Monday, June 17, 2019

Trumpeter Jacques Kuba Séguin album release Migrations..a delicate soundscape

Just released is the new album from Montreal-based trumpeter Jacques Kuba Séguin, entitled Migrations.

Migrations is a collection of compositions based on interviews with people from various cultural communities in Quebec, Canada. Séguin’s music is cinematic, direct, and dynamic. It encourages an openness to others, something that is built into the history of the artistic medium Séquin loves best: jazz music. 

This new project is born of a desire to return to a more classic form of jazz. Séguin has gathered a group of experienced, like-minded musicians, each with a strong voice to add to the musical dialogue. Migrations represents a form of jazz that will sound familiar to listeners, but also brings with it a renewed, free, personal, and uniquely emotional approach to the storied genre. 

A winner of the 2012-13 Radio-Canada Revelations prize, Séguin is more and more present on the Quebec stage. In 2015, he was nominated for two ADISQ awards: best arranger and jazz album of the year for L'élévation du point de chute and, in 2016, for Litania Projekt with the Quatuor Bozzini in the same two categories. In 2015, he was nominated for a Prix Opus for jazz album of the year and for jazz and world music concert of the year for his 2014 Montreal International Jazz Festival show. 

An engaging showman, Séguin is widely recognized as one of the most brilliant Canadian trumpeters of his generation. Migrations is sure to solidify his sterling musical reputation. 

Jacques Kuba Séguin - Trumpet
Yannick Rieu - Tenor Saxophone
Olivier Salazar - Vibraphone
Jean-Michel Pilc - Piano
Adrian Vedady - Bass

Kevin Warren - Drums

official website:

Marty's review: Migrations is what I would term a delicate soundscape. The free form style of the compositions allows the musicians to weave their sounds intricately with a subtle and playful texture that easily blends with the exquisite trumpet of Jacques Kuba Séguin. The result is a unified and exhilarating ride that is sublime and poignant, yet at the same time very invigorating to the ear.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Flutist Bill McBirnie and singer-songwriter Bruce Jones release Grain of Sand....fresh and effortless

Fifteen years after the release of their first collaboration, Desvio, Bill McBirnie and Bruce Jones team up once again to produce Grain of Sand, a fresh, new incarnation of “Extreme Flute” featuring, once again, Bill in his singular capacity as “flautist extraordinaire” and Bruce in his multiple capacities as composer, vocalist, performer, arranger and engineer.  The results (which consist entirely of originals) are alternately joyful and plaintive, hypnotic and dreamy—yet consistently incantatory. Grain of Sand will resonate with listeners whose tastes range from samba to ambient, from urban to jazz.  

Grain of Sand is available at CDBaby
CD's and MP3s:


Marty's review: this release has been out for some time but I have only recently had the opportunity to listen to it and indulge in its brilliance. The collaboration between these two exceptional artists is seamless and the resulting production on this release is nothing short of breathtaking and sophisticated. Bill McBirnie's flute "licks" are fresh and effortless and blend in beautifully with Bruce Jones' playful and poetic vocals and compositions. A joint effort that is well deserving of continuous spins.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Vancouver-based jazz composer/conductor Jaelem Bhate releases On The Edge..transporting and thunderous

Recently released is the debut album from Vancouver-based multi-faceted composer, conductor, and band leader Jaelem Bhate, entitled On The Edge

After years of writing commissions and charts for his own 45th Avenue Jazz Band, it was time for Bhate to compile an album of his best work to date. For this project, he assembled a group of some of Canada’s most exciting and talented jazz instrumentalists, including Steve Kaldestad, Duran Ritz, Daniel Hersog, Brent Mah, and Sharman King, among others. 

With On The Edge, Bhate reflects on his upbringing in his native British Columbia. With the multi-movement Pacific Suite, Bhate and company depict various elements of the province, and of life in the city of Vancouver: Straits and Narrows speaks to the hustle of the metro area; Uninhabitation is a meditation on the isolation Bhate felt during his many adventures into the province’s far north. 

