March 2001


These CD's contain music performed, and in many instances, composed, by some of the creme de la creme of Canadian jazz artists.

Andre White - "Signal"

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Drummer Andre White leads a stellar unit on "Signal", Kirk MacDonald - tenor, Ben Monder - guitar and Neil Swainson - bass. One of Andre's favourite groups from his father's extensive collection, was the Stan Getz/Jimmy Raney Quintet, thus his leaning to the lineup for this particular recording.This is not a mirror image, musically, of that group from the early '50s, it has it's own identity, and pursues original compositions from the pens of White, MacDonald, and yes, Jimmy Raney (the title track).

MacDonald flows easily, with a trace of inspiration from late 50's Coltrane,and there is a sense of sly humour in the stories he tells in his lengthy solo spots. Monder creates some impressive solo work too, and his comping is confident and warm. Swainson is ever present, listening and providing the pulse along with the crisp drum work of leader White, who surges like an ocean wave underneath everything. HH

Cornerstone CRST 112

Cornerstone recordings are available by calling 1-888-746-7234. Mike Murley recordings on-line at

Murley, Bickert & Wallace - "Live at the Senator"

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"Live at the Senator" offers three master craftsmen performing 6 standards and 2 original compositions recorded in November of 1999 at Toronto's 'Top O' the Senator' jazz club.

The choice of material is Mike Murley's, who had wanted to record an album of standards for some time. "There is a wonderful challenge in taking an old tune that has stood the test of time and "singing" it in one's own voice as honestly as you possibly can" (Murley's liner notes).The trio exhibits a love of melody as they wonder through the compositions of Cole Porter "It's All Right With Me"/"Everytime We Say Goodbye", Ray Noble "Just In Time"/"The Touch Of Your Lips", Sammy Cahn/Alex Stordahl/Paul Weston "I Should Care" and Livingston/Evans/Young "Golden Earrings", plus two bright up-tempo originals by Murley "On The Spot"/"Can't You See". Three most expressive and lyrical musicians joining forces to deliver cool, relaxed and swinging renditions of tasty jazz. HH

Cornerstone CRST 113

Cornerstone recordings are available by calling 1-888-746-7234. Mike Murley recordings on-line at

Duncan Hopkins - "Snapshots"

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"Snapshots" as the title implies, is just that, eight original compositions written by bassist Duncan Hopkins, taking us back through some very special memories (not unlike your favourite photo album), from his life before and after his arrival from England to Canada. "The Empress of Canada" has shifting time signatures and frenetic tempos, not unlike a passage across the Atlantic, aptly described here by the two trumpets of John MacLeod and special guest Mike Malone over a roiling rhythm section, Dave Restivo - piano, Kevin Dempsey - drums and bassist Hopkins. "Coventry" is dedicated to Hopkin's birthplace and features solos by alto saxophonist Roy Styffe, as well as Restivo and MacLeod.

Included in the other memories we hear material dedicated to a trip to Brazil with the Rob McConnell Boss Brass "Deseronto", his late mother "Hotel Adieu", Kenny Wheeler and John MacLeod "And Then There Were Two", his love of the city of Montreal "Welcome to Babylon", a humerous incident on stage with drummer Dempsey "Lost and Ignorant", vivid memories of dress code before his move to Toronto "White Pants, Red Suspenders". Exceptional performances by a group of energetic and exciting artists whose brand of music on this recording leaves you wanting more. HH

Independent UPRCD-171

John Roney - "This One Goes Out"

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"Together, we pool our respective experiences to present original music in a fresh, but familiar format (piano trio). The music on this disc consists of ten original pieces of mine, intended to exploit the diversity of this great trio, and to highlight a sample of my work as a composer" (liner notes by pianist John Roney) on "This One Goes Out...", a debut recording by this remarkable young musician who is beginning to make his mark on the jazz scene. Winner of the "Jazz Stars of the Future" competition at the 1999 Markham Jazz Festival, Roney, a likeable and enthusiastic young person works with his regular trio partners on this recording, Artie Roth - bass and Kevin Coady - drums. Listening to the quality of the music presented here, one feels assured that jazz will continue to survive, and create interest for the next generation of fans and players alike.Roth is a competent and accomplished bass soloist and his firm walking lines strengthen the leader's choruses. Drummer Coady favours cross rhythms of great complexity on solo outings and tends to emphasise weak beats for effect in the manner pioneered by Elvin Jones. There is a freshness and vitality about this trio and the cohesiveness in their group playing that is quite impressive. Roney is a busy improvisor, playing with a combination of enthusiasm and skill, flowing, dancing lines that at times leave one breathless. If you enjoy piano trio jazz played with plenty of originality, go for this set. HH

Rones Tones RTM 001

Jim Galloway - "Music Is My Life"

