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Sunday, January 20, 2019

Toronto based jazz duo Blue Standard debut release “A Good Thing”..stylish and accomplished


A Good Thing” is the debut release from new Toronto based jazz duo Blue Standard, featuring singer/actor Raoul Bhaneja on vocals and Jesse Whiteley from the first family of Canadian roots music on piano. Drawn together by a love of some familiar and not so familiar standards, they recorded songs inspired by takes from vocalists they admire such as Joe Williams, Nat King Cole, Chet Baker and Jimmy Scott to name a few. An intimate, unadorned and raw take on the classics.




The album was recorded live off the floor with no overdubs at Canterbury Music Company in Toronto, Canada. Engineered, mixed and mastered by James Paul, assistant engineer Jeremy Darby. Produced by Blue Standard and James Paul.



Marty's review:  Blue Standard's selection and delivery of 12 standard and timeless vocal classics is nothing short of sophisticated, polished and highly entertaining. The emotionally-rich voice of Raoul Bhaneja combined with the masterful piano licks of Jesse Whitely come across as tender yet effervescent and more than do justice to these tunes that will be familiar to most jazz vocal aficionados. A stylish and accomplished collaboration that is solid and finely-calibrated.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Modern jazz release from The Johnny Griffith Quintet, featuring Jeremy Pelt - The Lion, Camel and Child


Recently released is the modern jazz album from Toronto saxophonist Johnny Griffith and his quintet, entitled The Lion, Camel and Child.  It's the second release from  Griffith’s all-star quintet - a band made up of of four of Toronto’s leading jazz lights, along with the legendary New York trumpeter Jeremy Pelt


For this release, Griffith drew inspiration from the writings of Friedrich Nietzsche - specifically his book Three Metamorphoses. As Griffith explains, “Metamorphoses is concerned with what propels each new phase of human growth, so it seemed fitting to frame this as a suite – each track individual unto itself, yet when listened to as a whole representing the arc of the personal struggle to know more and be more.” 

Central to the album is the suite that illustrates these phases and the qualities that define them: The Lion, virtuous and rebellious; The Camel, courageous and dutiful; and The Child, playful and free of spirit. 


Johnny Griffith is a multi-Juno Award nominated saxophonist, composer and producer who has played and recorded with numerous artists including Don Thompson, Hawksley Workman, Jeremy Pelt, Charlie Hunter, The Wailers, Alex Dean, Laila Biali, Al Henderson Quintet, Brandi Disterheft and Terra Hazelton to name a few, and is a member of the popular Canadian funk/hip hop group, the Pocket Dwellers. He has toured extensively across Canada, the United States, and Europe performing at all the major Canadian music festivals as well as several international venues including the Montreaux Jazz Festival in Switzerland.  

official website: http://www.johnnygriffith.com


Marty's review: this highly original and conceptual production is unique and visionary with each player bringing their musical talents to the fore. Johnny Griffith's saxophone licks are top-flight and soaring as they weave in with the exceptional quintet of Jeremy Pelt (trumpet), Adrean Farrugia (piano), Jon Maharaj (Bass) and Ethan Ardelli (drums). Each track is an individual, exhilarating composition blending in with the album as a whole by creating a progressive and symphonic style of modern jazz that is intoxicating and invigorating. An accomplished effort that will delight the listener and expand the visions within. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Holiday album release from Toronto vocalist Sam Broverman "A Jewish Boy's Christmas" ..fun and witty


For almost ten years now, Winnipeg born, Toronto based singer Sam Broverman has been presenting his cabaret show A Jewish Boy’s Christmas every holiday season. Initially inspired by the fact that many of the best known Christmas songs were written by Jewish songwriters, the show has evolved into a well loved holiday revue driven by Sam’s love for comedy and novelty song. After almost ten years - and countless requests - it was time to record an album.

For A Jewish Boy’s Christmas - his fourth full length album - Sam enlisted the help of several of Toronto’s best musicians, including his working band with Peter Hill and Jordan O’Connor.  Featured as a guest soloist is Broverman’s regular special guest, Whitney Ross-Barris, the Toronto jazz and theatre scene stalwart whose wit is widely known. Ken Whitely - the multiple award-winning Canadian music legend- was invited on board to produce the whole affair after his involvement in the inaugural show. 



Having celebrated the work of great songwriters like Johnny Mercer and Jimmy Van Heusen on his previous recordings, it was time for Sam to return to one of his first loves: parody songwriting.  In addition to working as a singer, Sam is also a professor of actuarial mathematics at the University of Toronto - he put himself through school singing, and has delivered his book of math based parody songs at academic conferences for years.  A Jewish Boy’s Christmas is a hilarious and irreverent take on the holiday season.

Sam Broverman is a Winnipeg-born, Toronto based jazz singer and songwriter. He has performed in venues across Canada, the US, Europe  and Asia. He began his professional singing career in Winnipeg as a teenager, appearing in theatre and cabaret productions and also on the nationally televised shows "Hymn Sing" and "The Doug Crosley Show". Sam regularly performs in the Summer Entertainment Series at Winnipeg’s Lyric Theatre.

official web page: http://www.brovermusic.com




Marty's review: whether you celebrate Christmas or not, and, depending on your own perception of it (love it or grinch!) this alternative Christmas album by Sam Broverman is not only fun to listen to but is cleverly written and performed. Looking at the season from a Jewish perspective is what Sam Boverman does here and no, it doesn't have to be Christmas time to enjoy the album as it will put a smile on your face any time of the year. With titles such as "Hanukkah in Santa Monica" and "What's A Jew to Do on Christmas", you can't go wrong. Excellent vocal performances by Sam and guest vocalist Whitney Ross-Barris.