Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Jazz Pianist Stu Harrison swinging debut album release "Volume 1"

Volume 1 is the swingin' debut album from Canadian pianist extraordinaire, Stu Harrison. Harrison is joined by Canadian jazz luminaries Neil Swainson (George Shearing, Woody Shaw, Joe Henderson, Roberta Gambarini) on bass and Terry Clarke (John Handy, Jim Hall, Oscar Peterson, Fifth Dimension) on drums.  On this album Harrison presents ten classic jazz standards, presented with modern and exciting arrangements.

Sideman to many wonderful acts in jazz and pop around the GTA, Harrison finally steps into the spotlight with the release of his debut album as a leader. 

An Ontario native, Harrison began studying piano at the age of 3, and quickly progressed through both the Suzuki and RCM curriculums to become a competitive classical player by 16.  After winning top performance prizes at several major Ontario music festivals, Harrison began seriously exploring improvisation.  Harrison attended the University of Toronto’s Jazz Performance program, graduating in 2003 with an Honors Degree.  He has since been consistently involved as a performer and music director, largely within the Toronto Area, over the past 10 years.  He has performed in nearly every major music club and performance venue in the city, with a variety of projects including musicals, revues, jazz performances, R&B / Pop performances, and more.

Album Track Listing:
1. On the Street Where You Live 4:57
2. Blame It On My Youth 5:57
3. Place St. Henri 3:08
4. Body and Soul 5:42
5. In Your Own Sweet Way 5:54
6. Cheek to Cheek 2:58
7. Nature Boy 7:06
8. Manteca 4:05
9. My Romance 4:46
10. Young & Foolish 6:21

Go to iTunes HERE to stream and preview the album

Find out more on his official website

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Introducing SNAGGLE - The Long Slog..electric jazz-funk

Snaggle Music

The Jazz Music Blog is excited to introduce to you an awesomely funky and fun new album by SNAGGLE entitled The Long Slog

Based in Toronto, SNAGGLE, ­­ under the leadership of in-­demand 25 year old jazz pianist Nick Maclean, is a 6­-piece electric­-jazz-funk ensemble often described by media as “Canada’s answer to Snarky Puppy”. Sporting an all­-original repertoire the group has a fearless and muscular yet introspective sound likened to a cross between electric­-era Miles Davis and Rage Against the Machine. 

Taking elements from a wide variety of musical sources including jazz, funk, rock, and metal, Snaggle contextualizes them within the improvisational and spontaneous elements of the jazz ideology. Their uniquely brash and infectious brand of jazz­-funk is a melodically driven sound which incorporates primal groove qualities more commonly associated with pop and rock, swinging their live show from quietly contemplative all the way to explosively fierce,­ sometimes all within the same tune. The line­-up of players in SNAGGLE includes the current Guinness Book of World Records record­-holder for “world’s fastest drummer”, as well as some of the hottest twenty­-somethings on the scene, representing the next generation of irreverent, boundary pushing Canadian players and composers. Snaggle has been in high demand in the Canadian jazz festival circuit, and has been performing regularly in and around the Toronto area since 2013. 

The Long Slog was released internationally on November 4th, 2016.  

You can check out and stream the album on the official SNAGGLE website  

...and download FREE album information sheet HERE

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Friday, November 11, 2016

The Parker Abbott Trio release their sophomore album, Elevation. Classic Jazz meets Prog-Rock

Following up on their successful debut album, The Wayfinders, the Parker Abbott Trio have released an album that demands attention from not only their core audience of forward-thinking jazz listeners, but from anyone remotely interested in hearing thoroughly original and well-executed new music.

Elevation further exudes the Parker Abbott Trio’s penchant for exploring the boundaries of musical classification, abutting genres as diverse as classic jazz, prog-rock, and impressionistic piano, all while remaining fully ensconced in its own unique core sound. True to the name, Elevation is uplifting as a complete work, providing an end-to-end aural experience that will leave listeners lifted, convinced of their ability to rise above all obstacles. To be sure, the album has dark, introspective moments, as on “Night Song” or “Gregory”, but those deeply crafted moments of fear and doubt only provide a more powerful resolution for rising, positive tracks like  “Nothing Left to Eat” or the eponymous “Elevation”.

Sonically, Elevation builds on the textural complexity of the Parker Abbott Trio’s last album. The compositions on Elevation unremittingly shift and overlap between acoustic grand piano, organs, synthesizers, various electric pianos, and melodica. The result is a tremendously rich aural atmosphere, progressively structured and performed. The combination of studio-oriented sonic detailing and intelligent, jazz-oriented writing and improvising on Elevation bring to mind the work of such contemporary stylists as Marco Benevento, Bill Frisell, and Brad Mehldau on his Largo album.

