Sunday, March 4, 2018

Guitarist and composer Harley Card new album The Greatest Invention...a musical tapestry

Harley Card is a Toronto based guitarist and composer. Well versed in jazz and popular music, Harley has been a collaborator in Toronto’s diverse music scene since 2003. He has released three albums of his original music; ‘The Greatest Invention (2017), Hedgerow (2013), and Non-Fiction (2008). In addition to leading his own projects, Harley is a member of the the innovative Toronto groups; Stoptime, Hobson’s Choice, and God’s Gift To Yoda. 

The Greatest Invention is Harley's third CD and is the follow up to 2013’s ‘Hedgerow’ and his 2008 debut, ‘Non-Fiction’. It introduces eleven new compositions written for his long standing group, The Harley Card Quintet.

The music on The Greatest Invention ranges from longer developed pieces to more direct themes that bring the soloists into focus and pay tribute to the tradition of the great quintets in jazz. The album draws inspiration from a range of musical influences, memorable places, and Harley’s deep interest in exploring the process of composition. The title track is inspired by the bicycle and the joy of cycling. It is an album unified both by Harley’s voice as a writer and the Quintet’s sound and approach, developed over the last twelve years as a working band. 

Card takes the listener on a captivating journey. Virtually flawless with an ensemble cast second to none!Brent Black -

As a sideman, Harley has played with a wide array of bands including; Carlie Howell and The Deharms, Harrington, Karl Silveira Quintet, Heavy On The Willie, and The Dan Jam Orchestra. As a freelance guitarist he has worked with; Richard Underhill, Alex Dean, Alex Samaras, Dave Clark, David Virelles, Mike Malone, William Carn, Bernie Senensky, Michael Herring, and Michael Davidson among others.

In 2008 Card traveled to Switzerland to compete as a semi-finalist in the Montreaux Jazz Festival’s Guitar Competition. Harley is a five time recipient of the Toronto Arts Council Creation Grant, a three time recipient of the Ontario Arts Council’s Popular Music Grant, and a two time recipient of  Canada Council Tour Grants for tours with his quintet. Harley is a graduate of Applied Music at Mohawk College and Jazz Performance at The University Of Toronto. 

Marty's review: Harley Card's talents as a composer and guitarist come to the fore in a big way on this his third album release. Each composition is a craft in itself as the quintet weave and flow through their paces with almost effortless abandon. I would call it a musical tapestry, as each picture comes together and tells a story that allows the listener to create their own story from the sounds that are formed and created. An exceptional release that highlights the talents of all involved.

Official website:


Monday, February 19, 2018

Instrumental fusion project NOOP release first single "Evolve"..stunning track from talented musicians

Los Angeles based composer, writer, producer, guitarist and bassist, Nipun Nair, recently started up an instrumental fusion project called NOOP. They recently released their first single which has gone viral on Facebook, accumulating over 35,000 views in under a week.

NOOP began as an experiment for Nipun Nair - an accomplished multi-instrumentalist, composer, producer and performer. Years of growing his sound and understanding the role that music plays in his life led him to the creation of NOOP.  The concept behind it was to create honest instrumental music (Free to be interpreted in any way for the listener), that is not made to impress, or cater to the boundaries of the commercial music industry, and see how that would resonate with listeners.

In order to do this, Nipun had to find the right musicians to be a part of this project. This means that the primary motivation behind being a  part of the project had to stem from the joy of creating and playing music. They say light attracts light, and almost effortlessly, these phenomenal musicians emerged from the crowd… 
Lemuel Clark - one of the most talented drummers today, ever increasing in demand, yet one of the most humble people around. 
Renny Goh - Such an incredibly talented young keyboardist, who strives every day to be better than she was yesterday.. Her exponential growth has caught the attention of many musicians prominent in the industry today. 
Gabriel Coll - One of the youngest and most gifted bassists in Hollywood today. His understanding of music is so natural, that he is able to navigate it and communicate through it like it’s simply a part of his existence. 

With these elements in order, Nipun brought the project to life with their first single: Evolve 

Evolve -  is a story of evolution and growth… an honest revelation about the struggles as an artist… As artists, we all start off with a clear vision of what we want to do… express ourselves through our art. However making that art noticeable in such a competitive market begins to throw doubt on ones-self, leading one to believe they need to conform to the mainstream industry to be taken seriously or noticed. However by doing so, and paying close attention to what our inner monologue is saying, we end up realizing that we are stifling ourselves by not being true to ourselves… and then begins the process of re-discovering ourselves through honesty, and what we end up finding is that the struggles that we just went through, brought us out in the end, more honest than before, and on the next level, and step towards evolution. This is what E-volve tries to depict, that through the ups and downs, the overall trajectory is progress!

