Saturday, 31 March 2012

pno duo and Mike Romaniak: "Hold Your Breath"

Four hands, one piano. Sounds simple doesn’t it? Not Exactly. The pno duo, consisting of Trevor Hewer and Rosano Coutinho, are at the forefront of the free jazz movement (if you couldn’t tell from our previous posts, we here at The Canadian Jazz Review love free jazz). Perhaps a little explanation of what these guys are all about is needed. The pno duo was created as an attempt to escape from musical norms, and to cross as many musical boundary’s as possible by way of the piano and improvisation. However these guys take improv to the next level…All of their songs are composed and played spontaneously without any discussions about musical direction beforehand. We know…we thought it was pretty cool too. Their most recent release, “Hold Your Breath”, is collaboration between this spectacular duo, and Mike Romaniak, who adds to the already unique sound with the alto sax and sopilkas (Ukrainian woodwind instruments in the flute family). The record is made up of three compositions, “Testing the Waters”, “Passing Tides”, and “Reflections”. Each piece takes you down a different musical road, allowing the listener to experience various themes and styles offered in both the classical and jazz idioms, through various movements. While Hewer and Coutinho have an unspoken chemistry, Romaniak, rather un-sheepishly, perfectly places himself in the musical blend, even adding in percussion on “Reflections”. We can only imagine how badly you all are yearning to listen to this album right now. Well we have some good news…”Hold Your Breath” has been generously donated by the ensemble, so a free download is available below! Check it out, and we hope you enjoy it as much as we do. Take a listen to the album bellow!

Friday, 30 March 2012

The October Trio: "New Dream"

For todays feature, we're going to introduce you to an extraordinary group of musicians, hailing from Vancouver, British Columbia. First, a bit of history. The trio includes Evan Arntzen on the saxophones, Josh Cole on the bass, and Dan Gaucher on the drums. This talented act met when its three members were studying jazz at Capilano College in 2004. Since then, their work has been astounding, including three critically acclaimed albums, and a Western Canadian Music nod for best jazz performance. There most recent release, "New Dream", continues along the band's path of exploring free jazz. One song to note on the album is "Imagine It". This compositions begins with a fast paced tempo. As the song progresses, the listener both hears and experiences each member's individual musical journey. As the piece reaches its climax, vocals join in on this already unique sound, making you want more and more. The next song to note on the album is "Do Your Thing". This tune, while exploring the theme of free jazz, also characterizes itself with middle eastern influences. Each member, once again moving along their own respective paths, come together to create one amazing sound after the other. The October Trio will be touring extensively with this album, including tours in eastern and western Canada, followed by a supporting tour in the United States. Can't wait to see whats next from this unique trio! Take a listen to the album bellow!

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Julian Nalli: Self Titled Album (For Now)

We first had the pleasure of seeing Julian Nalli perform at Caleb Elias' (review to come) Humber College Final Recital in the winter of 2010, and man we were blown away. Ever since then, we made it our mission to find, and listen to as much of his music as possible. Both unfortunately and fortunately (unfortunately because there is only one song, fortunately because the song is amazing), we've been listening to the one composition, "Vicissitudes", on his myspace page on repeat for the last two years. Yes we know...you don't need to say anything. Nevertheless, we waited and waited, and finally we were able to get a hold of Julian Nalli's debut album, which is yet to be released, and named officially. Now we get to listen to an additional five songs of his on repeat! Yes we know...you don't need to say anything. Anyways lets get into it. The album includes two different ensembles; with Julian Nalli (alto sax), and Eli Bennett (tenor sax) as the record's only permanent members. The first ensemble includes Paul Morrison on the piano, Josh Cole on the Bass, and Fabio Ragnelli on the drums. The second ensemble includes Hayoun Lee on the piano, Mike Downes on the bass, and Ethan Ardelli on the  drums. Despite the change in members, Nalli's compositions remain wonderfully consistent over the course of the record. The first song to note is "Pass the Baton", which is performed by Nalli, Bennett, and the first ensemble. The song is characterized by harmonizing melody lines between the alto and tenor saxophones. It begins with a strong rhythm line on the piano by Morrison. As the rest of the band joins in,  Nalli takes the first solo, and its pretty f***ing crazy btw (by the way). Then, out of nowhere, Bennett comes in with his equally amazing, yet different, style of improvising. The next song to note on the album is "Glow In The Dark". The song features Nalli, Bennett, and the second ensemble. This composition provides a change in pace on the album with its slower tempo. Once again, Nalli has no difficulty showing off his talent with another pretty f***ing amazing improvisation. However following this, the listener is serenaded with a beautiful solo by Canadian bass legend, Mike Downes. The song concludes with Nalli and Bennett replaying the, rather beautiful, melody line while Lee solos in the background adding to the climax of the piece. Well, now that this post is done, its time to go back to listening to the album on repeat. Yes we know...you don't need to say anything. We look forward to the album being officially released, and named for that matter. Julian...please don't let it be another two years before we get some knew music...its just not fair to all the available space on our itunes. 

