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:

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:

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:

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:

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 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:

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:

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. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

In demand jazz drummer Ethan Ardelli debut album "The Island of Form"...textured landscapes

Sydney, Nova Scotia born/Toronto based drummer Ethan Ardelli has been one of Canada's most in demand jazz musicians for more than a decade. The Island of Form - his hotly anticipated debut album - features Chris Donnelly, Luis Deniz, and Devon Henderson, and is a showcase for Ardelli's highly developed compositional skills and drumming prowess.

"The Island of Form" is a collage by artist Michael Poulton. It was given to me by my cousin Sharon and her partner Christine as a house warming gift. There are a number of overt as well as subtle symbols in the collage that connected with me.  This collage - an assemblage of different forms that combine to create a new whole - aligns perfectly with my vision for my album. I'm inspired by many disparate things, and I wanted to take elements from each of these different creative worlds and bring them together in a new form."

Always a cultural omnivore, Ardelli has always sought out inspiration in a wide variety of places: from foreign and art films to classical composition and music from around the world - in particular the music of Cuba

Other songs on the album reflect the influences of Richard Wagner and Charles Wuorinen ("Accretion" and "The Serpentine Path"); Bela Bartok ("Dunraven"); the great Toronto pianist and teacher Frank Falco ("Shangri-La Pearl", a beautiful dedication to Ardelli's wife Jessica.) 

The album was recorded at Sear Sound in New York City by James Farber, the legendary engineer behind many touchstone jazz recordings that rank among Ardelli's favorites, including works by Michael Brecker, Joe Lovano, Brad Mehldau, Paul Motian. It was mastered by acclaimed engineer Greg Calbi, a jazz scene stalwart who also worked with John Lennon. 


Marty's review: the diverse and exceptional talents of Ethan Ardelli and his unified musical partners come together on this adventurous and visionary release that is ethereal and sophisticated in its deliverance.  Combining elements of jazz-fusion, classical and world music, each track creates a story in itself that takes the listener to levels of sonic ambiance, something like a magic carpet ride over fields of stunning and textured landscapes.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Jazz saxophonist Troy Roberts and Nu-Jive new album release "Perspective"...a creative journey

Troy Roberts’ latest release Nu-Jive Perspective is the convening of five soulful beings who take the listener on a creative journey through the architecture of Troy’s original compositions. The music is an eclectic, yet head-bopping concoction of Soul, Funk, R&B and Gospel music, all musically glued together by each member’s deep sense of Jazz etiquette. This particular lineup tours as Roberts’ ‘NU-JIVE’ band – an outfit that has captured the attention of many of the jazz luminaries he now works with, and although this is his 8th record as a leader, it is his 3rd album with this configuration of five best friends from around the globe.

Hailing from the remote location of Perth, West Australia, saxophonist Troy Roberts has received numerous accolades including 3 Down Beat Jazz Soloist Awards, 2 Grammy Nominations, and was the only Australian semi-finalist in the 2008 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition. Graduating with a Bachelor of Music at the young age of 19, he has performed around Europe and the US extensively with artists such as James Morrison, Aretha Franklin, Van Morrison, Christian McBride, Sammy Figueroa, Dave Douglas, Orrin Evans and Kurt Elling to name a few, and also completed a Masters Degree at The University of Miami. In 2012, he shared the stage in an international septet comprised of jazz giants Wayne Shorter, Richard Bona, Vinnie Colaiuta and Zakir Hussein for Herbie Hancock’s launch of International Jazz Day at The UN, NYC.

Troy Roberts ‘Nu-Jive Perspective’
official website:

Friday, November 9, 2018

The Marie Goudy 12tet stunning debut release The Bitter Suite...introspective and timeless

Toronto trumpeter, singer and composer Marie Goudy’s debut album The Bitter Suite is an ambitious and beautiful act of storytelling – a vivid depiction of young love as reflected in the distinct character of each of the year’s four seasons. This haunting, lyrical song cycle features her lifelong friend, vocalist Jocelyn Barth, and 10 of Toronto’s most exciting young instrumentalists.

In four movements, the lyrics express the excitement of new summer love; the warmth and comfort of a new partnership in autumn; the distinctive chill that only heartbreak in winter can bring; and the wistfulness of spring, when new growth brings a reminder of past loves now lost.

