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WHAT’S JAZZ INSIDE

Features

IN THE

Islands JAZZ.tt

Issue #3. Mar 2016

Welcome All Exile in the diaspora could be a theme for this issue of Jazz in the Islands. We feature four musicians from Trinidad and Tobago, Cuba, Grenada and Curaçao who do not reside on these islands, but in metropolitan centres that provide them with work and some success. Importantly, the Caribbean is losing musicians as our economies are not sustaining careers. Exile means access, it means travelling. The return is for inspiration. And we re-chart a seminal album’s recording by 17 Alexis Baro reveals his Guilty Pleasure on disc another musician who almost Toronto-based Cuban trumpeter has a new album and looks back on his recording made that life shift from career. local to international. Nigel A. Campbell Editor 5 Jazz Artists on the Greens 20 Side By Side nigel@jazz.tt Souvenir Programme. 12 March 2016, Eddie Bullen and Randal Corsen. Side Trinidad. by Side. Pianists from Grenada and The premier Curaçao respectively, representing Caribbean Jazz Caribbean Jazz in the diaspora. event in Trinidad 2 First Look and Tobago A little of this and that; Things to do. is here once again. Read the 20 Pan Jazz Picnic programme in 26 Reviews this issue.

Departments

27 Recording Roundup 28 Lagniappe

PHOTO: ALEXIS BARO /EDDIE BULLEN / RANDAL CORSEN / LEON FOSTER THOMAS

How to listen to jazz. A lesson from a musician.

CD/Download Links 2 3 4 17-18 20 21 23

Leon Foster Thomas Boo Hinkson, Lowrey Leon Theron Shaw Alexis Baro Eddie Bullen Randal Corsen Michael Boothman

Scan the QR codes below the album to connect to the online digital marketplace.

Jett Samm Publishing 37 Newbury Hill Ext., Glencoe, Trinidad and Tobago www.jettsamm.com +1 868 366 6104

22 Making the Album: Heaven

Michael Boothman recounts the creation of this seminal Caribbean Jazz album on the Tabu label in the 1970s. Behind the scenes at a major label.

4 Leon Foster Thomas Based in Florida, Leon Foster Thomas is pushing the jazz fusion envelope with the steelpan as a lead instrument.

Advertising inquiries 868 366 6104, advertising@jazz.tt Editor and Manager Nigel A. Campbell Art Direction and Design NiCam Graphics Editorial and Advertising Assistant Amanda Carr Contributors Michael Low Chew Tung, Tony Bell, Harold Homer II. Jazz in the Islands is published periodically by Jett Samm Publishing. All material © 2016, Jett Samm Publishing, except where noted, and may not be reprinted without permission. NOT FOR RESALE. Printed in Trinidad and Tobago by Caribbean Print Technologies. Available online at jazz.tt

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FIRST LOOK

A little of this and that, things to do. Theron Shaw and the jazz Listening Room is another aspect to this musician, and that is his vision to take that creole music and put it in a live setting often times with the originator of the songs. His Foreday Mornin’ Entertainment company serves as a “production and management company that showcases both new and established musical and artistic talent that is indigenous to Trinidad and Tobago.” Shaw is paired with calypsonians and steelpan players to recreate West Indian classics. Shaw’s website states in the introductory page that his “music is decidedly Caribbean in the way it is completely at home while blending with ancestral cultures.” Simply, Shaw utilises the native elements of New World music and fuses them together in a jazz milieu. Trinidad folk songs become studies in fingerstyle improvisation and harmonic adventure. Theron Shaw sits atop a small mountain of guitar men from this island who have the facility to navigate the jazz landscape internationally. His recorded output thus far scratches the surface of what is possible. This phlegmatic performer is a leader in the artist community for self-producing concerts that set a standard for excellence.