Marty's review: NOOP's first release is a stunner! Combining flowing keyboard strokes with exquisite guitar licks and a tight, funky rhythm, this collaboration hits the spot and showcases the amazing talents of these four young musicians. They bounce off each other like seasoned professionals and it all comes together in this smooth, almost effortless composition that will more than impress listeners of fine music.

Available on Spotify

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Justin Gray and Synthesis debut album "New Horizons" ..Indo-Jazz blending Indian and Western music

Justin Gray and Synthesis is a contemporary world jazz ensemble that explores a captivating cross-cultural blend of Indian and western music. The ensemble features Justin Gray on Bass Veena and Electric Bass, Ted Quinlan on guitar, Drew Jurecka on Violin, Ed Hanley on tabla and Derek Gray on drums, percussion and Tibetan singing bowls. 

Bandleader Justin Gray is an award-winning bassist, composer and producer based out of Toronto, Canada. In 2010, Gray designed and co-created the bass veena, a multi-stringed instrument, which combines the fretless bass with elements inspired by various Indian stringed instruments. Justin is the first artist to perform on this instrument worldwide. 

Justin Gray and Synthesis’ debut album, New Horizons, features a collection of original compositions, which feature the bass veena performed alongside an inspiring line up of global artists. The music draws inspiration from Justin’s wide range of musical influences, including Indian classical, jazz, western classical, electronic and R&B music. Gray’s compositions synthesize these musical traditions with a unique combination of creative melodies, rich sonic textures, and exotic grooves. 

New Horizons features a number of exciting guest artists, including: Dhruba Ghosh (Sarangi), Trichy Sankaran (Mrdangam), Alam Khan (Sarode), Steve Gorn (Bansuri), Joy Anandasivam (Guitar), The Venuti String Quartet, Naghmeh Farahmand (Persian Percussion), Demetrios Petsalakis (Oud), Gurpreet Chana (Hang Drum), Todd Pentney (Piano), Joel Schwartz (Resonator Guitar) and Jonathan Kay (Esraj). 

Marty's review: the blending of jazz, classical and world music unite on this most adventurous and intelligent production. Justin Gray's bass veena is the rock on which all elements meet with the instrumentation of Indian music being the sound that weaves it together. Fans of jazz and world music will more than appreciate the combining factors that make this release a sheer piece of joy that resonates from all directions.

Website -
Facebook -
Twitter - @Justingraybass

Bandcamp -

Saturday, January 20, 2018

The Dave Liebman / Mike Murley Quartet - Live at U of T..a jazz master and a jazz treasure come together

Recently released is the new album from an awesome co-lead band; one jazz master, and one Canadian jazz treasure; The Dave Liebman / Mike Murley Quartet - Live at U of T

Saxophonists Dave Liebman and Mike Murley have performed together for more than a decade, previously releasing Day and Night on Cornerstone Records. Their second release, Live at U of T, featuring bassist Jim Vivian and drummer Terry Clarke, came about as a result of Liebman's appointment as Visiting Adjunct Professor at the University of Toronto Faculty of Music.  Recorded in a small concert space packed with attentive listeners, Live at U of T captures the spirit and spontaneity of live jazz in an intimate setting.

Stream the album on SOUNDCLOUD HERE

The natural rapport between the musicians on this recording is immediately apparent. Murley studied with Liebman in the 1980's at the Banff Jazz Workshop and in New York. He and Vivian have worked frequently with Liebman over the years, primarily in the Toronto area but also at recording sessions and concerts in Halifax and Montreal. Drummer Terry Clarke and Liebman are both veterans of the international jazz scene dating back to the late 1960's and their musical chemistry was instantaneous.

David Liebman is considered a renaissance man in contemporary music with a career stretching nearly fifty years. He has played with masters including Miles Davis, Elvin Jones, Chick Corea, John McLaughlin, McCoy Tyner. He has recorded as a leader in styles ranging from classical to rock to free jazz.  Liebman has performed on over 500 recordings with over 200 as a leader/co-leader featuring several hundred original compositions.  He has been a Visiting Adjunct Professor at the University of Toronto since 2014.

