October 2005

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

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

Various – “Bluenote – A Story of Jazz”


“The Finest in Jazz since 1939” has been the logo on Blue Note recordings for many years and it is still a label of great significance, bringing to the fore, as its founders Alfred Lion and Francis Wolff did from the beginning; many artists who became world famous and still today are being hailed as new and important discoveries. This particular 3-CD set is an ideal musical catalogue for those wishing to discover what Blue Note is all about, and shop through the various tracks before purchasing the complete CD by a particular artist.

From Classic, with Horace Silvers’ “Song for My Father” {1964}, Cannonball Adderley with Miles Davis “Autumn Leaves” {1958}, Lee Morgan “The Sidewinder” {1963}, and well chosen selections from Herbie Hancock, Kenny Burrell, Chet Baker, John Coltrane, Art Blakey, Jimmy Smith and Michel Petrucciani, and others. Through Contemporary, with Norah Jones “Don’t Know Why” {2001}, Wynton Marsalis featuring Dianne Reeves “Feeling of Jazz”{2004}, Cassandra Wilson “Some Day My Prince Will Come”{2001}, Jacky Terrasson “Le Jardin D’Hiver” {2002}, plus selections from Patricia Barber, Stefano Di Battista, Charlie Hunter, Kurt Elling, Eliane Elias, Pat Martino, Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Bobby McFerrin. To Modern with Us3 “Cantaloop” {1994}, Erik Truffaz “Bending New Corners” {2003}, Medeski, Martin & Wood “Anonymous Skulls” {2004}, Jason Moran “Planet Rock” {2004}, Amos Lee “Colors” {2004} and other selections by Madub, 4 Hero, Troublemakers, Marc Moulin, Nicola Conte, Soulive, Angela McCluskey and Paul Midon.
A major history of jazz music from a major label. Recommended.

H. H.

Blue Note 24347-45492

Brad Turner – “What Is”


The opening title tune begins introspectively with the piano’s lyrical delivery soon to grow in intensity with shifting stark contrasts from Turner’s trumpet, Andre Lachance’s bass and Dylan van der Schiff’s drums. This ever changing interplay with time signatures and dramatic moods is carried throughout, in the sinewy, abrasive lines of “One Less”, the minimalistic patterns to “The Recount”, a jaunty and provocative depiction of “Miss Hannah”, a fancifully insightful portrait of the unrelenting energy to “Second Son”. It would be an oversight not to draw attention to the inestimable contribution made by pianist Bruno Hubert, or to the dynamic range and vivid brilliance of Turner’s playing. A solid group effort.


Maximum Jazz 16972

Dave Brubeck – “London Flat, London Sharp”


In the liner notes Dave explains the title of the CD, reflecting his response to life on the road this way: “We travelled by bus through Great Britain for a week, from town to town, and I thought the rides were awfully long; When I complained, the promoters explained that next week everyone would be in a London flat (apartment), to which I responded ‘that would be sharp’”.
With a mixture of the old and new, all Brubeck compositions, except for two, the quartet comprising of Bobby Militello – alto sax & flute, Michael Moore – bass, and Randy Jones – drums perform in an impressive manner, swinging hard on the title track, and “To Sit and Dream” as well as “Cassandra”, gentle and expressive “The Time of Our Madness”. The tune “Unisphere” first appeared on a 1963 album for Columbia called “Time Changes”, and is given a new twist here, but is it in 5 or 10?. “Steps to Peace” is in a reflective mood written by Deora Bradley in memory of flight 93, the plane that went down in Pennsylvania on that terrible day in American history, September 11th, Militello plays flute on this track. “Cassandra” is played gently and passionately, “Mr. Fats”is in the true spirit of Fats Waller, but with a little waltz feeling, and was first heard on the 1980 album “Tritonis”. On “Forty Days”, another tune from the past, Militello sounds a lot like the late Paul Desmond. The CD closes with a solo piano performance “Ballad of the Rhine” and is a beautiful and spiritual reading by Brubeck. Sound quality is outstanding, and there are very informative liner notes by Bob Blumenthal.
Highly Recommended.

H. H.

Telarc CD-83625

Dizzy Gillespie – “The Winter in Lisbon”


Always in the forefront of innovation, John Birks Gillespie (under his self-imposed sobriquet “Dizzy”) reshaped the world of jazz through his original trumpet style of playing, by helping to introduce bebop as a valid jazz medium, by encouraging other musicians to pursue new concepts in jazz. On this 1990 soundtrack for a film (ironically never distributed for viewing), Dizzy played a major role as a famous jazz musician, contributing both his trumpet and compositional skills to the score. Arranged by Slide Hampton, the 14-piece orchestra, includes bassist George Mraz, drummer Grady Tate, and pianist Danilo Pererz. The music is extraordinarily fine, with 3 versions of a lovely theme “Magic Summer”, the first with vocalist Leola Jiles. Dizzy shines!


