Monday, April 30, 2018

Toronto-area drummer Robert Diack releases exciting and progressive debut album "Lost Villages"

The Lost Villages were a collection of nine communities and townships in Southern Ontario. The people therein were forcibly removed to make way for the St. Laurence Seaway, a 1950’s project which linked Southern Ontario to the Atlantic Ocean by a collection of waterways. The houses are submerged underwater, as the places where there once was human community there are now lakes. 

The album Lost Villages, which shares its name with the communities discussed above, was written with that inspiration of upheaval, however, the composition is grounded in and inspired by its own local geography; it is a product of the environment it was created in (largely composed in Southern Ontario, and Toronto). The writing of the album is extensively inspired by “post-rock” elements, and uses large scale repetitions and layering. These elements, when blended with those of jazz (and post-bop) synthesize into wholly new formulation of musical style. Citing influences from Godspeed You Black Emperor, Aaron Parks, and Philip Glass, the material is a fluid and flexible musical exploration.  

Using acoustic and electronic instruments, this recording pushes boundaries in the jazz anthology, building off tradition to create something new. This recording has embraced post-production editing, allowing for techniques and influences from different genres to proliferate into the contemporary jazz moment. Some tracks feature editing, creating sounds which are impossible otherwise, and some tracks feature no editing at all.  The thematic material that this recording draws on is that of loss and submersion, set in the capitalist machine of society, and mirrors the namesake event. 

Featuring Patrick O’Reilly on Guitars, Jacob Thompson on Piano, Brandon Davis on Bass, and Robert Diack on drums, this recording showcases the next wave of talent in Canada.  

Robert Diack is a drummer and composer from Toronto, Canada. He has studied music extensively in Toronto, with over fifteen years of learning in various institutions across the city. Robert studied jazz at the University of Toronto and is a student of Nick Fraser. Composing for many years, he draws his influence from jazz and post-bop, to folk and traditional, to post-rock and pop music. As a drummer Robert has recorded and played over Canada, especially in Toronto. Recordings include two indie pop albums with Reenieband, large-scale informal releases with the musical collective Luscar, and an upcoming folk-rock album by David Madras. 

Marty's review: this album takes elements from jazz, world music, progressive rock and combines them to create a themed "soundtrack" to a movie that plays in your own imagination. With superb musicianship and creative editing effects, this will take the listener to a place where the music is part of the scenery and tells a story in several chapters of music-scapes.

official website:

Monday, April 23, 2018

Jazz guitarist Chris Platt new album release Sky Glow...the jazz trio in its most exquisite form

The album Sky Glow is a culmination of the various artistic influences that inspire and drive Toronto-based jazz guitarist Chris Platt. It features a collection of original compositions by Platt inspired by the incredible works of Billy Strayhorn and Guinga, amongst many others. Sky Glow is a continuation of the long standing tradition of the guitar trio. A major influence on Platt’s playing comes from groups that put the guitar at the forefront, where the responsibility of both the melodies and harmonies land on the guitarist to creatively navigate. Echoes of trios led by Ed Bickert, Lenny Breau, and Jimi Hendrix can be heard here, with all three instruments collaborating to create more than the sum of its parts. 

Stream and download on BANDCAMP

A large part of the sound of the album was the guitars Chris played. For the majority of the project, the warm, woody sound of the traditional ‘jazz-box’ (or archtop) guitar gives a nod to tradition, while dawning a new guitar sound that brings clarity and freshness. The other guitar used on “Platter” and as a rhythm track on “No More” was a Tele-style guitar by the same luthier. The Tele bring a familiar sound that has permeated genres since the early 1950’s. With these sounds, Sky Glow brings a new feel to a genre steeped in tradition. 

official website:

Marty's review; Chris Platt takes the jazz guitar back to its natural form, with exquisite, flowing lines and a subtlety in his playing that is almost sublime. Combine this with the added bonus of his equally talented accompaniment of Phill Albert on bass and Robin Claxton on drums and you have an album that is pure, natural and even "organic" in its production with a nod to the traditional style of the jazz trio.

Friday, April 13, 2018

The Heavyweights Brass Band album release "This City" inspired by the New Orleans brass band tradition

"This City won't wash away. This City won't ever drown". The words of outlaw poet Steve Earle echo through the Heavyweights Brass Band's newest release, This City

In their highly anticipated third full-length album, The Heavyweights have taken a pilgrimage to the city that has inspired them since their inception. Recorded in New Orleans, the cradle of jazz ,with a second-line of special guests from groups such as Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Trumpet Mafia and many more, the Heavyweights bring a fresh, energetic take on a deeply grounded tradition.