The Bitter Suite is an exciting addition to Canada’s large jazz ensemble tradition. Producer John MacLeod – one of Canada’s best known big band leaders and trumpeters – helps connect it to that storied history. In addition to jazz influences, The Bitter Suite is also heavily informed by Mariachi music, a style in which Marie has worked for years - it features pieces written in the Son Jailciense and Huapango styles. Marie seamlessly integrates these sounds into her music: she has created an incredible new fusion of jazz and Mariachi that brings to mind both Kenny Wheeler’s gorgeous Music for Large Ensemble and of Miles Davis’s texturally innovative Sketches of Spain.

Closing the album is ‘Remember The Days’, a evocation to Marie and Jocelyn’s time growing up together. As an album, The Bitter Suite is ultimately a tribute to Marie and Jocelyn’s musical and personal relationship. It is a poignant and heartfelt record, sure to please all curious ears.

Listen and download on Bandcamp:

official website:

A native of Toronto, trumpet player/vocalist Marie Goudy started her professional career at the age of sixteen. By the age of nineteen, she had already played with many notable musicians including Benny Golson, Cleo Laine and Maria Schneider. Since then she has performed with Michael Buble, Donny McCaslin, and many others.

She graduated from the University of Toronto's Masters in Jazz Performance program in 2017. She has made her mark on the Toronto music scene playing jazz, funk, mariachi, folk and Latin music, and was a featured soloist in the 2018 SOCAN Awards. Marie has played on three JUNO-nominated albums with folk-funk singer/songwriter Alysha Brilla and toured to France, Chile, Yellowknife, and Singapore with that group.

Marty's review: this conceptual and cohesive release takes contemporary jazz to another level by harnessing the distinctive sounds of Mariachi with elements of bop to create a progressive symphony that is visionary and textured. The added bonus of vocalist Jocelyn Barth is an extra layer that is both sensitive and unique and makes the recording introspective and timeless.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Toronto-based pianist Jeremy Ledbetter new release "Got A Light?..stylish and sculptural

The Jeremy Ledbetter Trio’s debut album is a controlled explosion of big musical ideas, stylistic variety, vivid colours and compelling musical storytelling. This new project features three Canadian virtuosos -- pianist and band-leader Jeremy Ledbetter, drummer Larnell Lewis of Snarky Puppy fame, and bassist Rich Brown (Steve Coleman, Dapp Theory) -- at the top of their game. 

Ledbetter has made a fine career so far out of traveling to remote corners of the globe from Venezuela to Myanmar in search of musical inspirations. As the leader of acclaimed Caribbean jazz ensemble CaneFire and calypso legend David Rudder’s producer and musical director, Ledbetter is used to working with large bands and more rigorous definition. So it was a welcome change of pace not to have to leave his home city to create his first jazz trio record. 

Working with killers like Larnell and Rich, you don’t have to play it safe,” says Ledbetter. “They inspired me to really work without a net, and let my own compositional personality shine through. Whereas most of my music so far has been rooted in ideas inspired by traditional music, this album is about painting my own pictures and creating a cinematic kind of atmosphere. It's a contemporary jazz album that's telling stories I hope anyone would be able to understand and relate to. This record is the first truly original representation of my own musical soul, and that’s a great feeling.

Eight of the songs are Ledbetter’s original compositions, plus a cover of “Gift Shop” by The Tragically Hip as a tribute to the great Gord Downie, recorded a week after his passing. Venezuelan world-jazz diva Eliana Cuevas makes a guest appearance on "Her New Wings", and the exquisite "Suspirito" features a duet between Ledbetter's piano and Reimundo Sosa on Afro-Cuban batá drums. 

official website:

Marty's review: the unified virtuosity of the JLT comes through on this release as they explore the boundaries of exhilarating and expansive jazz over nine masterful compositions. Their combined textured musicianship elevates their unique talents, creating an all-round togetherness that combines several genres of jazz from fusion to classic to Latin American. The result is a layered and finely-calibrated collaboration that is stylish and sculptural.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Drummer/Composer ERNESTO CERVINI and his band Turboprop release "Abundance"..gratitude expressed

Drummer/Composer ERNESTO CERVINI and his band Turboprop express their gratitude with their new release, Abundance.

