NOJO (Neufeld - Ochipinti Jazz Orchestra) with Don Byron and Hugh Marsh: Highwire. 2002. Auracle Records: TND 273.
Don Byron: clarinet, bass clarinetHugh Marsh: violin
Ernie Tollar: soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, clarinet, flute
Dan Bone: alto saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet
Andy Ballantyne: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, clarinet
Patricia Wheeler: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, clarinet
Sean O'Connor: baritone saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet
Jason Logue: trumpet
Kevin Turcotte: trumpet
Lina Allemano: trumpet
Stephen Donald: trombone
Don Laws: trombone
Scott Suttie: bass trombone
Doug Burrell: tuba
Rob Lutton: bass
Barry Romberg: drums, hand drums, shakers
Michael Occhipinti: electric guitar, acoustic guitar, mando-banjo percussion, conductor
Paul Neufeld: piano, synthesizer, hammond organ, wurlitzer electric piano, melodica, prepared piano
Circling back to get this gem into the rotation was a deliberate move on my part. This is music that I've been living with for a few years now and I'll take any excuse to put it on and make the air vibrant with its many layers of textured grooves and whimsical turns. Highwire is both a forceful and gentle reminder of just what kind of range big band writing can have in the post-bop era. Beyond the potential sub-groupings within a large ensemble, this is a music that takes multiple, surprising directions while fearlessly touching upon grooves of any flavor. Adding the veteran chops of Don Byron and Hugh Marsh simply adds yet another layer to a collection rich with creative solos. Ultimately, it's the quality of the writing that shines on this disc. A good place to start if your ears are not yet aware of the creative vibrations of the Toronto music scene.
Skerik's Syncopated Taint Septet: Husky. 2006. Hyena Records: HYN 9348.
Skerik: tenor saxophone
Craig Flory: baritone saxophone, clarinet
Hans Teuber: alto saxophone, flute
Steve Moore: trombone, wurlitzer
Joe Doria: hammond organ
Dave Carter: trumpet
John Wicks: drums
Isalee Teuber: guest vocals
Skerik never allows musical substance to get in the way of a good time. Even the most clever horn arrangement gets folded into the all important groove. And the groove pallet encompasses all from laid back soul to aggressive beats that trend toward metal. Sitting within this tasty mix - and well in the pocket - are these vintage keyboard sounds of Hammond and Wurlitzer. They sound good. Vintage spun from new grapes. This is the Seattle sound and Skerik is no mere cog within that rhythm-laced noise.
Marianne Trudel Quintet: Sands of Time. 2007. Marianne Trudel: TRUD 2007-1.
Marianne Trudel: piano, composition
Rob Mosher: soprano saxophone, soprano saxophone, oboe
Jonathan Stewart: tenor saxophone
Morgan Moore: doublebass
Robbie Kuster: drums
Marianne Trudel applies the same intensity toward lyricism that Skerik does for rhythm. Where Skerik's Syncopated Taint lays down a groove designed to rip one's face off, Trudel accomplishes the same aim through erosion. Focal melodic lines are woven through out this mixture of solo, trio, quartet and quintet settings with more than a few strong nods toward the music of Keith Jarrett. Yet the particulars of this particular voice is Trudel's own. A sensibility bubbling up from the Montreal music scene.