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Sunday, January 20, 2019

Toronto based jazz duo Blue Standard debut release “A Good Thing”..stylish and accomplished


A Good Thing” is the debut release from new Toronto based jazz duo Blue Standard, featuring singer/actor Raoul Bhaneja on vocals and Jesse Whiteley from the first family of Canadian roots music on piano. Drawn together by a love of some familiar and not so familiar standards, they recorded songs inspired by takes from vocalists they admire such as Joe Williams, Nat King Cole, Chet Baker and Jimmy Scott to name a few. An intimate, unadorned and raw take on the classics.




The album was recorded live off the floor with no overdubs at Canterbury Music Company in Toronto, Canada. Engineered, mixed and mastered by James Paul, assistant engineer Jeremy Darby. Produced by Blue Standard and James Paul.



Marty's review:  Blue Standard's selection and delivery of 12 standard and timeless vocal classics is nothing short of sophisticated, polished and highly entertaining. The emotionally-rich voice of Raoul Bhaneja combined with the masterful piano licks of Jesse Whitely come across as tender yet effervescent and more than do justice to these tunes that will be familiar to most jazz vocal aficionados. A stylish and accomplished collaboration that is solid and finely-calibrated.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Modern jazz release from The Johnny Griffith Quintet, featuring Jeremy Pelt - The Lion, Camel and Child


Recently released is the modern jazz album from Toronto saxophonist Johnny Griffith and his quintet, entitled The Lion, Camel and Child.  It's the second release from  Griffith’s all-star quintet - a band made up of of four of Toronto’s leading jazz lights, along with the legendary New York trumpeter Jeremy Pelt


For this release, Griffith drew inspiration from the writings of Friedrich Nietzsche - specifically his book Three Metamorphoses. As Griffith explains, “Metamorphoses is concerned with what propels each new phase of human growth, so it seemed fitting to frame this as a suite – each track individual unto itself, yet when listened to as a whole representing the arc of the personal struggle to know more and be more.” 

Central to the album is the suite that illustrates these phases and the qualities that define them: The Lion, virtuous and rebellious; The Camel, courageous and dutiful; and The Child, playful and free of spirit. 


Johnny Griffith is a multi-Juno Award nominated saxophonist, composer and producer who has played and recorded with numerous artists including Don Thompson, Hawksley Workman, Jeremy Pelt, Charlie Hunter, The Wailers, Alex Dean, Laila Biali, Al Henderson Quintet, Brandi Disterheft and Terra Hazelton to name a few, and is a member of the popular Canadian funk/hip hop group, the Pocket Dwellers. He has toured extensively across Canada, the United States, and Europe performing at all the major Canadian music festivals as well as several international venues including the Montreaux Jazz Festival in Switzerland.  

official website: http://www.johnnygriffith.com


Marty's review: this highly original and conceptual production is unique and visionary with each player bringing their musical talents to the fore. Johnny Griffith's saxophone licks are top-flight and soaring as they weave in with the exceptional quintet of Jeremy Pelt (trumpet), Adrean Farrugia (piano), Jon Maharaj (Bass) and Ethan Ardelli (drums). Each track is an individual, exhilarating composition blending in with the album as a whole by creating a progressive and symphonic style of modern jazz that is intoxicating and invigorating. An accomplished effort that will delight the listener and expand the visions within. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Holiday album release from Toronto vocalist Sam Broverman "A Jewish Boy's Christmas" ..fun and witty


For almost ten years now, Winnipeg born, Toronto based singer Sam Broverman has been presenting his cabaret show A Jewish Boy’s Christmas every holiday season. Initially inspired by the fact that many of the best known Christmas songs were written by Jewish songwriters, the show has evolved into a well loved holiday revue driven by Sam’s love for comedy and novelty song. After almost ten years - and countless requests - it was time to record an album.