I’m grateful for the abundance of good that there is in the world and I feel privileged to experience it every day.” These words, from the liner notes of Ernesto Cervini’s new Turboprop album, Abundance, describe the feeling and purpose behind the Canadian drummer’s incredible new release. Following the critical and popular success of their previous two albums, Abundance will further 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 and Flute (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). Cervini and Turboprop released Rev in the fall of 2017, and the album received rave reviews across the globe, including a 2018 JUNO nomination for Jazz Album of the Year (Group) and a 4-star review in Downbeat Magazine. 

On Abundance, gratitude is on full display, as Cervini again features all of his band members as instrumentalists, featured soloists and composer/arrangers in this gorgeous collection of 8 songs. 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.Abundance cleverly mixes three great (and lesser known) standards with original material written by the band, including 2 songs by Cervini himself. This includes an incredible re-imagining of Geoff Keezer's solo piano rendition of My Shining Hour, originally recorded on his 1998 release, Turn Up The Quiet. There’s also a creative and playful arrangement of Tadd Dameron’s Tadd’s Delight and a lush trombone
feature on Smile by Charlie Chaplin.

Cervini continues to feature the compositional talents of his bandmates, including original pieces by three of them; The Queen by Tara Davidson, Abundance Overture by Dan Loomis and The Ten Thousand Things by Adrean Farrugia. Lastly, the album features two originals by Cervini. Gramps is a gorgeous ballad which features Tara Davidson on the Alto Saxophone and is dedicated to Cervini’s late grandfather, Gerow Van Wart. Song For Cito is a triumphant romp written for Cito Gaston, the great Toronto Blue Jays manager who lead the team to back-to-back World Series Championships in the early 1990’s.

available here:
official website:

Marty's review: With a very apt title,Turboprop's latest release is a sheer delight for lovers of pure and classic jazz. Once again, Ernesto Cervini has gathered a superb collection of musicians who collaborate in a skillful and effortless style that accentuates their multi-talents and gifts to the listener an emotionally-rich experience. No sign of any egos here as each member's contribution is not only professional but rewarding and satisfying. An entertaining and flawless production that will reverberate with each listen.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Canadian jazz icon and octogenarian Al Muirhead new release Undertones...pure jazz from a true legend

2016 JUNO-nominated trumpeter Al Muirhead is excited to present his most intriguing project to date; Undertones. Recorded in mid February 2018, the album features Muirhead on the rare bass trumpet with his new Canadian Quintet. The album highlights musicians he has admired over the years, including Canadian jazz heavyweights Kelly Jefferson (sax), Reg Schwager (guitar), Neil Swainson (bass) and Ted Warren (drums).

With a 70-year career in music, Muirhead is a true expert at what he does – and every time he steps on stage or into the studio, something special comes out of his horn. He is one of the few masters in the world on the rare bass trumpet, and Undertones showcases its mellow and deep tones. 

The album is a collection of standards that he and his quintet selected in studio, along with two tribute pieces composed by Muirhead. “A Tune For Cal” is a post-bop celebration for his late and eldest brother, a magnificent musician and one of Canada’s finest copyists. “Take It To The Bank Tom” pays homage to his life-long friend and collaborator, Tommy Banks, who passed away weeks before this recording.

1. A Tune For Cal 4:11 (Al Muirhead)
2.Rose Room 6:20 (Art Hickman & Harry Williams)
3.‘Deed I do 5:11 (Fred Rose & Walter Hirsch)
4.Tenderly 5:49 (Walter Gross & Jack Lawrence)
5. You’re My Everything 4:25 (Al Muirhead)
6.Take it to the Banks Tom! 5:18 (Al Muirhead)
7.Charade 5:05 (Henry Mancini & Johnny Mercer)
8.S’posin’ 4:03 (Paul Denniker & Andy Razaf)
9. I Don’t Stand a Ghost of a Chance with You 4:28(Bing Crosby, Ned Washington & Victor Young)

10. Four Brothers 3:12 (Jimmy Giuffre)

Al Muirhead has long been an iconic figure on the Canadian jazz scene. And the trumpeter, composer, arranger, sideman and recording artist has been making listeners take notice for longer than jazz fans might realize. Born in Regina in 1935, he was playing in the Regina Symphony and dance bands by age 12. Muirhead began to take notice of greats such as Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, and Louis Armstrong. While Muirhead’s playing is infused with the indelible influence of the jazz giants, his flowing, melodic sound is his own — and has become influential in its own right. He unleashes melodies that are incredibly inventive and utterly timeless.