Mike Murley is one of Canada's leading jazz artists, having appeared on 12 Juno Award winning albums, 3 as a leader, 3 as a co-leader (Metalwood), and 6 as a sideman (Rob McConnell, David Braid and others).  Murley has recorded and performed with numerous international artists including John Schofield, John Abercrombie and Kenny Wheeler. In 2011 Murley accepted full-time position at the University of Toronto where he currently holds the position of Jazz Area Chair at the Faculty of Music.

Terry Clarke has recorded over 300 albums with a number of international artists, including Bill Mays, Renee Rosnes, and Joe Lovano.  His collaborations with Canadian musicians include David Braid, Don Thompson, and Rob McConnell.  Clark’s first album as a leader, It's About Time, won the JUNO Award for Traditional Jazz Album of the Year in 2010.  He has been jazz drum instructor at the University of Toronto for more than a decade. Clarke was named a member of the Order of Canada in 2002.

Jim Vivian is one of the most in demand bassists in Canada, having recorded and performed Rob McConnell’s Boss Brass, Don Thompson, and Sonny Greenwich, among others.  He has also worked with international artists such as Kenny Wheeler, Tim Hagans, and John Abercrombie. In 2002 Jim accepted the position of jazz bass instructor and lecturer at the University of Toronto. 

Marty's review: If you're a fan of pure, classic jazz, and in particular, the saxophone, then this live release will do more than satisfy your cravings. Recorded in a small setting, the best place for live jazz in my view, it captures the essence and professionalism of these four veterans as they collaborate to produce a 9 track set that weaves and ebbs its way on a live music journey that's a treat for the senses.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Composer, arranger and singer Sarah Jerrom presents "The Yeats Project"..exquisite chamber jazz

Proclaiming her crafts as a composer, arranger and vocalist, Sarah Jerrom’s latest album, The Yeats Project, is an exciting and imaginative follow up to her critically acclaimed debut CD, Illuminations. Featuring her original compositions set to the poetry of William Butler Yeats, Jerrom orchestrated the music for a unique nine-piece chamber jazz instrumentation comprised of strings, woodwinds, brass and a traditional jazz rhythm section, with Jerrom herself on vocals. After gathering a group of Toronto’s top established and emerging musicians, the music was recorded live at two concert venues in Toronto and the Niagara region. The featured poems reflect upon themes such as spirituality, life as an artist, death, defeat and love.

Blending the elements of jazz, improvisation and classical music, The Yeats Project presents the words of W.B. Yeats set to music in a completely unprecedented style and approach. This distinctive interpretation and the ensemble’s unique combination of instruments played by a specially formed group of top-flight, multi-influenced musicians makes The Yeats Project a rarity in terms of concept and sound.

Sarah Jerrom (vocals/compositions/arrangements)                 
Ernesto Cervini (drums)
Andrew Downing (cello)
Aleksandar Gajic (viola)
Johnny Griffith (bass clarinet)
Tara Kannangara (flugelhorn)
Rob McBride (double bass)
Carissa Neufeld (piano)
Tom Richards (conductor)

Linnea Thacker (violin)

Marty's review: taking on such an ambitious project and putting it all together makes Sarah Jerrom one exceptional talent. With not only the composing and arranging at her control, she also contributes vocal duties alongside a stellar cast of contemporary jazz musicians. The result is an exquisite conceptual album that weaves the lyrics of William Butler Yeats with contemporary chamber jazz. It allows the listener to take a journey with Sarah's most beautiful voice guiding you along and the nine-piece jazz chamber orchestra providing the musical "wheels" for whatever form of transport you wish to choose. A rare treat for the soul and mind it radiates from every direction.


Thursday, January 4, 2018

London neo-soul jazz singer Chloe Bodur new single “Glory”..ambient and funk-fueled

North West London’s neo-soul, jazz singer Chloe Bodur recently released the new single entitled “Glory” via Live Nation’s One’s To Watch. Produced by UK Top 10 charting producer JD.Reid (Mabel, Katy B, Sinead Harnett, D Double E) it features smokey vocals, ambient neo-soul and funk-fueled guitar melodies. 

