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March 22, 2006

Canadian Jazz CD Review Doug Riley 2006

Written by
cindy mcleod

Canadian jazz CD review

CD Release / Jazz
Doug Riley, Tyler Yarema, John Roby
Stride
Marshmellow Records / 2006

Three of the best stride pianists in Canada come together to perform for the upbeat, lively recording, Stride, featuring Doug Riley, Tyler Yarema, and John Roby.

The piano style is given a fine treatment on these 18 tracks (plus one bonus vocal track by Jackie Richardson), evoking the genius of Art Tatum, Errol Garner, James P. Johnson, and Fats Waller among others. A mix of solo, duo and trio performances, the CD is comprised of a blend of originals and classics, but the two are indiscernible when it comes to capturing the essence of the idiom.

The music is happy and a welcomed warmth that melts worries away and reminds one of a kinder, gentler time, providing great listening or background music for almost any situation. You’ll feel uplifted by the energized takes on Waller’s “Gonna Sit Right Down”, “Dinah”, and “Jitterbug Waltz” among the six visits to the composer’s body of work. James P. Johnson’s “Carolina Shout” will make you dance your baby ‘round the floor, and you’ll catch yourself humming the Craymer/Layton gem “After You’ve Gone”. Each pianist contributes original compositions to the project, with Riley’s six compositions making up the lion’s share and standing tall amongst them, with his effervescent “Crazy Legs” and “Spring Song” among his solo piano offerings, and the trio showcase “Canonball Express” firing up the stride/boogie/blues track. Roby offers three pieces including two solo works “Riverdale Ramble” and “My Baby’s Gone”, while the Riley/Roby duo take a turn on the boogie piece “Blue Menace Boogie”. Yarema contributes one original, “Baby Grand”, which showcases the pianist in a solo setting.

Stride may be reminiscent of the past as far as repertoire goes, but the sound is contemporary, with great production values and a new generation of first rate musicians performing the style with technical wizardry and a modern approach in highly complimentary performances. Utterly musical, this recording is a must-have for any piano lover, as well as any lover of quality jazz.

Cindy McLeod
www.jazzelements.com

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