Muirhead has worked with legends such as Diana Krall, Paul Anka, Rosemary Clooney, Frank Mills and Dizzy Gillespie. 

official website: /

Marty's review: hearing jazz in its purest form is a sheer delight, and the senses are awakened and indulged on this new release from trumpeter Al Muirhead and his Canadian Quintet. The years have not aged this master and the musicianship is in top flight with textured and rhythmic compositions that soar with every note. Sophistication and style abound on this release which makes it an endlessly-playable album to wrap your ears around.  

Friday, October 12, 2018

Rob Clutton and The Cluttertones second album release "Leeways"..eclecticism and uniqueness

Leeways is the sixth album of compositions by Rob Clutton, and the second album by The Cluttertones. “The Cluttertones trade in a sort of weirdness and beauty you’re very unlikely to have encountered before” (Musicworks). This album features special guest pianist, Lee Pui Ming: “classical precision on the keyboard with a seemingly effortless flow of improvisational ideas” (Exclaim). The new CD stays true to the Cluttertones aesthetic, with unique instrumentals and songs, including features for each of the band members. The 25-minute “Leeways” was composed for a collaboration with Lee Pui Ming at the Guelph Jazz Festival in 2017. The recording took place at Canterbury Music studio in Toronto.

Led by bassist and composer Rob Clutton, The Cluttertones features mind-melting trumpet mastery of Lina Allemano, magical synth wizardry and voice of Ryan Driver and the intrepid joyful sophisticated banjo and guitar of Tim Posgate. All of these musicians are band leaders and composers in the Toronto creative music scene that has recently been described by Greg Buium as “moving into its own powerful, signature moment” (Point of Departure). The group has been together since 2007, and released their first CD/LP, Ordinary Joy, in 2015. 

Stuart Broomer writes, “Clutton composes pieces that begin with the improbable and sometimes approach the uncanny, strange states of musical mind in which the heterodox elements seem to tune calmly to a new standard” (Whole Note).

official website:

Marty's review: this is an album that takes a bit of "getting into" but is also satisfying as a conceptual creation. It has an eclecticism and uniqueness which is delivered by the visionary talents of composer Rob Clutton and his collective of enigmatic musicians The Cluttertones. It has been described as "otherworldly chamber music" and the terms avant-garde, ambient, experimental, progressive and sublime may also apply. Certainly one for "the listener" who will appreciate the intricacies and development of each piece as it unfolds in sonic waves that transport the sounds to stratospheric places unknown.

Monday, October 1, 2018

University of Toronto 12TET album release When Day Slips Into Night..young musicians with a professional sound

When Day Slips Into Night is a compilation of songs, original compositions and jazz standards reflecting the musical aesthetic and artistic sensibility of the University of Toronto jazz students and faculty. The album focuses on material written exclusively for this band by students of the program in the composition/arranging stream, many of whom are also current members of the 12TET. The 12TET band leader Terry Promane - a widely celebrated arranger and composer himself - contributes 2 additional arrangements.

Drawing from a deep pool of talent, the U of T 12TET is comprised of current undergraduate and graduate students in Jazz performance.  Although quality orchestration and arranging are paramount,  improvisation and jazz soloing remains a high priority. 

Smaller than a traditional big band, the 12-piece format allows more freedom for soloists while still offering a wide range of ensemble textures. The 12tet takes cues from classic bands like Art Pepper Plus 11 and The Rob McConnell Tentet, but also steps further by embracing more contemporary sounds and approaches.

Members are:
Terry Promane - Band Leader
Brooklyn Bohach - Vocals
Michael Henley, Kaelin Murphy - Trumpets
Karl Silveira - Trombone
Brandon Tse - Alto Saxophone
John Nicholson, Kieran Murphy - Tenor Saxophones
Russell Matthews - Baritone Saxophone
Noah Franche-Nolan - Piano
Julius Clegg - Guitar
Evan Gratham - Acoustic and Electric Bass
Keagan Eskritt - Drums

official website:

Marty's review: The combined talents of this 12tet have produced a textured and finely-calibrated collection of compositions that take their groundings from classic jazz and add a contemporary and sophisticated edge to the overall sound. The result is a flawless and unified body of work where each instrument is equally represented and the player is allowed to highlight their talent in a  masterful and passionate sense. This small "big band" soars in its delivery and musical brilliance.