One can feel on the edge of many things— success, failure, love, or heartbreak. Each one of us has felt these edges, even when they are difficult to define. In this vein, this album can mean many different things to each person who hears it. On The Edge is a compelling album of straight ahead jazz filled with hidden twists and turns waiting to be discovered.

official website:

Marty's review: On the Edge is a focused and conceptual album that Jaelem has created with the aid of a stellar cast of musicians. It comes together in a type of jazz symphony that evolves and expands as it takes you on a musical journey that resonates with each unfolding piece. The compositions are sensitive and at times sombre yet equally exhilarating, and the skill and sophistication of each player under the visionary leadership of Jaelem is a cohesive force that is transporting and thunderous.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Debut album from Toronto vocalist Kalya Ramu "Living In A Dream"...nostalgia for a past era

Living in a Dream, the debut album from Toronto vocalist Kalya Ramu, features four of Ramu’s original compositions and a selection of songs written from the 1920’s to 40’s. This recording captures the essence of the golden age of swing, and transports it to the modern day. 

Ramu’s original compositions combine a classic Tin Pan Alley writing style with contemporary lyrical content, helping to modernize the music while still preserving its core stylistic elements. Her arrangements of rarely recorded jazz standards hold true to the spirit of the music, bringing new life to neglected repertoire. 

Ramu’s dynamic singing evokes nostalgia for a past era. Her vocal stylings have been compared to those of Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, and Sarah Vaughan, three giants of jazz whose influence Ramu has been soaking up since she began performing at the tender age of twelve. Now 25, Ramu is thrilled to add her voice to the list of singers who have interpreted this incredible music. 

Ramu is very active in the Toronto music scene, leading, writing for and performing with multiple groups, including her blues-rock band Angora, The Bettys, her own band Kal’s Hot Four, along with a number of others. 

Kalya Ramu - Vocals
Jacob Gorzhaltsan - Tenor Saxophone & Clarinet
Ewen Farncombe - Piano
Connor Walsh - Upright Bass
Ian Wright - Drums
and Special Guests:
William Lamoureux - Strings
Andrew McAnsh - Trumpet
Nathan Ford - Vocals
Nathan Martin & Jackson Welchner -

Background Vocals

official website:

Marty's review: Kalya Ramu's very impressive debut release takes the listener on a nostalgic journey with renditions of jazz classics like "Just You, Just Me", "Am I Blue", "Tea for Two" and "You Go To My Head" plus four original compositions penned by Kalya herself. The combination of Kalya's sweet, playful and swinging vocals with a contemporary jazz sound works well and the album not only swings, it rocks! Backed by a stellar cast of musicians that sound like they are really enjoying themselves, this is certainly a refreshing alternative to those jazz standards albums that are being churned out by some popular artists.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

A Crash Course in Jazz Appreciation...excerpt

This is an excerpt from an excellent post about the history of jazz music and its origins originally posted on the web page .


It’s the music that many men say they like, but don’t actually know anything about. Which is a shame for a whole host of reasons. For starters, jazz has had a major influence on most popular music genres in the 20th century — rock, hip-hop, Latin…the list goes on and on. Having an understanding of jazz will give a music connoisseur a deeper appreciation of whatever their favorite genre happens to be.

Second, jazz music perfectly encapsulates the American ideal of collaboration mixed with individuality, and its history is really the history of the country. Born from the music of African-American slaves, it intertwines with so many different facets of modern American life – movies, dance, art, literature, and of course, race. Thus, an understanding of jazz will provide the student of history a fascinating window into 20th century America.

Third, I think it goes unnoticed by lots of folks, but there’s definitely a masculine ethos that underlies jazz. Its emphasis on the solo and improvisation requires a performer to embrace risk, and adds an element of palatable bravado to the music. What’s more, while jazz is certainly collaborative, it’s imbued with a competitive spirit as well. Jazz musicians of the past often tried to one-up each other in virtuosity and in moving the music in brand new directions. Piano players in 1920’s New York would often muster for rousing back-and-forth “battles,” each man trotting out his best stuff during late night cutting sessions. These kinds of competitions in musical mastery continue today, even taking the popular form of the piano bar that has become so trendy in the last few years.

Finally, jazz music is simply good music. There’s a genre of jazz for every man out there. 