For A Jewish Boy’s Christmas - his fourth full length album - Sam enlisted the help of several of Toronto’s best musicians, including his working band with Peter Hill and Jordan O’Connor.  Featured as a guest soloist is Broverman’s regular special guest, Whitney Ross-Barris, the Toronto jazz and theatre scene stalwart whose wit is widely known. Ken Whitely - the multiple award-winning Canadian music legend- was invited on board to produce the whole affair after his involvement in the inaugural show. 



Having celebrated the work of great songwriters like Johnny Mercer and Jimmy Van Heusen on his previous recordings, it was time for Sam to return to one of his first loves: parody songwriting.  In addition to working as a singer, Sam is also a professor of actuarial mathematics at the University of Toronto - he put himself through school singing, and has delivered his book of math based parody songs at academic conferences for years.  A Jewish Boy’s Christmas is a hilarious and irreverent take on the holiday season.

Sam Broverman is a Winnipeg-born, Toronto based jazz singer and songwriter. He has performed in venues across Canada, the US, Europe  and Asia. He began his professional singing career in Winnipeg as a teenager, appearing in theatre and cabaret productions and also on the nationally televised shows "Hymn Sing" and "The Doug Crosley Show". Sam regularly performs in the Summer Entertainment Series at Winnipeg’s Lyric Theatre.

official web page: http://www.brovermusic.com




Marty's review: whether you celebrate Christmas or not, and, depending on your own perception of it (love it or grinch!) this alternative Christmas album by Sam Broverman is not only fun to listen to but is cleverly written and performed. Looking at the season from a Jewish perspective is what Sam Boverman does here and no, it doesn't have to be Christmas time to enjoy the album as it will put a smile on your face any time of the year. With titles such as "Hanukkah in Santa Monica" and "What's A Jew to Do on Christmas", you can't go wrong. Excellent vocal performances by Sam and guest vocalist Whitney Ross-Barris.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Toronto super-group Collective Order release Volume Three....cultural and personal


Toronto super-group Collective Order recently released their third album entitled Volume Three.  

The album marks another important step in the evolution of Toronto’s Collective Order.  Having released two volumes of music, they have solidified a vision for the future of the project:  “Looking ahead, Collective Order plans to continue to become more inclusive and to better reflect the musical and cultural diversity of Toronto.” 

With Volume Three, the band has created a collection of compositions inspired by individual band members’ cultural backgrounds and personal experiences. Toronto is a collection of incredibly diverse and culturally rich communities, and in this collaborative project, the band aims to eliminate imaginary boundaries and establish new musical traditions. 

In keeping with the collaborative nature of Collective Order, the opening title is a composition written to accompany a traditional land acknowledgement by Indigenous artist Melanie Montour



Collective Order is a collaborative recording project featuring 21 jazz musicians based in Toronto. Since forming in 2015, the band has released one album of jazz standards and two albums consisting of all-original compositions. Now releasing their third album, the band has undoubtedly developed a distinct aesthetic centred around a shared creative process. 

The idea of collaboration is fully explored in the music of Collective Order. Each piece is written by a different member of the band, who then curates the personnel for the recording of their piece. As a result, the sound of their albums covers a wide array of arrangements and textures. 

Jazz FM host John Devonish has said of Collective Order, “In times when concepts of community are screaming out for serious revisiting along comes a uniquely sensitive album project."



official website: https://www.collectiveorderjazz.com


Marty's review: The 21 musicians of Collective Order have once again come together to pool their multiple talents and produce an album that is diverse in not only the style of music played but also in their own individual compositions. They take the essence of contemporary jazz and expand it in several directions to present a 14 track sublime symphony that is eclectic yet accessible and transports the listener to a place of their own choosing. Call it a soundtrack to your life if you may and match each track to a moment in your past or present. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

"Drink You In" the gorgeous and luscious album from Toronto singer/composer/lyricist Steven Taetz


For his sophomore feature-length album, accomplished singer and composer/lyricist Steven Taetz presents a new sound: a cocktail of vintage- pop, jazz, and swing, backed by a sure shot band made up of several of Canada’s top jazz musicians. The album presents six new compositions - sure to become popular with singers everywhere - plus a few re-imagined classics. 