Friday, September 14, 2018

The Tiki Collective release debut album "Muse" featuring 15 incredible guest vocalists in jazz-exotica style

The Tiki Collective are a large ensemble of friends who perform jazz, pop and exotica music. The collective was conceived by Toronto jazz producer/personality, Jaymz Bee and guitarist/music director, Eric St-Laurent in 2016.  Bee has been a fan of exotica and lounge music for years and felt the time was right to present a nuevo-retro sounding ensemble that included elements of surf, jazz and pop with a nod to Tiki culture. 

The instrumentalists bring decades of experience and share a love of world music while the singers bring a fresh approach to a diverse array of material. This ensemble steers clear of the type of cultural appropriation that appeared in exotica recordings of the fifties, relative to Polynesian and South Pacific island cultures. Instead, the collective  focuses on using similar instrumentation to those of early exotica records, with thoughtful arrangements that blend Eastern, Western, and local influences.

The name Muse carries with it two meanings: first, a way of honouring a person who acts as a source of artistic inspiration; secondly - as a verb, since they mused over how to create a fresh new sound. The album is a blend of exotica, jazz, and pop music that will have you dreaming of beaches, palm trees, and wondrous sunsets. The melodies are timeless, while the production is modern and seamless. 

The recording features new arrangements of popular songs including “Don’t Fear The Reaper” and “The Sweetest Taboo,” as well as exquisite classic rarities such as “All Too Soon” and “Chelsea Bridge.” Also featured are original compositions “Dreaming” and “The Wanderer”. 

official website:

Marty's reviewTo put this in layman's terms, this album is soooo COOL! Dreamy exotica with a contemporary feel that reinvents the style in a way that creates an exquisite and stylish sound that swirls and soars. The re-interpretations of past classics like "Don't Fear the Reaper", "I'll Be Seeing You" and "Sweetest Taboo" are delivered in a unique and sensitive way that breathes new life into them.  With seductive vocals, lush and layered instrumentation and a production quality that is sublime and polished, this release is destined to create a new genre in jazz-exotica.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Jazz artist Ilya Serov upcoming album release "Back In Time" ..a homage to the Big Band era

Young jazz artist, Ilya Serov, is a classically trained Russian trumpet player who fell in love with jazz as a teenager.  He came to the US about 10 years ago to pursue a career as a jazz musician.   Back in Time, his upcoming album (out in September), is an homage to the Big Band era and features collaborations with Roger Kellaway, Poncho Sanchez and Eric Marienthal.

Russian-born Ilya Serov is a young jazz musician with an old soul.  Classically trained at the prestigious St. Petersburg Conservatory, trumpet player and vocalist Serov decided to follow his love of jazz, cultivated as a teenager in the Russian city of Saratov, by pursuing his dreams in the U.S. He now is building a following among fans and seasoned players alike as one of the scene’s budding new talents.  

Serov’s new album, Back in Time, to be released later this year, is an homage to the Big Band era and features classic tunes that showcase both his musical chops and vocal interpretive skills.   The first single, “Swing 42,” featuring a duet with Grammy-winner and Oscar-nominated pianist Roger Kellaway, is a new take on the Django Reinhardt tune.  “Tangerine,” the second single, is a collaboration with Grammy-winning percussionist Poncho Sanchez.  “C’est Si Bon,” the third single, is a re-imagining of the French popular song and has background vocals by The Swing Kittens and piano work by Kellaway.  “Old Devil Moon” is highlighted by a solo from Eric Marienthal, Grammy-winning sax player.  The album is loaded with other classics that Serov has lovingly interpreted.  

After Back in Time, Ilya plans a smooth jazz recording with self-penned material (and featuring the Jazz-o-horn).  His goal is to explore all forms of jazz, including smooth jazz.  

I love all forms of this music,” he said. By going Back in Time, Ilya Serov is moving jazz forward.

Visit for more information.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Toronto-based trumpeter John Pittman and his new quintet album Kinship. ..mesmerizing and flawless

Kinship is the debut solo release from Toronto-based trumpet player John Pittman, who is best known for his work with the critically acclaimed Heavyweights Brass Band. Pittman shines here in the roles of performer, composer, band leader and producer. Kinship features singable tunes that linger in the ear and improvisations that excite the imagination. The music stretches from swing to the avant-garde with a sense of joy and playfulness. 

Pittman assembled a stellar cast of musicians who are giants individually, and their collective studio chemistry is palpable on this release. Shirantha Beddage, Jeff McLeod, Mikes Downes and Curtis Nowosad are all well-known to the Canadian jazz scene as band leaders and Juno award winners or nominees. Their musicianship, creativity, and virtuosity is on full display here without overshadowing the need for a cohesive group dynamic. 