Read the full article here:

Monday, April 29, 2019

Composer and performer Friendly Rich re-imagining of Frank Sinatra's "Only the Lonely"

Canadian composer and performer Friendly Rich is delighted to release a unique re-imagining of Frank Sinatra's classic 1958 recording, Only the Lonely

Says Rich: "I love Only the Lonely. It's my favourite Frank record, by far. I think it has something to do with the fact that Sinatra and arranger Nelson Riddle were both dealing with some personal darkness in 1958 when the record was made, and how that shaped this beautiful music. For years, I have wanted to collaborate with arranger David French and everybody in this band, all hand-picked for their unique musical voices and understanding, both of my work, and of Frank's. I also had a strong desire to curb my usually frenetic energy as a challenge to myself to try a different creative path. What comes out is a haunting interpretation of the original album

This recording is a celebration of Riddle’s original arrangements, through the lens of David French and his carefully considered small band interpretations.Working with longtime producer Greg Dawson, this recording (like most of my recorded output) is not for everybody. But those it resonates with will appreciate the experience. Frank fans will ask WHY, and Friendly fans will ask the same. That's the point - to evolve, take supposed wrong turns, and have fun along the way. As the famous Hungo-Italian philosopher C. Smalloochi (1742) once said, one can either produce, or become produce."

official website:

Marty's review: This is one of those albums that at first you think "hmmm, what am I listening to here?" However, by about the third or fourth track you are somewhat hooked on to what Friendly Rich is doing with his own interpretation of a classic album. Sure it's out of left field a bit, but the arrangements, instrumentation and Rich's low key, growly vocals all come together in a cohesive way that is prevalent throughout the entire album. It's dark, subtle and has a slight beat generation vibe to it. Something you might experience in a smoky bar, late on a Friday night...I dare you have a listen to it!

Monday, April 15, 2019

Vancouver-based vocalist Karin Plato new release This Could Be The enjoyable delight

Just released is the newest album from Vancouver-based vocalist Karin Plato, entitled This Could Be The One. The album is a result of a decade of Plato composing and arranging music specifically for her Vancouver-based Quintet

Certainly, much can occur in someone’s life within the span of ten years and during this time Karin experienced some of life’s greatest joys while also facing profound life altering losses. These experiences are reflected in much of the music on this recording. Plato describes the songs and themes as “characters” many of us meet on life’s journey. Some are related to a feeling, or an experience, reflecting life’s joys and sorrows.

This Could Be The One was recorded in the famed Warehouse Studio in Vancouver (Bryan Adam's studio) with recording Engineer Sheldon Zaharko who was able to capture a spacious, warm, and natural "live off the floor" sound. Special guests include blues star Jim Byrnes and Rebecca Shoichet who each sing a duet with Plato, and trombonist Rod Murray who is the featured guest on two other songs.

Plato’s stellar band is Chris Gestrin (piano) James Danderfer (clarinets) Laurence Mollerup (bass) and Joe Poole (drums).

"This Could Be The One” is her eighth recording of jazz standards and originals. The recording is an audiophile delight, with all the ambiance and exquisite detail captured in a “live off the floor” session. The interplay of each instrument perfectly complements Karin’s voice as she weaves her tales of love, joy and sadness.

official website:

Marty's review: Karin Plato and her quintet have created an album that is fresh in its approach and profoundly refined in its production. Karin's heartfelt songwriting combined with her seductive vocals create a unique adventure in contemporary jazz that is bold and breathtaking. The equally talented quintet do not miss a beat and provide solid and skillful backing that is rich and sensitive. Eight original numbers plus versions of Lennon/McCartney's "I've Just Seen A Face", Hank Williams' "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" and Carmichael/Loesser's "Heart and Soul" make this release an enjoyable delight from start to finish.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Vibraphonist Michael Davidson and double bassist Dan Fortin new album Clock and brilliance

Recently released is the incredibly beautiful and creative new album from Canadian duo Michael Davidson on vibes and Dan Fortin on bass entitled Clock Radio

Vibraphonist Michael Davidson (Hobson’s Choice, Otterville) and double bassist Dan Fortin (Myriad3, Bernice) are two of Toronto’s most in demand musicians. They have been playing together for over a decade: in the experimental jazz-rock band Stop Time; on Fortin's 2015 album Brinks; and in groups lead by the likes of Tara Davidson and Allison Au. Having been hired so often as a team, it made perfect sense for the two to focus on the unique musical aesthetic they've cultivated over the years. Hence, the birth of a new duo and a new album: Clock Radio.

There is no musical setting more intimate than the duo. Each musical gesture is exposed, and without empathic listening on the part of both musicians, it cannot succeed. In the summer of 2017, Davidson traveled to Berlin to study with renowned mallet percussionist David Friedman. In the course of his two month trip, Davidson experimented with a variety of new compositional techniques, and returned to Canada with a new book of songs that he felt best suited the flexibility of the duo setting. These pieces blur the line between composition and improvisation, and draw equally from jazz, free music, and classical composition.