The Alberta-born, Toronto-based Taetz was raised on Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, and classic standards. He was trained classically, and at an early age he travelled throughout North America with ensemble Into the Light from Burman University performing Adult Contemporary, jazz, and classical material at festivals and venues such as Disneyland, Honolulu Cathedral, Toronto’s Rogers Centre, and Carnegie Hall. 


Steven Taetz Drink You in contains material co-written with award-winning artists including JUNO-winner Sonia Johnson (Vocal Album of the Year), JUNO-nominee Barbra Lica, Tia Brazda, and producer Drew Jurecka. Along with duets featuring Johnson and Brazda, it includes performances by noted artists such as Kevin Turcotte, John Macleod, Ernesto Cervini, Nathan Hiltz, and many others. The album is distributed by Flatcar Records/Fontana North.  

Steven is proud to follow in the tradition of legendary LGBT leaders in jazz, including Billie Strayhorn, Ma Rainey, Fred Hersch, and Gary Burton. 

official website: https://www.steventaetz.com



Marty's review: this most beautifully produced release highlights the multiple talents of Steven Taetz by taking jazz vocal classics and reworking them in a style that is fresh and intoxicating. This formula is also adapted for his own compositions that blend right in and make this an entertaining and lush set of tunes. Most notable as his duets with vocalists Sonia Johnson and Tia Brazda. If you like a good dose of vintage pop/swing/jazz this will guarantee you a good time. 

Friday, December 14, 2018

Montreal-based Lawful Citizen rockin' new album "Internal Combustion"...unique and exceptional


Internal Combustion is the first full-length record from the Montreal-based band, Lawful Citizen. Fueled by a fiery vision, the music takes a deep journey through the entire spectrum of human emotion. This album is influenced by the history of the internal combustion engine, particularly in the early days of motorcycle racing and land speed record attempts. The feeling of grit, brutality and rawness, along with the entire sensory experience surrounding the extreme danger were the largest inspirations for this music.

The band features saxophonist Evan Shay with Aime Duquet on guitar, Antoine Pelegrin on electric bass and Kyle Hutchins on drums.




Fearlessly combining jazz, metal, electronic, and Americana, Lawful Citizen is an explosive force on the Canadian jazz scene. Formed in 2015 after meeting at McGill University, the band name reflects the discord felt by the common man, between remaining complacent and refusing to abide. The pendulum of their music swings from subtle beauty to relentless rage, driven by the musicality and sensitivity of the four musicians 

Internal Combustion was recorded, mixed, and mastered in Montreal. The resulting journey weaves together the somber and the rough. The band’s signature sound is on full display with searing sax, fierce guitar, guttural bass, and propulsive drums. Their raucous blend of musical brutality, heavy emotion, and forward momentum is perfect for this moment in time.

official website: https://www.evanshay.com




Marty's review: Lawful Citizen's debut album is multi-genre mix that is powerful and intoxicating and delves the listener into a progressive jazz experience filled with thunderous and unpredictable instrumentation that is mesmerizing, ambitious and at times poignant. I applaud these four talented musicians for stepping outside the boundaries of contemporary jazz and allowing their eclectic visions to create music that is unique and exceptional.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Renowned jazz musician Patrick Boyle new album "After Forgetting"..a tender and textured journey




Renowned jazz musician Patrick Boyle recently released his new album After Forgetting. Boyle is known for his outstanding prowess as a trumpet player. A provocative and prolific composer, his performances are filled with jazz enthusiasts and music lovers who are lured into the purity and creativity of his playing. After Forgetting, Patrick Boyle’s fourth solo album, showcases his uncanny sense of the moment and exquisite understanding of melody.



After Forgetting is an exploration of sound and patience” says Patrick. “Any magic on this record comes from how well each musician listens to the entire sonic landscape, allowing our distinct personalities to contribute to the moment. I am so thrilled with the high-end audiophile sound of this album and can’t wait to share it with music lovers.”