 You can check out the album on BandCamp

Here's a little more about the Parker Abbott Trio...

The Parker Abbott Trio is a keyboard-centric group of Toronto-based musicians exploring the intersections between two pianists and a drummer—and using a huge sonic palette to do so. Beginning in 2010 with the piano duo of Teri Parker (Idioteque, Teri Parker Quartet) and Simeon Abbott (Danielle Duval, DO!), the group was expanded into its current trio formation in 2011 with the addition of percussive powerhouse Mark Segger (Kyle Brenders Quartet, See Through Quintet). Using a plethora of keyboard instruments and a pan-stylistic approach to composition and improvisation, the trio has created an utterly original, multi-faceted jazz sound that has been called “an ethereal wonderland of sound and texture” (Brent Black, Their newest album, Elevation, is an introspective and uplifting sonic journey full of indomitable tunes that swing, shuffle, simmer, and blaze. The Parker Abbott Trio is a peerless group, and Elevation is sure to be one of the year's highlights for original, forward-thinking instrumental music. 

More on their WEBSITE

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Friday, November 4, 2016

Jazz vocalist Lauren Bush new album release "All My Treasures" and fun

Canadian born, London (England) based vocalist, Lauren Bush, has recently released her debut album entitled All My Treasures.  It's a timeless and charming journey through much loved favourites including Secret Love and Sweet Georgia Brown, mixed in with lesser known classics like Rodgers & Hart's You're Nearer and Henry Mancini's Charade. Throw in some outstanding modern arrangements, burning horn sections and the honey sweet and "charmingly quirky" (Jazzwise) voice of Lauren Bush and you're in for a real musical treat.  The album was produced by award winning vocalist Ian Shaw and it premiered at the famous Dean Street Pizza Express in Soho, London to a full house.

“Bush is one of the freshest and most exciting vocalists to appear on the scene for some time. ” Bruce Lindsay - All About Jazz

Lauren relocated to London,UK to pursue music on a new level just over 4 years ago. Daughter of an accomplished jazz trumpeter father and music teacher mother, it is no surprise that Lauren grew up to have such an aptitude for music.  She ignored her gift for many years, certain that music would only be a hobby; taking voice lessons but was too afraid to perform.  In 2004, on a whim, Lauren auditioned for her university big band, won the position and never looked back.

Traveling extensively around North America, Lauren has had some amazing opportunities to perform. Some highlights of her career include opening for Maynard Ferguson, playing at the Victoria International Jazz Festival, playing at Elgar Room, Royal Albert Hall, being a finalist in the Riga Jazz Stage competition in Riga, Latvia and touring Northern Italy with her Italian trio and Northern Ireland with local big bands. 

Marty's review:  "Cool and fun" is what I would call this exciting new release from Lauren Bush. With a voice that is reminiscent of some of the classic jazz divas of the past but with an original, contemporary style, Lauren has put the "fun" back into jazz and has a great time with it. The production and arrangements are just superb with a "hot" jazz vibe from some very accomplished musicians that will have you toe-tapping and finger-snapping all the way through.

Arrangements by Liam Dunachie
Piano: Liam Dunachie
Bass: Andrew Robb
Drums: David Ingamells
Saxophone: Brandon Allen
Trumpet: Miguel Gorodi
Trombone: Kieran McLeod

See more at: 

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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Introducing Andrew Downing's new album, Otterville...quiet, folk jazz

Andrew Downing is a cellist, performer and composer from London, Ontario. He has just released his incredible new album, Otterville.  Otterville is Downing’s tenth release, named after a small town in the Southern Ontario tobacco belt that was once home to generations of Downings. The double album features instrumentalists from various musical communities, including Christine Bougie (Bahamas), Paul Mathew (Sarah Harmer, Hidden Cameras) and Michael Davidson (Hobson’s Choice), as well as an impressive list of stalwart Canadian jazz musicians.

The compositions are simple and folky, but they revel in the colourfulness of the unique instrumentation and the subtle musical details of the arranging to create dreamy, nostalgic, other-worldly music, inspired by Billy Strayhorn, Kurt Weill, Bill Frisell, Jon Brion and Ry Cooder. Each piece secretly celebrates one of the great American songwriters and jazz composers of the early 20th century by stealing germs and motifs from old songs and refocusing them using Downing’s compositional lens, like Fall In Line’s veiled tribute to Gershwin’s Strike Up The Band, This Year’s Fancies’ nod to I’m Old Fashioned by Johnny Mercer and Jerome Kern, and Observatory’s inspiration from Dizzy Gillespie’s Con Alma. Included also is a reworking of Billy Strayhorn’s near-perfect classic Take The ‘A’ Train. A special, limited edition of the album also features a hardcover book of stories by Canadian poet, filmmaker and songwriter John Southworth, which also dismantles and refashions the disguised source music into prosaic vignettes. 


