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Aaron Shragge & Ben Monder: This World of Dew

Read "This World of Dew" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

This World of Dew is the third recorded go-around by trumpeter Aaron Shragge and guitarist Ben Monder. Shragge expands the expected pallette of the duo sound with his use of the shakuhachi (Japanese flute) and his Dragon Mouth Trumpet, a custom microtonal instrument designed to expand the melodic capacity of the horn.

Monder ...

The Toronto Jazz Orchestra: 20

Read "20" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

The Toronto Jazz Orchestra, aka TJO, was created to perform music by the major jazz composers, like Miles Davis and his Miles Ahead (Columbia Records, 1958), the trumpeter's collaboration with Gil Evans, for one. With 20, the group celebrates the composition and arranging skills of its artistic director, Josh Grossman.

With a twenty year ...

Adrean Farrugia: Blued Dharma

Read "Blued Dharma" reviewed by Franz A. Matzner

The duet outing Blued Dharma by pianist Adrean Farrugia and tenor saxophonist Joel Frahm is a nuanced affair suitable as background to a quiet evening but also worthy of closer reading.

The title track epitomizes the whole. Contemplative, balanced, subtly blended, tonally stolid, inviting, consequential. Throughout the following seven pieces, the pattern of ruminative ...

Adrean Farrugia/Joel Frahm: Blued Dharma

Read "Blued Dharma" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Blued Dharma, a duet outing by pianist Adrean Farrugia and tenor and soprano saxophonist Joel Frahm, opens with the title tune, a simpatico, lighter-than-air composition. The instrumentalists banter and extemporize, bat ideas back and forth and explore melodic main roads and sideroads. So it is for the full album of inspired interplay.

Having played ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Gordon Hyland: NEVER DIE! by \\livingfossil//

Read "NEVER DIE! by \\livingfossil//" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

The debut disc Never Die, by the Toronto-based collective, \\living fossil//, opens with a reverberant industrial hum, a droning metallic guitar sound that announces a distinctive and compelling group aesthetic. Saxophonist Gordon Hyland is the ringleader, though that isn't not apparent from listening. He and his cohorts have created a distinctive approach of echoing saxophone--sometimes two ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Justin Gray: New Horizons

Read "New Horizons" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

What's an artist to do if he can't find an established instrument to suit his musical needs. If you are bassist Justin Gray, you design and co-create one. It's called the Bass Veena, a a hybrid that combines the characteristics of the fretless bass and numerous Indian string instruments.

New Horizons by Justin Gray ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Liebman/Murley Quartet: Live at U of T

Read "Live at U of T" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Veteran jazz-er Dave Liebman and Mike Murley blow their saxophones like kindred souls on Live at U of T. In front of an appreciative audience, fronting an inspired bass/drum team, and no guitar or keyboard in the mix--the music is a mixture of liquid freedom, low flame fire, and relative restraint (the “restraint" thing in consideration ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Allison Au: Forest Grove

Read "Forest Grove" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

The best artists--writers, painters, musicians--create distinct  new worlds. Canada's Allison Au has done just that with her Juno-Award-winning  (2016, Jazz Album of the Year) recording,  Forest Grove. The music therein is Au's personal  vision transformed into a set of sounds with a continuity of purpose. A rarity for a young artist.

Au says she ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mike Downes: Root Structure

Read "Root Structure" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

Bassist Mike Downes likes to explore what rests at the heart of an idea and what makes things tick. That's essentially the notion that waters the roots of Root Structure. It's a thought process that gives Downes grounding while also freeing him from the constraints of a more rigid conceptual frame.

The three ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ernesto Cervini's Turboprop: Rev

Read "Rev" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

The Toronto-based septet Turboprop serves, in part, as an arrangement-expanding vehicle for  drummer/leader Ernesto Cervini. With his work in two ongoing, outstanding trio's--MEM3 and Myriad3--Cervini helps shape modernist jazz in the piano trio mode. Turboprop, with its three horn front line--two saxophones and a trombone--gets the chance to stretch his arranging chops, with Rev, the group's ...