Together with Patrick on the album are Bill Brennan (piano), Mike Downes (bass) and Mike Billard (drums); the album is produced by Glen Tilley. Previous solo albums include Rock Music with Curtis Andrews (2010); Still No Word (2008 ECMA Nominee); Hold Out (2005 ECMA Nominee). Artist Bruce Alcock designed the artwork, using a photo taken by Boyle of a shed in his father’s family home in Ireland. The album features original compositions alongside tunes by Bob Dylan, William Walton, and Michel Legrand. The album is now available on vinyl, digital download, and CD.



Hailing from Mount Pearl, Newfoundland, Boyle is a fearless sonic explorer. His frontiers are in performance (trumpet and guitar), improvisation, composition and education. He holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Toronto, a M.A. in Ethnomusicology from York University and a Bachelor’s Degree in performance from Memorial University. Dr. Patrick Boyle is currently an Associate Professor of Jazz Studies at the University of Victoria. He appears on over fifty commercial releases and four acclaimed solo albums. In 2009, he performed at Carnegie Hall with tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain. Boyle has cultivated the rare ability to synthesize a range of influences – including jazz, rock, traditional, Balkan, and South Indian music – which all come together into a rhythmically compelling musical voice. A composer for theatre, film and the concert stage, Boyle scored the recent Artistic Fraud production of Colony of Unrequited Dreams at the National Arts Centre.

Marty's review: Patrick Boyle's new release is an exploration of jazz in its many forms. Combining flawless trumpet licks with emotional and classic accompaniment on piano, double bass and drums, the compositions blend together to create a contemporary jazz soundscape that is tender and textured that take the listener on a sublime and stylistic journey.

Listen to the album here

Buy the album here


Friday, December 7, 2018

Cross-border collective Way North second album release Fearless and Kind....jazz you can dance to!



Way North is a cross-border mash-up of Canadian and American artists born out of the joy of playing together. Formed in Brooklyn in 2014 by three Canadians and a New Yorker, the band features saxophonist Petr Cancura (Down Home - JUNO nominee), trumpeter Rebecca Hennessy (2018 Toronto Emerging Jazz Artist/Women’s Blues Revue bandleader), bassist Michael Herring (Peripheral Vision - JUNO nominee) and American drummer Richie Barshay (Herbie Hancock/Chick Corea/ Esperanza Spalding).




Following up on their critically acclaimed first album Kings County, their new album Fearless and Kind finds the band serving up a similar roots stew, even more heavily weighted toward street-beats and dance rhythms. The front line's collective improvising and conversational rhythmic approach brings to mind  both modern jazz and roots music, two styles that have more in common than one might think. 

Recorded on the heels of a tour, the band's sound is clearly defined: the music feels comfortable and loose, its character distinctive and warm. That they love playing together is obvious, and this feeling is contagious, drawing listeners in close. 

There is music from all four band members here, but it would be hard to tell, as the songs go seamlessly together. Cancura’s Mississippi-Beat “Boll Weevil” opens the album and announces the good times that are ahead.  You can also hear his tender waltz “Ready or Not” and “The River’s Flow”. Hennessy’s “Lagoon” is next, and the rhythm section generates a lazy-cowboy lope which the horns ride on top of with the quirky harmonies.  She also contributes the Ornette Coleman inspired calypso “Birds for Free” and the ballad “Inchworms”.  Barshay’s “Airport to Knowhere” cooks with a Balkan-jazz groove, and he brought the Jelly Rolly Morton medley to the band, which fittingly connects the band’s modern sound with the early New Orleans roots of jazz.  Herring’s title track “Fearless and Kind” is a bluesy waltz, and he also wrote the street-beat meets Jazz Messengers “You Know A Song”.

