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The debut recording from pianist/composer Ivar Kangur, Make A Play, is a collection of original tunes characterized by a gentleness and lightness of spirit that makes them immediately accessible and attractive. Kangur, based in Ontario, Canada, is a veteran of cover and new wave bands, and has composed scores for a number of short films. These experiences are not too much to the fore here; he acknowledges, however, the influence of Keith Jarrett and Vince Guaraldi, and the latter's style is definitely to be heard.
At just over 30 minutes in length, Make A Play is perhaps best described as a mini-albumthe tunes are also brief, none breaking the four-minute barrier. Such relative brevity means that his melodies are of central importancethere's no room for lengthy improvisations. Luckily, Kangur has a good line in melodies and the best of them grab the attention within a few bars.
The most effective numbers on Make A Play are the upbeat, more playful ones such as "My Favorite Season," the pretty and insistent "Perpetual Motion Machine" and "Cabello Oscuro," or the bluesy "Blue Horizon." The 64 seconds-long "In The Quarter" is a more angular and jagged piece, suggesting that Kangur may have a more experimental side that's worth exploring. The most obviously Guaraldi-like tune is "Carnival," a simple but beautiful melody that conjures up images of crisp, fresh winter days.
Kangur overdubs bass or drums on a few tunes. This helps to give the music a bit more substance, but the parts are fairly rudimentarythe addition of a talented pair of rhythm players would have enabled him to explore and expand on these tunes. As a solo project, Make A Play is a promising debut, full of engaging and intriguing melodies. Given the chance to work with other musicians, Kangur's future recordings could really make the most of his potential.
Track Listing: Through the Tide; Perpetual Motion Machine; Easy Days; Anthem; Six Fourteen; Cabello Oscuro; My Favorite Season; Blue Horizon; Awakening; Carnival; In The Quarter.
I grew up listening to mainstream '70s rock then ended up on the staff at the college paper at San Diego State, and volunteered to review heavy metal LPs. My second semester, the music editor dropped a Fenton Robinson LP on my desk, Night Flight. You like metal; they play guitar--he plays guitar, the editor told me
I grew up listening to mainstream '70s rock then ended up on the staff at the college paper at San Diego State, and volunteered to review heavy metal LPs. My second semester, the music editor dropped a Fenton Robinson LP on my desk, Night Flight. You like metal; they play guitar--he plays guitar, the editor told me. If we don't run a review, Alligator Records is going to stop servicing us.
Night Flight opened up a whole new world for me--the blues led me, inevitably, to Basie, who led to Duke, who led to Mingus, who led to Miles, who led to ...