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Susie Arioli: "All The Way" (feat. Jordan Officer)

Now this is an album that we have been waiting for... We here at The Canadian Jazz Review are huge fans of the critically acclaimed Susie Arioli. After witnessing the success of her internationally renowned "Christmas Dreaming", we knew we could only expect great things to come from this Montreal, Quebec native...and great they were. Arioli has done it again, bringing her soft, and rather soothing voice to an album made up of thirteen songs, featuring guitarist Jordan Officer, from the "great american songbook", including show tunes such as Richard Rogers and Lorenz Hart's "My Funny Valentine", and jazz standards like Frank Sinatra's "Heres to the Losers". Not only does Arioli tackle these wide range of songs, however she masterfully displays great emotion over the many themes presented throughout the album. One song to note on the record is Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer's "Come Rain or Come Shine". The song begins with a beautiful introduction by Officer, followed quickly by Arioli's sweet voice. Like all the other songs on the album, as Arioli displays her wide range of tone and pitch (somewhat reminding the listener of Ella Fitzgerald), Officer does an amazing job harmonizing with the vocal line on his guitar. After listening to the album, you can't help but reflect on your own life (somewhat wishing you had Susie Arioli's voice). In the end, we loved the album, and can't wait for this vocalist to produce another five star record!

Susie Arioli

Purchase "All The Way"

Tesseract: "Impossible Images"

On February 29th (of this year), Tesseract, a "modern jazz quintet" based out of Toronto, released their debut album, "Impossible Images". Released independently, the album features Edwin Sheard on the alto sax, Leland Whitty on the tenor sax, Patrick O'Reilly on the guitar and electronics, Julian Anderson-Bowes on the bass, and Derek Gray on the drums. So what makes this album so special...Well lets first talk about the record's style before we get into the nitty grits...Tesseract is a "modern jazz quintet", with an emphasis on the modern. That is to say, Tesseract, as described, moves jazz forward. Well, that is exactly what we hear on the album. "Impossible Images" is characterized by diverse compositions, which touch upon elements of bebop, fusion, latin, and world music...the sub-genre list goes on and on. However, this diversity isn't just seen from song to song, but rather, within the songs themselves. Intrigued yet?? Well lets start getting into the nitty grits. The first song we're going to discuss is "Venezuelan Independence Day". The song is introduced by O'Reilly, who has no trouble showing off his McLaughlin-Esc  (Jon McLaughlin that is) chops. As the introduction peaks, the ensemble joins in, causing a sense of repose (as ethnomusicologist Donald J. Fune would put it) on the listener. The song begins to slow down as Sheard begins his solo...slowly building the song back up to another climax. The piece ends with a drum solo by Gray, followed by a final addition from O'reilly. The next song to be noted is "Enut Wen", which begins with a conversation between the alto and tenor saxophones. Following the exchange of words (notes), both sax's get a chance for their voices to be heard with their improvisations, respectively. As the song concludes, the listener not only hears, but feels the end of the conversation, that has by now swept you away. Rather than ruining it...we'll let you listen to see who got the last word in! All in all, the album was a fantastic debut for Tesseract. Already heard on the international level, we can't help but be excited to see what's next for this "modern jazz quintet" and their journey in moving jazz forward. 

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Nicolas Ladouceur: "Pequod"

All we can say about this album is wow... Nicolas Ladouceur's debut EP, "Pequod", is one of the most unique albums we've listened to all year. The EP introduces Ladouceur's trio, niiic, which includes himself on the guitar, Jonathan Amador on the Bass, and Derek Gray on the drums. "Pequod" is characterized by, what we'd like to call, the acoustic sandwich...let us explain. It begins with a beautifully mellow acoustic tune called "Apartment 1209". Following this, the album progresses. The second song on the album is "Baggage". "Baggage" is the only song on the album to feature a trombone. When listening to the song, the first thing you'll notice is the exchange of counterpoint (alternating melody lines), and harmony between the electric guitar and trombone. Next comes "Serenity Row", and "Ahab". Both of these pieces highlight Ladouceur's electrifying guitar solos where the listener is able to experience his diverse influences, including the likes of Jeff Beck and Bill Frisell. The album closes with another beautifully mellow acoustic tune, however solo this time, called "Rue Main"...Thus completing the acoustic sandwich. Whether you are an avid jazz listener, rock and jam band enthusiast, or just a music lover in general, you are going to fall in love with this album just like we did...We actually guarantee this. niiic recently finished some studio work in Oakville, and will be playing an upcoming show at Zaphod's in Ottawa, Ontario. Can't wait to see whats next for Ladouceur and his trio! You can stream the album on myspace and buy the album on itunes.

