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).

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Drummer Ilios Steryannis debut album "Bethany Project"...World Jazz with funky grooves

Ilios Steryannis is a jazz drummer and composer from Toronto, Canada. His new album, "Bethany Project", coming out in January 2018, is one of the most anticipated releases of the year.

The album was recorded in July 2017 at Number 9 Audio Group, with highly acclaimed SOCAN award winning producer and guitarist Eric St-Laurent at the helm. The album features a wide variety of styles, moods and textures, ranging from Coltranesque post bop to charging West African grooves, with some Mediterranean and Afro-Cuban flavours mixed in. Bethany Project will be released internationally on Friday, January 12th, 2018.

Marty's review: this upbeat release from Ilios Steryannis certainly has an immediate "wow" factor from the first opening notes and continuing all the way to the final track. With an eclectic mix of complimenting musical influences this 11 track jazz masterpiece boasts top-notch musicianship, expertly arranged compositions and a production that is tight, balanced and a delight to listen to. The anticipation for this release is certainly justified.

CD Release Tour
Toronto - January 11, 2018. The Burdock
Montreal - February 23, 2018. Resonance CafĂ©

Ottawa - February 24, 2018. GigSpace

For more information visit

Download FREE digital booklet album preview HERE

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Nick Maclean Quartet - Rites of Ascension...paying tribute to Herbie Hancock

This contemplative and often thrilling quartet's explorations of modern, original repertoire is led by a fast-rising star in Toronto's jazz piano community -- 26-year-old Nick Maclean. Formed in 2016, Maclean's foursome delivers jazz between the two poles of thoughtful introspection and powerhouse conveyance, taking influences from Herbie Hancock's primordial 1960's Blue Note era recordings featuring Freddie Hubbard, while simultaneously paying apt tribute to some of the greatest improvisers in jazz history. 

The quartet's debut 11-track full-length album "Rites Of Ascension" features 6 Maclean-penned originals, 1 composition by Brownman and 4 re-imagined Herbie Hancock classics. The group is frequently lauded for the strength of their collective improvisatory vision and highlights Maclean’s ruminative piano prowess and handpicked sidemen. Brooklyn / Toronto based Brownman Ali, one of Canada's most provocative improvising trumpet-playing iconoclasts, stands shoulder to shoulder with Maclean himself & two of Toronto's top-tier rhythm section 20-somethings: Jesse Dietschi on bass and Tyler Goertzen on drums. This recording was produced by Brownman Ali for release on the Browntasauras Records label, now widely regarded as a vanguard for new and visionary talent in the evolution of Jazz in Canada, and exemplifies Maclean's quartet in full flight.

Official website:

Born in Ottawa, Nick Maclean is “one of the most gifted young Toronto pianists to come along in the last few years” (Adrean Farrugia, Juno winning jazz pianist) and has quickly become one of the most in-demand 20-something piano players in that city’s bustling jazz scene. Nick received his Bachelors of Music from Humber College in 2013, having studied with David Restivo, Bernie Senensky and Nancy Walker. He then went on to do a Masters in Jazz Performance at the University of Toronto researching synthesizer pedagogy while studying under David Occhipinti, Andrew Downing, Chris Donnelly and David Braid. Braid, in particular, had an enormous influence on how Maclean approaches playing and composing. From Miles & Hancock to Weather Report & Snarky Puppy, Maclean’s musical influences are diverse.  Aside from the Nick Maclean Quartet, Maclean also leads the award-winning, groove-based, electric-jazz project Snaggle, whose latest release The Long Slog was awarded a 2016 Gold-Standard Global Music Award, a 2017 Toronto Independent Music Award and has received international critical acclaim.  The future is bright for this young visionary as he continues his upward ascent in jazz art forms of all shapes and sizes.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Ernesto Cervini's sextet Turboprop new release "REV"..cross-border jazz collaboration

Ernesto Cervini and his sextet Turboprop have released their much anticipated sophomore album, Rev on ANZIC Records.  Following the critical and popular success of their eponymous debut, Rev will continue to cement their reputation as one of the top cross-border jazz collaborations.  The band features top jazz musicians from two of North America’s most vibrant jazz cities:  Tara Davidson on Alto and Soprano Saxophones (Toronto), Joel Frahm on Tenor Saxophone (New York), William Carn on Trombone (Toronto), Adrean Farrugia on Piano (Toronto), Dan Loomis on Bass (New York) and Ernesto Cervini on Drums (Toronto).

Turboprop has already toured Canada multiple times, and they have thrilled audiences from coast to coast; 

“Turboprop demonstrates a wide range of stylistic personas, extending from elegantly crafted orchestrations that make the most out of the presence of three horns to rhythmically crafty outings that catapult the horns into cacophonous crescendos. Cervini's programming was audience-pleasing from beginning to end. The performance was an audacious adventure and fittingly symbolized the fresh outlook and virtuosic musicianship Turboprop is becoming noted for.” Mark Holston – Live Review in All About Jazz 

As Cervini states, “although I am the band-leader, Turboprop truly feels like a collective due to the passion, commitment and love everybody brings to each performance.”  This passion and commitment is front and centre on Rev as each member of the band is given an opportunity to shine, and they all deliver poignant and memorable musical moments.  

Highlights from Rev include Granada Bus, a propulsive a rhythmic piece composed by Cervini.  Inspired by real life, it mimics the dynamic energy of a Spanish bus stop.  The title-track is a rip-roaring affair which features Cervini alone with the horn section.  It was conceived while Cervini was on a walk in Toronto, and is inspired by the busy sounds of Toronto traffic.  

Cervini also features the compositional talents of three of his band mates.  The album opens with The Libertine by Adrean Farrugia.   The song features strong solo moments by Cervini (to open the piece), Farrugia and Frahm, who solos over a raucous groove laid down by the rhythm section.  Dan Loomis pens Ranthem, and anthemic and fun romp, and William Carn contributes Arc of Instability, an epic journey inspired by the American political system that is well worth it’s 9 minutes for the swinging shuffle at the end.

Lastly, the album features three “covers”; Pennies from Heaven, dedicated to Cervini’s 1 year-old daughter, Penelope; No Rain, a great 1990’s hit from Blind Melon; and The Daily Mail, a “b-side” by Radiohead which features a wonderful solo bass intro by Loomis.  

More on Ernesto Cervini: Drummer-composer Ernesto Cervini is making a name for himself as a consummate bandleader and in-demand collaborator, praised for his deep musicality and infectious energy. Downbeat described his fluid style as one that “exemplifies ‘float like a butterfly, sting like a bee’.” Modern Drummer said: “Cervini recalls such old-schoolers as Art Blakey and Billy Higgins… It’s his robust, magnetic personality that fascinates consistently.” After releasing three quartet discs, Cervini made his latest venture a sextet album, with Turboprop released by Anzic Records in 2015. The Ottawa Citizen said: “With his fourth disc, Cervini has strikingly raised his game... With its fetching writing for horns, palpable sense of team spirit, highly focused solos and varied emotional depths, Turboprop is full of jazz pleasures.”