The Listening Room; Theron Shaw’s sound solution Foreday Mornin’ Entertainment and the Theron Shaw Project have begun a new series of events called the Listening Room. The idea being that the audience should listen. Seems obvious, but the take-away is actually that listeners have an opportunity to hear music from the inside out, a kind of sharing what the musician is

2 Jazz in the Islands

thinking. Without being too esoteric, this series has presented Boston-based Ron Reid, and Andy Narell in the new jazz club in Trinidad, Kaiso Blues. Next up is creole chanteuse Vaughnette Bigford. These juxtapositions highlight the best in Trinidad music or Trinidad-based music. We are listening...well!

THERON SHAW Gumbo Caribe (Foreday Mornin’ Music, 2014) “ In the last year, we are fortunate to have seen the launch of a handful of jazz CDs here, and Gumbo Caribe positively impacts that statistic.” —T&T Guardian

Available at iTunes.com

THERON SHAW The Sojourn (Theron Shaw, 2003) “Guitarist Theron Shaw has a gentle fire that burns magnificently on his new instrumental CD, The Sojourn.” —T&T Guardian

Available at iTunes.com

PHOTO: PRODUCTION ONE LTD

When Trinidadian jazz guitarist released his third album, Gumbo Caribe, in 2014, the local newspaper, Trinidad and Tobago Guardian carried a review that began: “Theron Shaw is well known in local music circles as the go-to man for guitar support ranging from jazz to calypso. His two previous releases signalled a willingness to engage with native cultural mores and tackle Caribbean Jazz not only as a way to “tropicalise’ harmonically complex original music, but as a way to validate and valorise calypsos, ethnic music and folk songs in a surprisingly new context. With his third release on CD, Gumbo Caribe, Shaw almost exclusively utilises the talents of a cadre of Boston-based Berklee College of Music faculty and alumni to expand the thematic influences beyond the border.” Shaw is decidedly a master at recreating folk melodies in a jazz setting, and has demonstrated that skill on his three albums to date. But there


FIRST LOOK Things to do! SAT APR 10

FRI APR 29 - MAY 8

RONALD ‘BOO’ HINKSON Beyond (Zephryn Records, 2003) “...a sensual collection of jazz guitar, jazz vocals and a touch of neo soul set in a tropical paradise.” —CDBaby

Jazz Under the Stars Santa Cruz, Trinidad. http://on.fb.me/1ROPdTs

SAT APR 16 - 24

St Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival, Pigeon Island and elsewhere, St Lucia

Available at CDBaby.com

www.stluciajazz.org

SAT MAR 12

PHOTO: THA / PRODUCTION ONE LTD /ST LUCIA TOURISM

LOWREY LEON I Am Barbados (Lowrey Leon, 2013) “The Heart and Soul of The Caribbean Paradise...... The Sun, Sea and Sand expressed through Musical Fusion.” —CDBaby

Tobago Jazz Experience Pigeon Point and elsewhere, Tobago www.tobagojazzexperience.com/

Jazz Artists on the Greens Come for the lime...discover the music! 14th edition of the biggest Caribbean jazz fest in these islands. Saturday, March 12, 2016. St Joseph, Trinidad. TT$300.00 www.jaotg.com

Available at CDBaby.com

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Leon Foster Thomas Steelpan jazz fusion from Trinidad to the World

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LEON FOSTER THOMAS What You Don’t Know (Krossover Jazz, 2010) “This album comes as a breath of fresh air. Bringing to you music that is not expected from the Steel Pan, with pulsating grooves fused jazz licks, you will want to listen to it over and over.” —CDBaby

is to jazz that is not island-oriented in the slightest. In fact, he seems to be making a conscious effort to avoid applying his instrument of choice to its most obvious setting and instead mining other rich areas of jazz. And you know what? That steel pan sounds just as natural in these other formats. Maybe it’s because the sonically pleasing, joyful sound of the pan, or the thoughtful way he plays it, or the effort he apparently puts in constructing smooth flowing but harmonically canorous songs. Nevertheless, after a while, Thomas’ steel pan doesn’t sound exotic at all. Just good.” World fusion is one of those new genre labels suggested by music reviewers and retailers to pigeon-hole music that would marry both jazz and calypso. Carol Banks Weber of Examiner.com succinctly describes him as “a man who can maintain the authenticity of the [steelpan] without missing a jazz beat...This is an artist who deserves greater airplay. His gift is an ability to bring forth any style with abandon, and play his steel pan as if it belonged in jazz all along.” Leon Foster Thomas’ fusion exercises are neither boring nor complex. Just good.