Kinship is a uniquely personal statement from John Pittman that reflects on family, teachers, mentors and friends. The music presented on this album evokes the nature of these relationships from the playful “Homio-stasis” or the challenging “Where Is The Love?” to the wistful “Reminiscing” or comforting "Home”. 

official website:

Marty's review: Kinship is an apt title for this new release by trumpeter John Pittman. Not only does it showcase his own masterful and accomplished talents, but he is joined by an outstanding array of musicians that complement each other and build a cohesive structure around each composition to allow the music to flow almost effortlessly with room to explore and expand. A finely-calibrated effort that is both mesmerizing and flawless in its delivery.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Guitarist Chris Monson releases debut album Seldom in the Well..contemporary sensibilities with a 60’s vibe

Seldom in the Well is Toronto-based guitarist Chris Monson’s debut album – a sometimes meditative, sometimes explosive exploration of disparate jazz genres.  Monson’s nine original compositions and arrangements seamlessly meld an iconic 60’s vibe with decisively contemporary sensibilities, resulting in a strikingly fresh and unique album. The material weaves between many touchstones – at times reminiscent of Chick Corea and Allan Holdsworth, and other times bringing to mind a sense of space and depth heard in classical composers such as Bernard Herrmann, all of which is underpinned by Monson’s early roots as a prog-rock guitarist. 

Stream and download the album on BANDCAMP here

In addition to Monson on guitar, the ensemble is comprised of Juno Award winners and other veteran Toronto players: Kelly Jefferson on tenor saxophone, Kevin Turcotte on trumpet/flugelhorn, Anthony Panacci on piano, Artie Roth on acoustic bass, and Tom Rasky on drums. 

Marty's review: Chris Monson's debut release is nothing short of outstanding. Bringing his own unique and accomplished talents to the fore as well as assembling a stellar cast ensemble, the musical creations are a blend of contemporary and traditional jazz with a nod to the 60's and 70's fusion masters. Each track plays out beautifully with all involved working together in a seamless way that allows their creativity and abilities to blend as one cohesive unit. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

NYC-based trumpeter Aaron Shragge and guitar master Ben Monder new release This World of Dew

This World of Dew is Aaron Shragge’s third release with Ben Monder.  The duo project, an exploratory, meditative collaboration, has been praised as “...lyrical and heartwarming...” (Jazz Times) and “thoroughly modern with a definitive sound...” (The Birmingham Times). 

The album features guitarist Ben Monder’s otherworldly harmonic virtuosity in expansive sonic textures that highlight Shragge’s subtle and distinctive lyrical voice on the shakuhachi and dragon mouth trumpet (a custom microtonal instrument). 

**Stream and download the album on Bandcamp HERE

official website:

The fourteen new compositions by Shragge are inspired by the writings of both ancient and modern poets: Kobayashi Issa, Matsuo Bashō, Li Po, Nishiyama Sōin and Charles Bukowski.   Tracks 2-7 make up “This World of Dew Suite” which follows the emotional arc of poet Kobahashi Issa’s grief as he mourned the loss of his young daughter. What ties all these compositions together is how they explore themes of loneliness, perseverance and impermanence. 

Instruments: Ancient and Modern
-Aaron Shragge’s plays a custom trumpet that has both valves and a seven position slide. The “Dragon Mouth Trumpet” is based in part off the Holton Firebird that was custom made for Maynard Ferguson.

- Aaron Shragge also doubles on the Shakuhachi, an ancient Japanese Bamboo flute. It is widely known for its distinctive husky/breathy sound and its ability to play microtones.

-Both Aaron Shragge and Ben Monder use Strymon reverb pedals (Blue Sky and Big Sky) taking advantage of their unique “shimmer effect” to create richly detailed sonic textures.

-Aaron Shragge and Ben Monder have been collaborating since 2009.

Marty's review: The combination of the talents of these two musicians and the unique and ancient instruments used makes this release a blend of meditative and sublime music that creates color, atmospherics and mood differentiations. Hearing it once or twice won't be sufficient. There is much to explore and discover with every listen as the compositions deal with various subject matters and these are expressed through each note and piece of musical thread that weaves it all together. An exceptional release that is unlike most forms of jazz you might have heard before.