and Royston stoke the fires on “Kin Ka: Gold Coin“, the hardest-hitting piece, while his full-toned and emotional solo on “Astray” moves from sweet melody to blues to impressionism.  “Entanglement” also moves between lyricism and hard blowing for both the tenor and piano solos, bolstered by the splendid bass work and Royston’s fiery percussion.  McCaslin and Hirahara team up for a playful duet for the first third of “Little Giant” that continues in its buoyant mood as the rhythm section and ratchets up the energy.

The pianist shares the opening melody of the title track with Ms. Oh; their interactions through the high-speed song, punctuated by Royston dances around the drums, is pure delight.  Yes, their playing is technically impressive but the melodic aspects of the piece remain front-and-center. “Drawing With Light” is a perfect title, a ballad with a strong emotional feel that picks up in speed and intensity, the piece culminating in a two-handed piano solo abetted by the flying bass lines and powerful drumming. There’s a similar feel to “Sensitive Animal” but, while the energy certainly picks up in the middle, the piece stays on a lyrical track. Lyricism also stands out on the lovely trio version of Chico Buarque’s “As Minhas Meninas.” Ms. Oh’s fine solo is a melodic treat as is her work on the free-form “Redwood Thaw“, a short piece (1:56) on which the listener feels as if one is intruding on a private moment.

The solo pieces each have a story.  “Kuroda Bushi” is a traditional song from Japan with a stately melody line while “Introspect” is a lovely tone poem, also with a well-drawn melody.  “Tracing The Line” builds slowly, the melody unfolding and opening up  not unlike a Keith Jarrett solo improvisation.  The closing track is the beautiful and soulful “Yuyake Koyake” – composed by Kanichi Shimofusa (1898-1962), its lovely folk melody describes a late afternoon sky and is a perfect close to an impressive program.

“Central Line” deserves your attention. The music that Art Hirahara created for this program gives the listener an insight not only into his fine musicianship but also into his creative mind.  Each song is a story built from his experiences as a pianist, composer, world traveler, accompanist, and human being. Enjoy this journey.