Available at iTunes.com

LEON FOSTER THOMAS Brand New Mischief (Krossover Jazz, 2012) “Brand New Mischief may help to broaden Leon Foster Thomas’ audience, and he certainly deserves to be heard.” —All About Jazz

Available at iTunes.com

PHOTO: AMY R SMITH

American jazz journalist Dan Bilawsky, writing a review on the AllAboutJazz. com website, noted that, “Steel pan trailblazers, like Jaco Pastorius-associated Othello Molineaux and jazz-meets-world music giant Andy Narell, established a place for their instrument in the jazz world a long time ago and paved the way for new and emerging pan players from future generations to join the game. Enter Leon Foster Thomas...a native of Trinidad now based in Florida, is poised to become the next big thing on his instrument.” The American media has described Thomas as “a unique force in modern jazz,” and that extends to his acclaim as side-man to a veritable who’s who of US and Caribbean jazz, steelpan and world music acts. Racking up a number of accolades from his alma mater Florida Memorial University and in the steelpan and musical festival circuit, he has cemented his fate as a serious jazz musician who plays the steelpan. The novelty of the steelpan as a lead instrument outside of Trinidad has worn off for a while now among music lovers, but the journey continues. With two albums under his belt, What You Don’t Know in 2010 and Brand New Mischief in 2012, Thomas is exploring new harmonies and melodies as he enters the studio for his third album due in 2016. The two-way traffic on influences and work between Trinidad and the USA have provided Thomas with material for improvisation, for performance, for creating a legacy. His reviews have been positive and place him in the context of the larger American audience that recognises a steelpan as an island-music ambience enhancer. One critic, S. Victor Aaron, reviewing the Brand New Mischief album put it thus: “Thomas is back again with Brand New Mischief, and the revelation about his music is how adaptable that steel pan


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SOUVENIR PROGRAMME


JAOTG.COM

PROGRAMME SCHEDULE*

VIZION featuring Arita Edmund........................................................................5:00 pm Jason ‘Fridge’ Seecharan and Moricia Cagan with Clifford Charles...............6:00 pm Dean Williams Quartet and guests......................................................................7:00 pm Alexis Baro Quintet...............................................................................................8:00 pm Dane Gulston Jazz Ensemble................................................................................9:00 pm *subject to change

VIZION

DEAN WILLIAMS

MORICIA CAGAN, CLIFFORD CHARLES, JASON ‘FRIDGE’ SEECHARAN

ALEXIS BARO

ARITA EDMUND

DANE GULSTON

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JAOTG.COM


JAOTG.COM

W

elcome to all music lovers and Caribbean jazz lovers to the 14th edition of Jazz Artists on the Greens™. As our tag line states, “Come for the lime...Discover the music”, we encourage patrons to come early, stay long, to walk with their picnic blankets and lounging chairs—and maybe an umbrella, we remember last year’s rain as a surprise of immense proportion—sit where they’re most comfortable, and bask in the ambience of a good Trini lime, accompanied by a powerful mix of contemporary Caribbean jazz styles, delivered by some of the most talented performers to grace our stages, at our festival-styled event. The audience is in for a delightful treat as this year’s line-up includes some of the Caribbean’s finest artistes: Cuban trumpeter Alexis Baro back by popular demand;