Chloe Bodur is a 19-year-old singer/songwriter from North West London. Fusing elements of neo-soul, jazz and pop, Bodur has been gracing audiences with her distinctive style. Embodying emotional rawness and unapologetic lyricism, Bodur delivers an authentic sound of reflection and contemplation which has been resonating with listeners all over the UK. 

Raised in a mixed heritage family, whilst immersed in vibrant London, Bodur credits her multi-cultural upbringing for her array of musical influences. Idolising the likes of Billie Holiday and Frank Sinatra, as well as gaining inspiration from artist's such as Quincey Jones, D’angelo and Frank Ocean, it is to no wonder that Bodur’s music effortlessly draws listeners into her own unique world and modern fusion. 

“Glory” thematically focuses on vulnerability and the underlying sense of loneliness. Bodur reveals, “It was originally written as a poem about youth trying to find love in themselves and in others and how one correlates with the other”. As a self-confessed romantic, Bodur conveys her heartfelt introspection through sultry harmonies, which ride atop a hybrid of ambient neo-soul, smooth jazz arrangements and soulful melodies.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Juno-nominated Canadian nonet, The Carn Davidson 9, new album "Murphy" ..bold and brassy chamber jazz

The Carn Davidson 9 was formed at the beginning of 2010 as a collaborative project between JUNO nominated artists, trombonist William Carn and saxophonist Tara Davidson. CD9 draws on the body of compositions by its co-leaders. This collaborative project is an opportunity for both artists to “reimagine” their compositions for this chamber jazz instrumentation, shining new perspective on their existing repertoire. This 9-piece chord-less ensemble utilizes its seven horns as both melodic and harmonic devices, anchored by bass and drums. 

This electrifying new release exemplifies the musical growth of the group.  From the ensemble playing, to the solos, to the repertoire,  Murphy epitomizes the sound of the band.  Featuring 8 new compositions by the co-leaders of William Carn and Tara Davidson, this new recording also features new arrangements by not only Carn and Davidson but also by Geoff Young, Andrew Downing, Jason Logue, Ernesto Cervini and Andy Ballantyne.  All these musical perspectives blend to form the unique and beautiful sound of the Carn Davidson 9.

The Carn Davidson 9’s unique sound is made stronger by an all-star lineup of prominent Canadian artists who are all exceptional ensemble players as well as outstanding soloists. 

CD9 is... 

Tara Davidson, woodwinds; Kelly Jefferson, woodwinds; Perry White, woodwinds ;

Jason Logue, trumpet; Kevin Turcotte, trumpet; William Carn, trombone ;

Alex Duncan, bass trombone; Andrew Downing, bass; Ernesto Cervini, drums .

Marty's review: For an album that comprises mainly brass and wind instruments this release is well crafted and executed. I was expecting a "big band' sound, but this is not what you hear. This nonet have produced creative and inspiring compositions that come together in a cohesion that compliments all involved. The adventurous and progressive musicianship of each player weaves its way throughout the expansive 8 tracks, making it an album that jazz musicians and aficionados will appreciate and soak up.

Trombonist WILLIAM CARN has emerged as one of Canada’s leading contemporary jazz composers and performers. His debut release, Other Stories, was nominated for a 2007 Juno Award as Traditional Jazz Album of the Year. He has also been nominated for Trombonist of the Year at the National Jazz Awards from 2004 to 2008. He has performed and recorded with jazz artists including Rob McConnell, Randy Brecker, David Binney, Kenny Wheeler, Ingrid Jensen, Tim Hagans, Barry Harris, Carla Bley, Steve Swallow, Vince Mendoza, Don Braden, Mike Murley, and Hilario Duran. William also enjoys a diverse freelance career and is a regular member of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival orchestra. William is a RATH Trombone artist and is an instructor at Humber College and the University of Toronto. 

Tara Davidson is a multi-JUNO Award nominated alto and soprano saxophonist who has performed around the world at such prestigious venues as New York City’s Carnegie Hall, the acclaimed North Sea Jazz Festival in the Netherlands, the International Jazz Festival in Lima, Peru, and The Kennedy Center, in Washington, D.C. As a bandleader, Davidson has produced six recordings since 2004 and performed on more than thirty recordings as a side person. Three of her six recordings as a leader have been nominated by the JUNO Awards for “Album of the Year” in both the “Traditional” and “Solo” jazz categories. Davidson is an active educator presently on faculty at York University (Toronto), the Humber College Community Music School (Toronto) and the National Music Camp of Canada (Jazz Faculty).