Nicolas Ladouceur's Myspace


Buy "Pequod"

Monday, 26 March 2012

The Worst Pop Band Ever: "Sometimes Things Go Wrong (and other songs we shouldn't play) live at The Cellar"

This year, The Worst Pop Band Ever (abbreviated WPBE) released their third record, "Sometimes Things Go Wrong (and other songs we shouldn't play) live at The Cellar", featuring both covers and originals, recorded live at The Cellar in Vancouver, British Columbia. The group includes: Chris Gale on the saxophone, Drew Birston on the Bass, Tim Shia on the drums, LEO37 on the turntables, and both Dafydd Hughes and Adrean Farrugia on the keyboards. Some songs to note on the album are "High and Dry", and "If You Want Me to Stay" (both covers). In regards to the former, WPBE joined the likes of other jazz musicians, such as Brad Mehldau, by covering a song by British alternative rock band Radiohead. While the cover follows the original structure of the composition, it features both keyboard and saxophone solos that allow WPBE to make the song their own. The second song noted, "If You Want Me to Stay", is also a cover, as made famous by the popular 60's 70's and 80's group, Sly and the Family Stone. Once again, WPBE made the song their own, featuring a unique solo on the turntables by LEO37. Not only does the album feature these great covers, however some intricate compositions as well. This critically acclaimed Canadian jazz group just finished off a year long tour, and will be playing a show this weekend at The Rex in Toronto! Hope to see you all there!

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Sarah Troy: "A Dozen Hearts"

One of things we love todo here at The Canadian Jazz Review is go out, and see our talented Canadian jazz artists live! Last night, we had the privilege of being blown away by 17 year old Sarah Troy. Native to Calgary, Alberta, this vocalist and keyboard player took a couple days off school this week to come to Toronto and play two after hours shows with bassist Alex Rand, and guitarist Kyle Rosnick (both 17 as well), whom she met at the prestigious Berklee College of Music last summer. "A Dozen Hearts", though technically not a jazz album, is Sarah's fourth independent release. However, when you see her live, you get to experience the effects that Berklee's program had on her song writing style, adding a jazz element that isn't found in her earlier works. One of the songs to note on the album is "Arson". This song begins with a progressing introduction that sets the tone for the piece. As the song continues, Sarah's voice pushes and pulls on the music, creating a unique effect on the listener. Whether you listen to the album, or see her live, you cannot help but wonder about Sarah's future in the music industry. Sarah will be continuing her studies next year at Berklee full time. We look forward to seeing what's next for this young Canadian jazz artist!

Purchase "A Dozen Hearts"

Sarah Performing "Snow in July" on the morning show

Sarah Troy

Friday, 23 March 2012

Jamie Ruben: "Groove*O*Ly*O*Scene"

Now this is what this site's all about...Jamie Ruben is a graduate of the prestigious Humber College Jazz Performance program. After finishing his tutelage at Humber, Ruben left Canada, expanding his musical vocabulary, and performing in the far east for 7 years. After moving back to Canada, Ruben released his debut album, and if you couldn't tell from the album title, it is groovetastic!!! The album features Jamie Ruben on the guitar, Steve Zsirai on the bass, Ryan Granville-Martin on the drums, William Sperandei on the trumpet, and Dafydd Hughes on the keyboard. Technically a fusion album, "Groove*O*Ly*O*Scene" is filled with easy listening compositions that even the non-jazz enthusiast will enjoy. Some songs to note on the album are "Pai Crowd", and "Monsieur Slidey".While "Pai Crowd"is characterized by Ruben and Hughes' mellow improvisations, "Monsieur Slidey" features a solo introduction by Ruben that makes you want to pick up the guitar immediately and attempt to learn it by ear. All in all, Ruben's debut album is absolutely fantastic, and uniquely introduces him into the Canadian jazz scene, specifically in Toronto. Thanks to Ruben's generosity, the album is available for free below!!

"Groove*O*Ly*O*Scene" Download

Jamie Ruben

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Brian Dickinson and Ted Quinlan: "around the bend"

We are going to start our reviews off with Brian Dickinson and Ted Quinlan's "around the bend". Released by Addo Records in the fall of 2010, once you put this album in your car, its never coming out. Featuring Dickinson on the Piano, and Quinlan on the Guitar, the album presents compositions by both musicians respectively. One of our favourite songs on the album is "Vibrolux", a composition by Quinlan, originally featured on his debut album "Streetscape" (review to come). Despite our love for the original recording, Dickinson adds a whole knew element to the piece with his piano playing. Like all the songs on the album, "Vibrolux" is well organized with Quinlan and Dickinson taking turns soloing and playing the rhythm. Another song on the album to note is "Love theme from "Sparticus"", a song originally composed by master pianist Bill Evans. Our favourite part of the song is the introduction, which begins with Dickinson on the piano. As the piano progresses, Quinlan joins in on the guitar creating a beautiful harmony that you may have to stop and rewind to listen to over and over. We believe that this album should be added to any jazz lover's "must have" list. A link to the album on itunes can be found below. Ted and Brian, you two truly know how to make beautiful music. 

Welcome to The Canadian Jazz Review!

Ladies and Gentleman!

Welcome to the Canadian Jazz Review! We are a team of jazz lovers, just like you, and we are here to highlight Canadian jazz. There are so many Canadian jazz albums out there that are amazing, however are never even talked about. On this site, we will feature reviews of Canadian jazz albums, both known and unknown, and our goal is to turn you on to music you may never have even stumbled upon. Not only will we talk about the professionals, however we are going to feature works by Canadian jazz students as well. Anyways, we hope that you all enjoy, and get as much out of this site as we do.


The Canadian Jazz Review