WELCOME FROM PRODUCTION ONE rising Trinidadian singing stars Moricia Cagan and Jason ‘Fridge’ Seecharan performing with smooth jazz guitarist Clifford Charles; steelpan jazz fusion artiste Dane Gulston and his band; and eclectic guitarist Dean Williams and his Quartet. Opening the show this year is up-and-coming new group VIZION featuring Arita Edmund. Ice Water Ensemble will provide steelband music accompaniment for arriving patrons. Once again, patrons will be delighted to discover a true festival atmosphere. The range of festival-related concessions and memorabilia will include apparel, food caterers and a well-stocked bar. Production One Ltd, will operate a merchandise tent featuring music CDs and branded apparel — a genuine Caribbean jazz marketplace. Well lit, secured parking is available and located within 1 to 2 minutes walking distance from the venue, along with portable Linx Machine and an accessible ATM machine for necessary withdrawals! In the uncertain economic times, we can be sure that entertainment is one of those sectors that takes a smaller strike. Every body has to lime, as well as eat. We do our part by allowing patrons to discover the music of Trinidad and Tobago and the wider Caribbean. You’re welcome! As always, we would like to thank our audience, both firsttimers and returning patrons for your continued support. Thank you to the artists for your music, talent and time. Thanks to the volunteers and support staff behind the scenes. Special shout out to Anthony Harford for being the voice of JAOTG all these years. Thank you to all the ticket outlets for your kindness and effectiveness, and to the WASA Sports Club for its support. We look forward to seeing everyone again on 1 April, 2017 for the 15th edition of Jazz Artists on the Greens.

Production One Ltd. is a company committed to the top quality production of high profile concerts and to expanding the audience for jazz, and other live music in Trinidad and Tobago and the wider Caribbean. This will be achieved not by compromising the music but through a dynamic and highly visible marketing strategy and by developing the public’s trust through a commitment to quality. In addition to fulfilling the role of a traditional concert promoter, we also specialize in providing opportunities for sponsorship by adding value to events through sophisticated marketing, advertising, design, public relations and production of collateral media. Directors: Anton Doyle, Rolf Doyle, Martin Wellington, Maria Wellington, Keith Niles, Nigel A. Campbell Production One Ltd. PO Box 1919, Wrightson Road, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago info@productiononeltd.com www.productiononeltd.com

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JAZZ ARTISTS ON THE GREENS™ 2016 SOUVENIR PROGRAMME


JAOTG.COM

WHO’S ON THE GREENS IN 2016

SATURDAY 12 MARCH

Every year, Production One Ltd gets submissions, requests and suggestions for the cast to perform on the Greens. Every year, we sort through this list of newcomers, upstarts and experienced acts to provide a balanced and entertaining set. In 2016, we have chosen to showcase a younger cast to showcase possibilities and to offer opportunities. We trust that you, the audience, will see the future and keep coming back.

VIZION

DEAN WILLIAMS

MORICIA CAGAN

CLIFFORD CHARLES

ARITA EDMUND

DANE GULSTON

ALEXIS BARO

JASON SEECHARAN

Vizion has been in existence for two years. This band has performed in many diverse events across the country, executing encore performances every time they hit the stage. Vizion features amazing and talented musicians and singers who can handle a wide range of genres of music and a huge repertoire of songs. They have supported some of the best musicians locally. Billed by media as a refreshing take on music and the star to watch on the international entertainment arena, Arita Edmund is a positive, charismatic young woman and the new talk of the town after the release of her hot debut single Good Man. “My music must move my audiences, their hearts first, but also mind, body and soul and take them to a better place” says Arita.

VIZION

Caribbean News Now says that guitarist Dean Williams’ fans “in fact are as varied and eclectic as his personal style and range. It is not often a Trinidadian eight-year-old on Facebook and an elderly seasoned Singapore musician share commonalities. In this instance, nonetheless, Dean’s music connects them in a way they both never imagined.” Soulful, passionate and smooth. The music and sound that Dane Gulston makes out of an instrument made from a steeldrum will amaze you, and his energy on stage will move you to your feet. Dane Gulston is defined as a crowd pleaser taking steelpan music and his stardom to the next level. He is regarded as one of the most skilful, entertaining, versatile and sought after steelpan players of the 21st century.