...a little more about Andrew Downing...

Originally from London, Ontario, Andrew Downing’s career has taken him all over the world as a performer and composer. He won a JUNO award, a West Coast Music Award and a SOCAN award with his band The Great Uncles of the Revolution that featured guitarist Steve Dawson, violinist Jesse Zubot (Tagaq) and trumpeter Kevin Turcotte. He has also collaborated with many celebrated musicians such as American slide guitar luminary David Tronzo on their record Velodrome, Turkish ud player Güç Başar Gülle on their album Anahtar (recorded in İstanbul with a group of Turkish musicians), David Occhipinti and Jim Lewis on their Juno-nominated Bristles, and the aforementioned John Southworth on their multimedia project Easterween. He has also written and arranged music for the Vancouver Bach Choir, Ensemble Polaris, The Carn/Davidson Nine, The Gryphon Trio, Patricia O’Callaghan, cellist Rachel Mercer and banjo player Jayme Stone. 

See more on WEBSITE

Stream and sample on SOUNDCLOUD

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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

See Through Two...Slow Bend...improvised acoustic bass duelling

Slow Bend is the debut recording by See Through Two, which is composed of Rob Clutton (bass and banjo) and Pete Johnston (bass). Formed in 2013, See Through Two play original compositions for two basses, with a few tunes featuring other instruments Pete and Rob play (or at least were able to borrow). This recording features nine compositions by Pete Johnston that afford plenty of space for improvisation and general low end theorizing.

Marty's review: Very sparse instrumentation and some clever dueling on the basses makes this a most unusual and unique piece of contemporary jazz. Certainly one for private listening and appreciation, it combines classical elements with jazz improvising that results in what I would term a "quiet symphony for the brain". Each track is a one word title with no more than five

All-Set! Editions is the brainchild of Toronto musician Mike Smith. Dedicated to releasing sounds from Toronto’s left-field music scene. The aim is to cover everything from bent song-craft to wobbly synthesis, with frequent stops between and beyond. All-Set! Editions’ regular release schedule will bring the sounds of the downtown underground to the ears of curious bystanders wherever they may be.


Albums are available through Bandcamp (download and CD), iTunes, and all other major online services. 

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Sunday, October 2, 2016

Guitarist Eric St-Laurent's new album release Planet

Internationally renowned guitarist Eric St-Laurent is excited to celebrate the release of his fourth album since 2010, entitled Planet.  The album features his regular trio with Jordan O'Connor on bass and Michel DeQuevedo on percussion as well as new collaborator and band mate Attila Fias on piano. 

Recorded on the heels of a wildly successful tour in the spring of 2016, Planet features 5 originals by St-Laurent and 3 classic songs; Donna Lee (Charlie Parker), Call Me Maybe (Carly Rae Jepson) and the Theme from the Second Movement of the 8th Piano Sonata by Ludwig Van Beethoven.  The group continues in it's mission to create joyful, uplifting melodies, freely borrowing from afro-cuban rhythms, blues, western classical music and of course, the current radio top 40. 

One of St-Laurent's songs is titled "What Would Steve Gadd Do?" and it was written after St-Laurent watched several hours of the great Steve Gadd's masterclasses on YouTube.  "His unparalleled command of the tiniest nuances in groove, overall restrain and impeccable taste are a beacon for modern musicians" explains St-Laurent.  

Stream and download the album HERE 

..and more on website

Born and raised in Montreal, St-Laurent studied improvisation in New York before moving to Berlin where he toured with both the big and small names of the German and Scandinavian music scenes.  Winner of the SOCAN award for Best Original Composition at the Montreal Jazz Festival and The Best Band Award at the Vienne (France) Jazz Festival, St-Laurent has been featured on over 50 recordings, produced multiple albums, composed scores for short films and theatre, and toured extensively in Europe and Canada. 

Since returning to Toronto, Canada, St-Laurent has recorded and toured with Till Bronner, Dave Liebman, Dave Douglas, Rebekka Bakken, Slide Hampton, Luc de la Rocheliere, Sylvie Paquette, Richard Underhill, David Binney, Jojo Mayer, Carlos Del Junco, Bernard Primeau and represented Canada at the International Guitar Summit in Nice (MIDEM).

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