Milan Records M2-36093

Dr. John – “Live at Montreux 1995” (Archives!)


From the opening track “Iko Iko” this is an invitation to a good old New Orleans party. The seven-piece band illustrates this well, as Dr. John calls them his “New Orleans Social and Pleasure Club”.

Many of the tunes heard here are familiar to the Night Tripper (Mac Rebennack) fans, but as always in live performances, Dr. John re-arranges things to create that freshness that makes the audience want more. From “Come On (Let the good Times Roll)”, through “Blue Skies” (remember Hoagy Carmichael’s version? Dr. John puts his stamp on it in this version), to “Right Place,Wrong Time”, “Makin’ Whoopee”, “Going Back to New Orleans”, and “Mess Around”, the party just gets better. In the band three outstanding soloists lean heavily on outstanding jazz solos, Charlie Miller – trumpet, Alvin Red Tyler – tenor and Ronnie Cuber – baritone.

For those of you who have had the pleasure of visiting New Orleans, this recording will bring back some vivid and wonderful memories.

H. H.

Eagle Rock ER 20078-2

Gene Krupa – “plays Gerry Mulligan”


Drummer Krupa’s career spanned more than 4 decades, from early stints with Red Nichols and Eddie Condon, with Goodman in the mid-30’s, through a series of big band successes on his own, to small group outings in the 50’s & 60’s.

Saxophonist Mulligan had been an arranger for Krupa’s 1946 band, a challenge that helped to foster his youthful skills. In this 1958 date, we hear what have become characteristic Mulligan arrangements in his “concern for linear clarity and his overall functional approach to writing”, as well as his strong rhythmic sense and a unique freedom in expressing his ideas. Whether it’s the prototypical “Disc Jockey Jump”, a swingingly familiar “Sugar”, or a composite original “Mulligan Stew”, Mulligan, the arranger, has made his mark.

J. S.

Verve MGVS 6008

P. J. Perry – “Time Flies”


Another outstanding release by Canadian alto star P. J. Perry, who never fails to create music of high quality. Here he has joined forces on the front line with another remarkable artist, Bobby Shew – trumpet and flugelhorn, and two exceptional rhythm sections back both. On six of the nine tracks P. J. has Ross Taggart – piano, Andre LaChance – bass, Dave Robbins – drums. On the remaining three tracks are Ross Taggart – piano, Neil Swainson – bass and Joe LaBarbera – drums. Recorded in front of a very enthusiastic audience at Vancouver’s Cellar Club it becomes P. J’s first live recording and he is in top form. Shew has played on numerous occasions with Perry, but there is sense of magic with this particular meeting with each artist providing a very high level of precision.

Taggart is in full control on all his solos exploring each melody with passion, and his comping behind either P.J. or Shew shows what a great pianist he is, always listening but never intruding.

P.J. switches to tenor on “Melody for Thelma” and is just as exciting on this horn as he is on alto; you will find yourself humming the lines long after you have heard it, because it is one of those tunes that is so beautiful and haunting. On “Tenderly” he plays alto and his solo is full of passion.
Shew is an equally exciting soloist whose solos are well thought out and full of surprises.

Together Shew and P.J. play as if in conversation and never strain to be heard, the recording quality doing them an immense service with its warm ambience.

Highly recommended.

H. H.

Justin Time JUST 201-2

Scott Hamilton – “Back in New York”


Six years ago Scott Hamilton moved to London, England and settled close to the heart of the city, not far from Kensington Gardens, and made infrequent trips back to New York. The title of this recording, done in September 2004, indicates he was more than welcome back, and the results of the session are full of pleasant surprises. Scott has recorded and worked with some outstanding piano players including Dave McKenna, Gene Harris and Tommy Flanagan, and you can now add Bill Charlap to this esteemed list.

With Peter Washington on bass and Kenny Washington on drums, the quartet thoroughly enjoy working on a nicely selected group of potentially standard songs that are instantly recognizable.

From the breathy, Ben Webster influenced intro to “What is This Thing Called Love”, through the delicate lyrical quality on “Wonder Why” and the wistful charm of “Lullaby of the Leaves”, the Bossa Nova beat attached to “Love Letters” (was Scott thinking of the lyrics association with Ipanema Beach – “Love letters in the Sand”), the energetic performances on “Bouncing with Bud” and “Blue ‘N’ Boogie, and the irrepressible beauty of “This is Always” this is truly a Royal welcome (pun intended) home to New York City. The rhythm section compliments Scott’s feelings for the tunes, and Charlaps solos grip and fascinate the listener. Highly recommended.

H. H.

Concord CCD-2274-2

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