Monday, June 13, 2011

The Monday Morning Paradiddle

During my travels over the course of the past few months many artists have been generous enough to give me copies of their latest releases. Here's a few of these fine recordings that have been making the rounds over here at Four on the Floor lately:

-Nancy Walker - "New Hieroglyphics"

Pianist Nancy Walker and her partner bassist Kieran Overs are good friends of mine from my Toronto days. They are joined here by drummer Ethan Ardelli and guitarist Ted Quinlan on a program of Nancy''s original compositions. Lots of nice variety here and some really exceptional writing. Nancy's band won the Montreal Jazz Festival prize back in 2003 when my own band was nominated as well. It was an honour to be in such fine company! Nancy's tunes are really well crafted and exhibit a brilliant and very personal harmonic and melodic approach that is very enjoyable to listen to.

-Jerry Granelli with Danny Oore and Simon Fisk - "Let Go"

Drummer Jerry Granelli recently performed in Calgary with bassist/cellist Simon Fisk and Mark DeJong on saxophone and bass clarinet. Unfortunately I missed their show as I was playing myself that evening with my own trio. From all accounts I missed a great evening of creative music making. I believe Granelli is also teaching at the Banff Centre and participating in the Jazz & Creative Music Workshop that's currently running and headed by Dave Douglas.

Jerry's publicist sent me a copy of his latest album and I was really impressed with the overall tone and mood created on this trio recording date. Granelli is a master of space and texture on the drums, reacting perfectly to the improvised elements around him. I like to think of Jerry as being like our own Canadian/East Coast version of Paul Motian. This trio plays with a really nice sympatico and group dynamic. It's always great to music played by musicians who are clearly listening to each other.

-Kirk MacDonald Jazz Orchestra - "Deep Shadows"

-Kirk MacDonald Quartet - "Songbook Vol. 2"

A couple of very great and very different albums from tenor saxophonist Kirk MacDonald. "Songbook, Vol. 2" features Kirk and his music in a small group format while "Deep Shadows" features his compositions as arranged for Jazz orchestra by the likes of Terry Promane and my old McGill composition professor Joe Sullivan. Both are great albums and showcase Kirk's exceptional writing and playing. Kirk's tunes really shine within these fine arrangements. His tune "Starlight", based on the changes to "Stella by Starlight", is a personal favorite and brought back memories of hearing him play this tune with drummer Andre White and bassist Ron Seguin in Montreal during the mid 90's. Drummer Barry Romberg also features prominently on both these recordings and plays very creatively while at the same time propelling the music forward and giving the music exactly what it needs. Kirk plays with a huge sound and a very strong melodic/rhythmic clarity that is not only a joy to listen to but a blast to play with as well !

-Curtis Andrews and Patrick Boyle - "Rock Music"

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No photo of the cover art for this one yet (!) but Patrick slid me a copy of this one last month while we were working together in Saskatchewan. I've been listening to this one a lot lately and love it. Hearing fine musicians play in duet situations is a personal favorite of mine (see my previous post about my favorite duet records). Patrick is heavily influenced by Don Cherry and this recording certainly brings to mind the great Don Cherry/Ed Blackwell collaborations such as "El Corazon" and "Mu (The Complete Session)". Andrews brings the entire the world of drumming and percussion under his bearing and exhibits this very tastefully and musically. I really dig the variety that these two fine musicians are able to achieve while playing in this duet context. Each track on the album reflects a different place or town found in Newfoundland. I didn't believe that there is really a place called Dildo, Newfoundland....but there is and it's a great tune too!

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