DEAN WILLIAMS

Singer Moricia Cagan is described as passionate, persistent and modest. One of the few singers locally supporting herself solely with a singing career, Cagan has toured the Far East and the Caribbean as a voice that can carry a tune and create an emotion with any lyric. This is her Jazz Artists on the Greens debut as a featured artist and will add charm and energy to her list of descriptives. Cuban trumpeter, Alexis Baro is a three-time nominee for the Canadian National Jazz Award in the “Best Trumpet Player” category. He began playing trumpet at a early age and completed his musical education in Havana, Cuba. He relocated to Canada in 2001 and has since worked in a variety of genres including Straight Ahead Jazz, R&B, Funk, Calypso, Latin, Dance and Pop.

MORICIA CAGAN, CLIFFORD CHARLES, JASON ‘FRIDGE’ SEECHARAN

Whenever you ask what’s his passion Trinidadian jazz guitarist Clifford Charles with eyes glinting declares: ”It’s music or nothing.” This definitely shows as scores of fans of his home grown brand of silky smooth jazz music is convinced that Clifford is set to take on the world. Nothing less than a tapestry of smooth jazz expression, created from the very soul of the artist! Whether it be faith’ destiny or merely a calling’, it is clear that some people were born to sing and create music. Jason Seecharan more commonly known by his stage name “Fridge” is most certainly one of these naturally gifted individuals. As a founding member of the group H2O Phlo, “Fridge” has toured the world. From quiet storm, to smooth jazz and R&B, “Fridge” has to be heard.

ALEXIS BARO DANE

ARITA EDMUND

Read more online at jazz.tt Jazz in the Islands. March 2016 9 GULSTON


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JAOTG.COM

COME FOR THE LIME... DISCOVER THE MUSIC!

J

azz Artists on The Greens™, is a large festival-styled jazz concert event that was initiated in June 2003. Leaning towards the Caribbean Jazz idiom for inspiration, and with the intention of bringing a touch of class to local jazz, the objective was to expose as many new patrons and young musicians as possible to Jazz, in an informal setting that could help remove much of the mystique that seemed to surround the genre. Jazz Artists on the Greens™ has grown from strength to strength, ever widening its base of regional performers and its audience. As it evolves in the new decade of the 21st century, its initial purpose has been expanded to include becoming a major platform for the expression of Caribbean Jazz artistes, based locally, regionally and internationally. The high demand by artistes for spots on the show will allow for the inclusion of surprise guests to be confirmed

closer to the date. Suffice it to say, with the increased options in the marketplace for live music lovers, Production One Ltd. has focused on the improvement of the concert experience for the patron and artiste from production value to marketing opportunities. In 2016, Production One Ltd. has looked to the future and recognised that a new generation of musicians and singers are seeking opportunities to spread their wings. In this uncertain economic climate, Production One Ltd. chose to limit its entertainment options to a majority local cast. Jazz, in the Caribbean has a different connotation than that in the US. Arguably, there are a different set of cultural circumstances that force Caribbean people to engage with the music in a different way than Americans and others around the world. That said, the Jazz Artists at this event over the years have

JAZZ ARTISTS ON THE GREENS™ 2016 SOUVENIR PROGRAMME

STAY CONNECTED TO JAOTG™ Relive our memories of Jazz Artists on the Greens™ throughout the years online.

www.jaotg.org

Follow us online on social media

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COME FOR THE LIME... DISCOVER THE MUSIC!