This is a community minded band, and they are looking to lift people up with this music: this is jazz you can dance to!

official website: http://waynorthband.com




Marty's review: This second release by Way North finds them in an upbeat and creative mood by sourcing music from several genres and creating and 11-track musical smörgåsbord that enlightens, excites and invigorates. Whatever form of music you may listen to, you will appreciate what is going on here with the way this collective have taken their talented musical leanings and formed a global soundscape of compositions that are surprising and at times unpredictable.




Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Jazz-World musician Enrique Haneine new album The Mind's Mural...free jazz conversation



Enrique Haneine is a jazz-world musician, composer, pianist, drummer, improviser, and educator that is currently living in New York City and was born in Mexico City from Lebanese descent.

Enrique Haneine has won international jazz competitions and received multiple music awards, his reputation as a brilliant artist and talented arranger are well earned, his repertoire has evolved and matured into the realm of free jazz, standards and Latin jazz forays. Ranging from his past role as music director for Ricky Martin and for numerous productions, and performances, he has collaborated with some of the greatest jazz musicians. A winner of the Jane Jarvis Jazz Competition, voted All About Jazz New York’s Best of 2005 Albums of the Year, Grammy Nominated for his performance on the Best Latin Jazz Album 2013 are only a few of the accomplishments Haneine enjoys.  His last recording entitled INSTANTS OF TIME was released in January of 2016 successfully reaching its own innovative character and sound garnering fantastic reviews and making it to the top of the jazz charts - #3 CMJ -  with thirteen original compositions.  




His most recent recording entitled THE MIND’S MURAL includes eleven original compositions exploring the forces and influences that direct the mind to interpret and react, like images composing a mural of perception. Maintaining the jazz, Latin and middle eastern influence, the use of innovative rhythms in odd meter contexts and driving intervallic yet lyrical melodies, the free jazz conversation is achieved in a high caliber, sensitive linear setting.

official website: http://www.enriquejazz.com/index.html

Marty's reviewThe latest release by this multi-talented and equally acclaimed musician is a journey into the realms of free-form jazz with elements of world and classical in the mix. Assembling a stellar cast of musical associates, Enrique Haneine has created a highly fluid and finely calibrated set of compositions that blend together in a jazz-scape of sound that is fresh and emotionally rich.

The combined creativeness of Anna Webber on tenor saxophone, Catherine Sikora on tenor & soprano saxophones, Carlo de Rosa on acoustic bass and Enrique Haneine on drums, cymbals & udu drum is visionary, unique and skillful, resulting in a sculptural form of jazz that is exhilarating and sophisticated. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Jazz drummer/composer Harry Vetro's debut album Northern Ranger..a beautiful and deeply Canadian album


In 2017, as Canada celebrated 150 years of confederation, 23 year old Hamilton drummer Harry Vetro took to the road. He traveled coast to coast, visiting communities in Canada's six indigenous cultural areas (Arctic, Subarctic, Northwest Coast, Plateau, Plains, and Eastern Woodlands) in an effort to connect with musicians and artists from different backgrounds, and to better understand the land's long cultural history. 

Northern Ranger - Vetro's debut album - tells the story of his travels. A jazz musician by training, Harry melded his own style of improvised music with folk and classical influences to create a deeply personal statement, one that speaks to the country as a whole. 




A recent graduate of the University of Toronto Jazz program, Vetro leads an active performing career. Past performances include the TD Toronto Jazz Festival, Ottawa Jazz Festival and Orillia Jazz Festival. 

Marty's review: Harry Vetro's impressive debut is an evocative and exhilarating production that combines elements of jazz, classical and world music to create an ethereal landscape of visionary musical images. Each composition sounds as if you have arrived at a destination and are taking in the scenery around you in a 360 degree turn. Subtle and conceptual instrumentation creates an atmosphere that is stratospheric and engaging in many ways.

official website: https://www.harryvetro.com


Proceeds from this album will assist in starting an outreach initiative for youth with limited access to music education. The program will be titled "Northern Ranger Outreach" and Vetro will be partnering with his father, who is an educator and musician with connections in the school system.