August 2005

Each month we provide a series of CD reviews plus "Star Rated" items.

You can listen to clips of some of our picks. You'll need a RealAudio Player to do this, and you can download by clicking on the following icon:

Our reviewing staff members are:

John Sutherland: John has a keen interest in piano jazz and brings with him a wealth of knowledge in this area. John was head of the English department in a secondary school for over 20 years. His first exposure to jazz as a teenager was the purchase of Louis Armstrong's "Struttin' with Some Barbeque" His collection of music today includes, apart from a very large jazz section; an extensive classical collection, most of which are of a contemporary concept.

Robert Fogle: Rob is Director of Musical Services for Fogle Entertainment in Toronto, as well he hosts his own radio programme on CHRY-FM (105.5). His background as a fan, in jazz music is extensive, and he is a serious collector of all genres of the music.

Colin Smith: Colin began his interest in jazz in his native Jamaica, and since settling in Toronto has become more involved in the music he loves. Colin was the school programme director for the Markham Jazz Festival during its formative years. He also hosts a jazz radio show {One Flight Up} on CKLN-FM (88.1) in Toronto on Tuesday mornings from 7:00 am to 11:00 am.

Bob Eckersley: Bob Eckersley emigrated from England in 1957 and settled in Owen Sound (Northern Ontario), where he worked as an inspector for the government on Highway construction. His interest in jazz started during the war years, and though he is not a trained musicologist, he listens from the heart and judges accordingly.

By way of identification, reviewer's initials are inserted at the end of each review.

Previous Picks

Lee Konitz with Alan Broadbent - "More Live-Lee"

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Two Tristano-influenced musicians, altoist Konitz and pianist Broadbent, offer further selections from the 2000 sessions at the Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles. Now swinging through his 70's, Konitz remains a distinctive yet readily recognizable improvising voice in jazz. Broadbent is ideally complimentary to Konitz's oblique approach to a song, with both capturing a singer's lyrical awareness yet avoiding any clichéd phrasing. The old adage "Everything familiar is made new again" applies.


Milestone MCD-9338-2

Jim Snidero - "Close Up"

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Altoist/leader Snidero leads a quartet with pianist David Hazeltine, bassist Paul Gill, and drummer Billy Drummond, augmented by tenorman Eric Alexander on five of the eight numbers, six of which are original compositions. The dialogue between saxes, especially on such pieces as "Nippon Blue" or the more frenzied "Smash", successfully challenges the creative ability of the rhythm players to give added shape, texture, and propulsion to the group. Interpretive renderings given to the familiar melodic lines of "I Should Care" or the moody "Reality" are highlights.


Milestone MCD-9341-2

Trudy Desmond - "A Dream Come True"

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Drawn from four studio sessions (c1991-1998), the CD features "The Best of….." the vocalist's recorded career. The 17 numbers reflect her devotion to those pieces considered essential to what has been termed The Great American Songbook as well as songs she felt deserved greater recognition (e.g. "I'm Shadowing You"/"Whistling Away the Dark"/"You Better Love Me".

Outstanding performers offered musical support over those years, Guido Basso, Bill Charlap, Don Thompson, Terry Clarke, Roger Kellaway, Ed Bickert, Neil Swainson. Et al. A portion of the profits from the sale of this disc will benefit the Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto, Canada.


Just a Memory - JAM 9159-2

Fred Hersch - "2 Hands 10 Voices"

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Pianist Hersch makes the concept behind this recorded venture sound so simple: invite 10 vocalists to a recording session, each in duet performance with the pianist - pick any key and tune - avoid rehearsals or arrangements - see what happens! As the label title implies, all production costs and performances are donated with the profits going to AIDS fundraising organizations. The results here are truly inspiring in every sense, with a host of wonderfully talented singers, as varied in style as you might hope, a collection of memorable selections, and the pianistic magic of Hersch behind it all. Though I knew only two of the vocalists to start - Carol Sloan and Norma Winston, I would readily recommend any of the 10 as a worthy choice for the CD.


Broadway Cares 1002

Various Artists - "Blue Note Plays Ray Charles"
Various Artists - "Blue Note Plays Jobim"
Various Artists - "Blue Note Perfect Takes"
Jason Moran - "Same Mother"

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Blue Note here unleashes a collection of reissued performances (1958-92) given over to the compositions of Ray Charles or, at least, to songs that seem inseparably linked to him. Charles' energy and roots, drawn from gospel, country, blues and jazz, are captured in the vocals (Lou Rawls/Bill Henderson/Joe Williams), and instrumentations, especially organ (Gene Harris/Jimmy Smith/Freddie Roach/Jimmy McGriff), guitar (Grant Green/Ray Crawford), and sax (Joe Henderson/David Newman/Stanley Turrentine). Despite his recent passing, Charles' genius lives, even in the hands of others.