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"Music Is My Life" is a 2 CD set that contains music previously available on 3 LP's for the Sackville label - "Three is Company" with Galloway (soprano, clarinet), Dick Wellstood (piano) and Pete Magadini (drums) recorded in performance at Blues Alley in 1973. "Thou Swell" has Galloway (soprano), Jay McShann (piano), Don Thompson (bass) and Terry Clarke (drums) recorded in 1981. "Humphrey Lyttelton in Canada" features Galloway (soprano, baritone and clarinet), Lyttelton (trumpet and clarinet), Ed Bickert (guitar), Neil Swainson (bass) and Terry Clarke (drums) recorded in 1983. Truly an International setting individually or collectively, with musicians from Canada, England and the United States working in close harmony and extolling the virtues of compositions by Fats Waller - "Minor Drag", Harry Warren, - "Lulu's Back in Town", Sidney Bechet, - "Broken Windmill", Jim Galloway - "Blues Alley Bump", Jelly Roll Morton - "Buddy Bolden's Blues" (from "Three is Company"). Richard Rodgers - "Thou Swell", George & Ira Gershwin - "Someone to Watch Over Me", Duke Ellington - "Black Butterfly", Anton Dvorak - "Humoresque" (from "Thou Swell"). All the compositions on ("Humphrey Lyttelton in Canada") are by Humph, and include "Sprauncy", "Squiggles", "Looking for Turner", "Lady Jekyll And Mistress Hyde", "Caribana Queen". Music has most certainly been the life for Jim Galloway prior to his arrival in Canada from Scotland and since settling in Toronto. Leading his own small groups, the Wee Big Band, travelling and recording with the likes of Art Hodes, Ed Polcer, Allan Vache, and being artistic director for the Toronto Downtown Jazz Festival, music is constantly at the fore in every respect. In the settings presented on these CD's he draws on his knowledge and love of the composers and the fellow musicians to create an experience that is joyful and positively wonderful to hear. The CD is attractively packaged, with a very informative set of liner notes by John Norris, and should be a definite inclusion in any jazz fan's collection. HH

Sackville SK2CD-5006

The Botos Brothers - "The Botos Brothers"

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Brothers Frank (drums) and Robert (piano) Botos first appeared on the Toronto jazz scene in the late 90's from their native Hungary. Another brother, Louis (bass and vocals), flew in from Hungary for this recording, The Botos Brothers. Robert was only twenty one when this session was recorded (July 2000), and plays ..."with such maturity and mastery - a true prodigy. Frank's brilliant drumming perfectly complemented Robert's virtuosity" (liner).

Joining the brothers is veteran saxophonist Pat LaBarbera, who's consummate skill is most rewarding. Multi instrumentalist Don Thompson plays bass on a composition named for him "Mr. Dee Tee" and Attila Darvas is the bassist and vocalist on "Reveries of Love". From a homage to Thelonious Monk "Monkfish", "Soon" (hard driving funky bop), "Violet" ( a beautiful solo piano performance by Robert - the tune dedicated to his wife), "Waiting For..." (written by Robert and Louis, when Robert was nine years old), through the balance of the tunes, gives the listener the very strong impression that North American and European improv are part of a logical continuum. HH

Independent DADR 22EK1

Sonny Greenwich / Ed Bickert - "Days Gone By"

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"A musical meeting between guitarists Sonny Greenwich and Ed Bickert in the '90s would have been hyped by the media and the record industry as 'A Summit Meeting'. Back in the 1970s things were a lot different. Canadian jazz recordings were in their infancy and it might have been perceived that these musicians were not coming from the same page of the jazz book" (liner). Recorded in Don Thompson's Puget Sound studios in June of 1979, but not released until 2000, with Don on bass and Terry Clarke on drums, the two guitarists from two different areas of the music inspire each other on this session under the title "Days Gone By". The quality of the material is a bit variable, some standards "With A Song in My Heart", "I Remember You", I'll Take Romance" (just Ed and Sonny on this beautiful interpretation), "Nica's Dream", "Oleo"... and some originals "Lily" and "Gittar' Blues" (Greenwich), and there are plenty of opportunities to compare the two styles (Ed's is softer - Sonny's is more brittle), but it is impossible to place either ahead of the other. This is a happy date with each member of the quartet given plenty of space for participation. Thompson's bass is full and always supportive to the soloist, and his own solos are a revelation in improvising. Clarke's drum work, whether using sticks or brushes, is that of a listening drummer, always concious of what the rest of the band is doing, never obstrusive, but always pushing and complementing. With pros like these musicians there were presumably no second takes! HH

Sackville SKCD2-2052

Dave Young - "Tale of the Fingers"

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Bassist Dave Young's credentials are many, as a sideman with some of the world's greatest jazz artists, and as a leader. His series (3 CD's), of duo sessions for the Justin Time label, includes tracks with the likes of Oscar Peterson, Tommy Flanagan, John Hicks, Mulgrew Miller, Ellis Marsalis, Cyrus Chestnut, Oliver Jones, Kenny Barrojn, Barry Harris and Renee Rosnes, attest to the special chemistry that is so important in these settings.

In this trio (Cedar Walton - piano, Barry Elmes - drums) performance, Dave incorporates sounds and textures that are exciting and sustains the interest throughout the ten tracks.

His bowing technique, at times reminds me of another great bassist, Paul Chambers, always swinging, and with perfect time. (The title track is, incidentally, by Chambers), Dave has a distinctive sound, whether arco or pizzicato, and this comes to the fore in the soulful and passionate performances in his conversations with pianist Walton.

He executes his solos with flair and control, and with the beautiful sense of rhythm from drummer Elmes, the power and magic of Walton's always impressive improvisation,make this recording an exhilarating experience.

The compositions are a mix of rich diversity, from "Just in Time", "Sweet and Lovely", "Lost in the Stars", all standards, to those written by Walton "Bremond's Blues", "A Bell for Bags" (a tribute to the late Milt Jackson), Wynton Kelly's "Keep it Moving" and those by Young (his writing is as interesting as his playing) "Down the Middle", "The Night is Long" and "Ode to the Southwest". Liner notes are too brief, but well written, by a fellow, bassist Rufus Reid. HH

Justin Time JUST 143-2

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