JAOTG.COM

different ideas of this improvised fusion exercise called “jazz.” The goal, as always, is to make the familiar new, and the new, unforgettable. The “atmosphere of lavish escapism” attendant on the various jazz festivals in the Caribbean including Tobago, has not taken hold on the Greens, apart from the idea that jazz can be listened to on mats, blankets and lounge chairs while sipping wine and consuming tender victuals. The slow-growth organic model of a Jazz Artists on the Greens™ is a winning template as opposed to the hit-and-run approach of many Caribbean jazz festivals with imported superstars and no permanent footprint beyond a specific profit margin. Jazz Artists on the Greens™ is the signal event that begins a jazz season in the Caribbean preceding Tobago and St. Lucia by weeks, and it allows the audience to hear the possibilities of jazz transformed from the American response to the blues with improvisation into a renewed inversion of Caribbean rhythms on improvised melodies. Jazz Artists on the Greens™ has grown from a couple hundred limers on the lawn to thousands on the greens. And the plan is to grow even bigger in 2017 when the event celebrates its 15th anniversary. Come for the lime...Discover the music! JAZZ ARTISTS ON THE GREENS™ 2016 SOUVENIR PROGRAMME

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JAOTG.COM

THANK YOU TO OUR PARTNERS BROUGHT TO YOU BY

MAJOR SPONSORS

OFFICIAL TECHNOLOGY PARTNERS

OFFICIAL HOSPITALITY PARTNER

MEDIA PARTNERS

OFFICIAL STREAMING PARTNER

IN-KIND SPONSORS • • • • • •

OFFICIAL TICKET OUTLETS • • • • • • • • • • • •

Kanhai Raghubir Jewelers; House of Chan; Off-the-Wall Music Centre; Travel Plus Travel Agency; Stecher’s; WrapWorks; BEWIL; The Medical Dispensary; Seon’s Bar; Crosby’s Music Centre; The Oblique Imperative Cleve’s Record Store

JAOTG™ GENEROUSLY SUPPORTED BY

Langston Roach Industries WoodHouse Cher Mere Kanhai Raghubir Courts WoodHouse

CORPORATE AND INSTITUTIONAL SUPPORT PRODUCTION ONE LTD offers your organization an opportunity to partner with us in our presentation of the country’s premier, open-air Caribbean Jazz concert and to benefit from the synergies to be obtained through an alignment with us. For more information, email jaotg@productiononeltd.com

JAZZ ARTISTS ON THE GREENS™ 2016 SOUVENIR PROGRAMME

VOLUNTEER AT JAOTG™ Each year, PRODUCTION ONE LTD presents a world class musical experience at Jazz Artists on the Greens™. We could not pull off such an amazing event without the dedication and hard work of our volunteers. If you would like to volunteer for the next Jazz Artists on the Greens™ in 2017, email jaotg@productiononeltd.com

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16 Jazz in the Islands

SOUVENIR PROGRAMME


Alexis Baro

Cuban trumpeter in exile in the Great White North

ALEXIS BARO Havana Banana (Groove United, 2004)

PHOTO: ALEXIS BARO

“Baro, who calls Dizzy Gillespie one of his influences, manifests Dizzy’s approach in his playing , reaching out and hitting the high notes but keeping it all under control.” —AllAboutJazz

Alexis Baro is one of Toronto’s premier trumpet players. This versatile trumpeter was born into a musical family in Havana, Cuba and began playing trumpet at a early age ultimately completing his musical education at the prestigious Amadeo Roldán Music Conservatory in Havana and receiving a teaching certification. While in school, he became a member of the Buena Vista Social Club superstar Omara Portuondo’s band, and later played lead trumpet for the National Radio and Television Orchestra in Cuba. Best known as a Latin jazz specialist, Baro began exploring a multiplicity of other musical styles after he relocated to Canada in 2001 and has since worked in a variety of genres including Straight Ahead Jazz, R&B, Funk, Calypso, Latin, Dance and Pop. He was as a member for many years of the Canadian hard bop band “Kollage” led by the Canadian legendary jazz drummer Archie Alleyne and saxophonist Doug Richardson. Baro’s artistic abilities led to more high-profile engagements, too, backing touring entertainment names

