Thursday, September 13, 2018
Canadian Sounds Reverberate
"Got a Light?" (ALMA Records) is his debut as a leader. With the splendid drumming of Larnell Lewis (Snarky Puppy) and the handsomely thick electric bass sound of Rich Brown, this music jumps right along. Ledbetter is a two-fisted pianist with a fine blend of percussive and melodic elements. The nine tracks - eight originals plus the Tragically Hip's "Gift Shop" (recorded one week after the passing of the group's front man Gord Downie) - have great power thanks to the talents and big ears of the participants.
There is a softer side. Vocalist Eliana Cuevas joins the trio for "Her New Wings" (the leader switching to electric piano and leads the vocals in by playing the melody on melodica). The blend of her voice with the melodica is lovely plus there is a smart use of vocal overdubs to enhance the sound. The rhythm section sits out "Suspirito" with batá drummer Reimundo Sosa joining Ledbetter for the quiet performance.
The album closes with a solo piano piece, the gentle, gospel-infused, "The Tightrope Walker." In various places on the album, one can hear the influence of Bruce Hornsby on Ledbetter's melodic and rhythmic choices. Let this music wash over you. The Jeremy Ledbetter Trio will shake the rafters but also give you moments of peace in a crowded day. "Got a Light?" grabs the listener from the opening note, not only because this is not your traditional piano trio but really because the music is quite enjoyable.
For more information, go to www.jeremyledbetter.com.
Take a look and listen to the Trio:
Grossman shows his versatility right from the start. A sweetly melodic introduction opens to a funky/Latin groove as "Georgie and Rose" dance across the speakers. Soprano saxophonist Chris Roberts and trombonist Christian Overton step out for delightful solos powered by the delightful rhythms of drummer Ben Ball and percussionist Luis Orbegoso. "Brad's Prudence" is a smart reworking of The Beatles' "Dear Prudence", the assemble trombones playing the melody as the trumpets and saxophones provide color commentary.
Two decades - 20 years - is a good long time in the life of a modern big band. While they may only have four albums, Josh Grossman has kept the TJO busy with several side projects. "20" is a celebration and, hopefully, a harbinger of more to come.
For more information, go to www.thetjo.com.
Josh Grossman (Artistic Director, conductor)
Chris Roberts (soprano sax, alto sax, flute)
Jake Koffman (alto sax, flute)
Paul Metcalfe (tenor sax, clarinet)
Chris Hunsburger (tenor sax, clarinet)
Shirantha Beddage (baritone sax, bass clarinet)
Steve Dyte (lead trumpet)
James Rhodes (trumpet)
Alexander Brown (trumpet)
John Pittman (trumpet)
Christian Overton (lead trombone)
Pat Blanchard (trombone)
Mark Grieve (trombone)
Sylvain Bedard (bass trombone)
Todd Elsliger (guitar)
Carissa Neufeld (piano, Fender Rhodes, Wurlitzer)
Mark Godfrey (acoustic & electric bass)
Ben Ball (drums)
Luis Orbegoso (percussion)
Listen to Josh Grossman talk about the band and the recording:
here). The program includes a totally new lineup from the previous disk but Promane again creates an album that features standards, an original work (by current tenor saxophone John Nicholson), and a surprise in the addition of "(Ocean) Bloom", a Radiohead piece from its "The King of Limbs" album rearranged by Hans Zimmer for the BBC series "Blue Planet."
"When Day Slips Into Night" not only highlights the young musicians who are part of the programs at the University of Toronto but also illuminates the vision of Terry Promane has for this odd-sized large ensemble. Everyone plays well, Brooklyn Bohach stands out without stealing the spotlight (the arrangements always posit her as one of the band), and the material covers a large swath of the jazz ouevre. Like their 2017 release, The U of T 12Tet keeps your attention throughout by making memorable music throughout.
The ensemble has no true website but you can buy the albums and listen to excerpts on both iTunes and Amazon.
Brooklyn Bohach: vocals
Michael Henley, Kaelin Murphy: trumpets
Karl Silveira: trombone
Brandon Tse: alto saxophone
John Nicholson, Kieran Murphy: tenor saxophones
Russell Matthews: baritone saxophone
Noah Franche-Nolan: piano
Julius Clegg: guitar
Evan Gratham: acoustic and electric bass
Keagan Eskritt: drums