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.
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