and a variety of artists such as David Foster, Nikky Yanofsky, Paul Shaffer, Tom Jones, Dr. Lonnie Liston Smith, John Secada, The Temptations, Jimmy Bosch and many more. He has opened for Herbie Hancock at the Ottawa Jazz Festival and has been a feature performer at venues and jazz festivals throughout Canada, the Caribbean and South America. He was also a featured soloist alongside Paquito D’Riviera on Hilario Duran’s Juno Award winning and Grammy nominated album From The Heart (Alma). Baro is a three-time nominee for the Canadian National Jazz Award in the “Best Trumpet Player” category. As a solo artist he has four recordings to date: Havana Banana (2004), From The Other Side (2010), Blue Skin (2012) and his latest release Guilty Pleasure (2015). Former Billboard writer, Jerry D’Souza wrote the following on Baro’s Havana Banana album: “Over the years, Toronto has opened its arms to Cuban musicians. Among them is Alexis Baro, who came to the city in 2001. Baro has wide musical interests

Available at iTunes.com

ALEXIS BARO From The Other Side (G-Three Records, 2010) “‘I have the freedom to unite these diverse influences in my own way.’ Alexis brings this fusion of Latin jazz and funk-jazz grooves on “ From The Other Side.” —CBCMusic

Available at iTunes.com

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ALEXIS BARO Blue Skin (G-Three Records, 2012) ““Blue Skin”features a mosaic of original compositions influenced by the sounds of New Orleans, Jamaica, Trinidad, Cuba, and straight ahead jazz.” —TD Toronto Jazz

Available at iTunes.com

ALEXIS BARO Guilty Pleasure (G-Three Records, 2015) “His work as a performer and composer on this album along with his cast of headline players is a demonstration that first-rate music is alive in Canada.” —Jack Kopstein

Available at iTunes.com

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which include, quite naturally, traditional Cuban music and jazz. The latter derives much of its soul from his native land and the wider spectrum of Latin jazz. Baro who wrote eight of these tunes, ropes in the past to add dimension. This bodes well on “Hasta Cunado, where the flighty Latin air wafts around the bop modes that fly from Jeff Bornes’ tenor. Baro, who calls Dizzy Gillespie one of his influences, manifests Dizzy’s approach in his playing, reaching out and hitting the high notes but keeping it all under control. He achieves an emotionally compact mood on “Like Spring’s Drop, essaying the ballad with soulful and endearing power. His band is emphatically sublime; Jeff King keeps the embers aflame, his tenor moody yet passionate. Baro pares it down to just himself and percussionist Joaquin Hidalgo, with Alberto Alberto and Jose “Papo Gonzales on vocals, for the sprightly “Tan Lejos. The singers are hoarse, but that seems to be the intent, as they fit in so well and add to the delight. Expectedly, “Footprints is given a Latin treatment, treading in softly on congas that get more pronounced and vibrant before they swirl around and get Baro to investigate. He splits the melody open, carves out some high notes, and even blitzes some fast ones. But even in the eye of the storm, he ferments some good ideas, leaving the leavening to Bornes and to Luis Guerra, whose turn on the piano cascades with percussive ebullience to lighten the mood and bring in a nice balance.” Brad Walseth of JazzChicago.net in reviewing From the Other Side album, wrote: “This new CD, his sophomore effort, shows the listener why. Combining Latin (Panorama, Wake Up Call), Funk and R&B (Funky Bird, Unexpected Muse), Rock Fusion (Venus Atmosphere) and Jazz together, Baro’s fiery trumpet leads the way, supported by a strong group of players. Opening with a funky intro (the title track, which also ends the album), complete with wah-wah horn, Baro next moves into the wonderful “African Escape” and song he says was inspired by the rhythms of baby hearts heard