Not forgetting their roots in Toronto, where they cut their teeth in the most diverse and multicultural music scene on the planet, the album also furthers their hometown collaborations with the 10-time Grammy contributor Kevin Breit on guitar and Canada's reigning queen of jazz, blues and gospel Jackie Richardson on vocals. This City paints a beautiful duality between two cities that have informed their music and is without a doubt the strongest release from Canada's reigning champions of feel-good horn music.

Whether receiving props from The Roots on Twitter, jamming with puppets on CBC Kids' Mamma Yamma, recording with the legendary Giovanni Hidalgo or being championed by influential DJ and tastemaker Gilles Peterson, The Heavyweights Brass Band pack a one-two punch of crossover appeal and respect from music's elite.

Inspired by the New Orleans brass band tradition, the Heavyweights' original stance keeps one foot firmly rooted in the rich legacy of jazz, while one foot steps forward into the future. Like the music's originators, the Heavyweights are unafraid to incorporate influences from disparate areas of the musical spectrum, from pop hits of the day to original compositions, from R&B and funk throwbacks to the infectious rhythms of Latin America, all woven together with the thread of adventuresome sophistication.

The uppercut ascent of the Heavyweights' arc has been the result of relentless dedication. Touring across Canada and sharing the stage with such influential groups as The Roots, Trombone Shorty, Galactic and Hypnotic Brass Ensemble has helped build the group a loyal following.

The Heavyweights Brass Band’s newest recording, This City, is a celebration of New Orleans horn styles of past, and present and brings the songs into tomorrow.  With elements of gospel, traditional New Orleans jazz and brass lines recalling the Dirty Dozen(Roger Lewis guests,) and Rebirth; The HW.B.B. crafts tunes that resonate in your bones, booty and soul! Murf Reeves - WWOZ Radio

Marty's review: The Heavyweight Brass Band pay homage to New Orleans jazz with this release and they do it in style with panache. Sounding like more than the 5-piece outfit they are, with a few guest musicians lending a hand, the album combines traditional jazz with a contemporary style that is a joy to listen to without being extensive and overbearing. Each member contributes an equal share of their instrument throughout the album which emphasises the combined talents of the outfit.

official website:

Monday, April 2, 2018

Toronto-based jazz quartet Peripheral Vision's new album release More Songs About Error And Shame

JUNO-nominated Canadian jazz quartet, Peripheral Vision recently launched their fourth album, More Songs About Error And Shame.

"A rules-breaking quartet made up of some of the best modern players around. Fast-paced, intricate, and inventive" (CBC), Peripheral Vision extends their no-holds-barred performance aesthetic into the production concept on this album. Once again, they have teamed up with mad-scientist engineer, Jean Martin (Barnyard Records) to orchestrate a bigger sound for the record, adding layers of overdubs and studio treatments to the live-off-the-floor recordings.  Peripheral Vision has always been a live show band, and the seven new Herring and Scott originals on More Songs About Error And Shame show what can be gained from years of touring, including three recent tours throughout Europe as well as many trips across Canada. 

Co-leaders Michael Herring (bass) and Don Scott (guitar) delve into their own neurotic psyches, finding inspiration not only in music, but also in art, literature and stand-up comedy.  The album title is a reference to the iconic album by famously neurotic band, Talking Heads, and this cross genre nod is indicative of how they like to mix genres and themes, blending classic and modern jazz, the rock music of their youth, and non-musical influences such as the Catalonian artist Miró, and British comedian Stewart Lee.

This is a working band with a long-time rapport - Herring and Scott have been joined by drummer Nick Fraser and tenor saxophonist Trevor Hogg since the band's inception in 2008.  Peripheral Vision is fueled by this long-time musical friendship, bringing years of tour van talks about music and life to the stage and studio, and this dynamic group interaction creates the provocative sound of More Songs About Error And Shame.

Peripheral Vision is:
Trevor Hogg – tenor saxophone
Don Scott – guitar
Michael Herring – bass

Nick Fraser – drums

Marty's review: On this their fourth album release, the combined talents of Peripheral Vision take us on a musical journey of contemporary jazz with classical influences. Each track is a blending of multiple elements that form to create a colourful canvas of rich, textured layers with a sense of humour and neuroticism in the titles. The personalities of each member come through in the compositions with their unique style of musicianship and delivery, making this release a top-shelf item that is easy to navigate through.