Another in the series of Blue Note re-releases entitled Blue Note Plays ….. centres on the music of Antonio Carlos Jobim, one of the prime movers behind the emerging Brazilian Bossa Nova of the 50's. Drawn from ten of the more instantly familiar of Jobim's songs (he composed about 300), they are given individualized treatment by Blue Note artists (1965-2001) such as Cassandra Wilson, Bud Shank, Eliane Elias, Earl Klugh, and Stanley Turrentine.

Rudy Van Gelder was the recording engineer behind the distinctive Blue Note sound from 1953 to 1971. Now, given access to all the original lacquer master discs, he has the opportunity to select and re-master a compilation of those takes he found most personally satisfying, a tribute both to his artistic genius and to the music chosen. In true professional candour, the first two choices were not his own efforts, Monk's "Four in One", Miles' "Budo"; however, his judgement outweighed his involvement. Original sessions were all live to 2-track, dating from the 50's and 60's. Memorable musically and technically. A DVD disc is also included in the package.

The surprisingly resourceful and excitingly inventive trio of Jason Moran - piano, Tarus Mateen - bass and Nasheet Waits - drums are joined by guitarist Marvin Sewell on five of the ten numbers. I must confess that I prefer the trio's imaginatively integrated efforts on such pieces as "G Suit Saltation" or Waldron's "Fire Waltz", though Sewell's contribution on Prokofiev's inspired "Field of the Dead" and Moran's ethereal, delicate "Restin" adds a provocative depth to the performances. Alicia Hall Moran's "The Field" is a memorably beautiful composition.


"Blue Note Plays Ray Charles" - Blue Note 5 60945 2
"Blue Note Plays Jobim" - Blue Note 8 63831 2
"Blue Note Perfect Takes" - Blue Note 4 73227
"Same Mother" - Blue Note 5 71780 2

Russ Freeman - "Safe at Home"

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Recorded on December 6, 1959 before an enthusiastic audience in Vancouver's Orpheum Theatre, this previously unreleased session adds significantly to the sparse discography of this talented pianist. Though his presence as sideman to such notable jazz players as Art Pepper, Howard Rumsey, Shelly Manne or Chet Baker is well documented, the creative energy that he could generate as leader/soloist - as he does here with such numbers especially as "Sweet and Lovely", "Fan Tan" and "Backfield in Motion" - has been under-appreciated . Highly recommended listening!


Just A Memory JAM 9160-2

Andrew Scott - "This One's for Barney"

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Steve Allen's "This Could be The Start of Something Big" swingingly introduces the prime musical movers on this disc - Bernie Senensky - piano, Louis Simao - bass, Joel Haynes - drums, Harry Allen - tenor and guitarist Andrew Scott, the latter in his first role as a leader. Scott's playfully polished energy is highlighted on such numbers as Barney Kessel's "Barney's Rag" with trumpeter Jake Wilkinson catching the spirit, and "Blues for Sonny", his own tribute to the legendary Sonny Greenwich. Solo exchanges by tenorman Allen and pianist Senensky especially, and the crisp interplay exhibited throughout, make this a highly recommended CD.


Sackville 2-2062

Mike Murley/David Occhipinti - "Duologue"

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The pairing of reed player Murley and guitarist Occhipinti proves to be a fortuitous coupling with an appealing mix of standards and originals given a range of delivery from the gently contemplative "You Must Believe in Spring"/"Minas Mist" to the fluid intricacy of Parker's "Segment" or the subtle spontaneity with "Early Thaw". A warm, relaxed atmosphere and a sense of spacious freedom combine to reward the listener, and to showcase the distinctive talents of the two musicians. Another winner for the Cornerstone label!


Cornerstone CRST CD 121

Mike Murley Quintet - "Extra Time"

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Saxophonist Murley stokes up the musical fires in tandem with John MacLeod - trumpet/flugelhorn to the multi-rhythmic support of pianist Dave Restivo, bassist Jim Vivian, drummer Ted Warren on such original pieces as "Creature of Habit", "Particularity" and "Extra Time", with Restivo's discursive, oblique keyboard runs highlighting the second number. Balancing these are the balladic ruminations of "Santiago Reflections" and measured, darkly contrasted probings with "Open Segment". The lengthy concluding Murley original "The Split 2" dramatically moves from an aura of mystery to a fanciful flight of bold textures and gyrating rhythms.


Cornerstone CRST CD 123

Star Rated Picks

New Releases:




Label & Cat. No.


Flora Purim

Flora's Song

Narada Jazz 70876-19327-2-0


Hilario Duran

New Danzon

Alma ACD 14622


Alex Pangman

Can't Stop Me From Dreaming

Sensation 8 05455 00789 1


Emile-Claire Barlow

Happy Feet

Rhythm Tracks RT CD0004


David Occhipinti


Occday Music OM 003


John Scofield

That's What I Say

Verve B000436002


Hank Jones

For My Father

Justin Time JUST 209-2


Tim Postgate Hornband

featuring Howard Johnson

Guildwood GR 006


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