jazz & blues music blog with news, reviews, concerts & more, with a Canadian focus

January 3, 2006

Canadian Jazz CD Release

Written by
cindy mcleod

CD Review
New Standards Vol. 1

Santa came early for me this past Christmas when I received a review copy of New Standards Vol. 1, a limited edition release by JAZZ FM 91.1. A compilation featuring the composition of the best instrumentalists of Toronto, this is a must-have for any collector of Canadian jazz.


These fifteen mainstream and post-bop selections flow as though they happened for the intent purpose of creating this CD, an accomplishment considering the diversity of personalities and musical flavours. One thing that remains consistent is the high quality, with such notables as Nancy Walker, David Braid, Mike Murley and Terry Clark making appearances, along with the powerhouse �new generation� represented by Laila Biali, Jake Langley, and Robi Botos among these tracks.

Some musicians make multiple appearances in different ensembles, such as pianist David Braid, who is heard on Tara Davidson�s �Battlescars�, Bob Brough�s �Interior�, and his own piece, �Cowboy Bebop�. Guitarist Jake Langley contributes to Henry Heillig�s �Ladybug Waltz�, Richard Underhill�s �Big�, and his own composition �the Garage�. Robi Botos contributes the only solo track, his melancholy piano piece �Violet�. Botos also appears on drummer Daniel Barne�s �Five O�Clock Shadow�, a swing-blues feel with lush horn section arrangements played by Kevin Clark (trumpet), Kelly Jefferson (tenor), William Carn (trombone).

Each track is a significant contribution to the whole, but some notable cuts include pianist Nancy Walker�s work �Blues for the Hatchet Man�, where she�s joined by saxophonist Kirk MacDonald in a progressive latin-funk feel. Pianist Laila Biali, recent winner of two National Jazz Awards, contributes �The Good Earth� with her ensemble of Brandi Disterheft (bass) Sly Juhas (drums) and Tara Davidson (soprano). �Muddy�, guitarist Tim Postgate�s offering, has a swampy funk flavour and ends with trumpeter Lina Allemono, Quinson Nachoff (tenor) and Howard Johnson (baritone) trading lines. David Braid�s �Cowboy Bebop�, a funk-bop gumbo where Horace Silver meets Mac Rebbenack, features veterans Steve Wallace (bass) and Terry Clark (drums) laying down the groove for John MacLeod (flugel), Mike Murley (tenor), Gene Smith (trombone), and David Braid (piano).

The CD is a total 76 minutes long, and was intended to �acknowledge the legends and jazz genius that comprise the vibrant Toronto music landscape�. JAZZ FM 91.1 has certainly succeeded in their quest with �New Standards Vol. 1�, and with this fine example of jazz excellence, we look forward to the release of �New Standards Vol. 2�.

The CD�s are $20 each (includes tax, postage and handling), and are available at www.jazz.fm

Cindy McLeod

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