Clock Radio is an album, through and through: it can be listened to as one long piece, rather than as a collection of disparate songs. Melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic thematic materials recur throughout the entire narrative. The duo creates musical material to engage with feelings of nostalgia: they explore the way a narrative is influenced by gestures in the present moment. Each piece is inextricably linked with memories of past thoughts and feelings. This album is an intimate and vibrant portrait of a duo at the height of its expressive powers. The pair seamlessly weave through time and space, flowing through a lush soundscape of moods and textures. It is as if time is transformed for this brief but uplifting sojourn into a carefully crafted yet spontaneously elastic world of sound. 

official website:

Marty's review: the subtleness and surrealism of this release cannot be fully appreciated until one has played it through a few times. The sublime sounds of the vibraphone and the playful notes on the double bass weave and blend as one in a very textured, yet cohesive way that is as mesmerizing as it is seductive. Michael and Dan combine their masterful creativeness to channel energy and brilliance in a skillful and seemingly effortless production that is unique and definitive.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Debut album from trumpeter Jonathan Bauer and Quintet "Walk, Don't Run"...a plane of bliss and emotion

Upcoming release is the exciting debut album from Canadian-born, New Orleans resident, trumpeter Jonathan Bauer entitled Walk, Don't Run.  

Multi-talented trumpeter and composer Jonathan Bauer, most notably of the Grammy award-winning New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, bursts onto the scene with his highly anticipated debut album, Walk Don’t Run. An internationally recognized and touring artist, Jonathan is widely acclaimed for his dark and dynamic sound. While earning his Master’s at the University of New Orleans, Jonathan quickly became a rising talent in one of the world’s most important musical communities, earning him the opportunity to study and perform with living legends Nicholas Payton, Robert Glasper, Jeremy Davenport, Adonis Rose and Ashlin Parker among others. A versatile musician, Jonathan regularly crosses genres performing with R&B titans, such as Sheila E., Ledisi, and Eric Benét.

Walk Don’t Run celebrates the past while looking to the future; showcasing the range of musical influences, from Art Blakey to Roy Hargrove, that have shaped Jonathan’s world view. It fulfills a desire for the satisfyingly familiar, while keeping the listener enthralled by its fresh perspective. Inspired to create by the vibrant community in New Orleans, Jonathan’s compositions are about learning to slow down on life’s journey, striving to be more grateful, and paying dues to those who came before him.  

The Jonathan Bauer Project comprised of saxophonist Alexander Geddes, pianist Ryan Hanseler, bassist Alex Dyring, and drummer Gerald Watkins, Jr., showcases some of New Orleans’ hungriest young lions. Individually, the artists all stand on their own merit, with credits ranging from Ellis Marsalis to Slum Village. As a collective, the quintet builds on Jonathan’s compositions, using them as a vehicle for expression and creation in its purest form.

Born and raised in Northern Alberta, Canada, Jonathan is proud to be an ambassador for Divitt Trumpets.  

Walk, Don't Run will be officially released worldwide on Friday, April 5th, 2019. The album is available from Slammin Media and distributed worldwide by Believe Distribution.

official website: 

Marty's review: This impressive debut sees the accomplished trumpeter Jonathan Bauer and his very talented quintet come together on an album that is stylishly rich in composition and skillful in its delivery and presentation. The melodies seep into your brain and the assured and cohesive musicianship will transport the listener to a plane of bliss and emotion. From start to finish this is sheer joy and more than worthy of repeated plays.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Modern jazz trio Scolari/Cavalca/Scolar release third album Natural Impulse..focused, clever and bold


Natural Impulse is the third album release by the modern jazz trio Scolari/Cavalca/Scolari. The project comes back with a new musical journey where experimentation finds no limits in a unique blend of acoustic and electronic sounds.

Claudio Scolari: drum set 1, percussion, synth programming
Daniele Cavalca: live synths, rhodes, piano, vibraphone, bass,
drum set 2 (on Unknown Destination, Chasing Inspiration, Uptown Night Trip, Insomnia)
Simone Scolari: trumpet


official website:


Marty's review: Natural Impulse is an adventurous and unique production in that in combines contemporary jazz themes with electronic programming to create a soundscape that is instantly recognizable as modern jazz yet it takes the listener further into a realm of discovery. The multiple talents of all players involved build structures of music that may sound complex at first but actually ebb and flow together in a cohesiveness that is focused, clever and bold. It's an album that one could "get lost in" and indulge in its richness and dynamism.