through monitors when he was in the hospital during his wife’s pregnancy with his son. He transposed the rhythms of the different hearts into a beat for bata drums and other percussion. But despite such creative inspirations, songs like “U and I” show he can write and play straight jazz as well. This number, which features tenor saxophonist Jeff King, guitarist KC Roberts and keyboardist Robi Botos on Fender Rhodes harkens back to the ‘70s and proves Baro isn’t the only talented Canadian jazzer. Clearly, Baro, whose first album focused primarily on Latin jazz has expanded his ouevre, but the call of the Afro-Cuban genre remains close, even during his forays into North American styles and creates a tasty mixture that is extremely appealing. One hopes this album will give some deserved exposure to an exciting trumpeter/ songwriter from the other side of our northern border.” In 2012, CBCMusic, the website of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation radio stations was also reporting about the trumpeter and the From the Other Side album: “Having a complete command of his craft and an innate gift to sound like a combination of magic and logic, he has been a much in demand artist. To hear him explain it: ‘My compositions can change fluidly from Funk to Latin. This allows me to draw upon all of my experiences. I have the freedom to unite these diverse influences in my own way.’ Alexis brings this fusion of Latin jazz and funk-jazz grooves on ‘From The Other Side’. It’s an aural exploration that takes the listener on a journey that starts in Africa with the hypnotic spiritual rhythms of the batá drum who’s origin dates back some 500 years ago from the land of Yorùbá in Nigeria. Their messages of inspiration come alive in Baro’s new modern Cubanstyle Latin jazz compositions. The title ‘From The Other Side’, refers to his Cuban musical roots and his most recent influences since living in Canada. Performing and recording in a variety of styles he has gained affection for the North American ‘groove’. The sounds


of Blues, Soul, R&B, and Funk are paid tribute on his latest offering with some new original funk-jazz creations.” Jack Kopstein writing for a Canadian music review website stated: “The Album ‘Guilty Pleasures’ is a treasured mixture of composer Alexis Baro’s compositions performed on Trumpet and Flugelhorn. The music is a finely crafted combination of Afro-Jazz, ballad style, and Beguine... In this album, Baro is joined by several extremely talented musicians who he musically interacts with throughout the album . His orchestration of the charts blends skillfully to provide a platform for easy listening music and to highlight the work of the other performers... Baro himself relates on his web page that the music is soulful, laid back and relaxing. It has an enchanting sound that only musicians of this caliber can convey to listeners. In this regard, he has created a style of playing which is unique and moreover original. His honest musicianship is clearly evident on every

segment of this disc. His innovative, thoughtful ideas are a constant reminder of his command of the horns along with his expressionism. Baro’s jazz phrasing and the muted segments are a joy to listen to and come through clear and bright. Within “Guilty Pleasures (G-3 Toronto Arts Council)” Alexis Baro has made a major contribution to jazz performance in Canada. His work as a performer and composer on this album along with his cast of headline players is a demonstration that first-rate music is alive in Canada.” Baro, talking to music critic Ashante Infantry of the Toronto Star, said that “[s]ome people ask, ‘Do you write first the harmony and then the melody?’ It’s hard to tell, it kind of all comes together. Sometimes, it starts with a drum groove. You never know. You take influence from everything around you – could be a car horn.” He added, “they like to categorize people here, which I hate. That kind of happened with the first album [Havana Banana] – ‘He’s the Latin jazz

guy.’ It doesn’t matter where you come from; music is universal. You can get a Romanian guy playing amazing straightahead jazz, or a Cuban guy playing funk. This is another side of me. Jazz is the kind of music that can mix with anything. I usually compare it with pasta: you can put any kind of sauce on pasta and it will taste like something. I like to listen to something non-jazz and bring it to jazz.” Baro describes himself as a dedicated but practical player.“Trumpet is not like a lot of instruments; you need to rest your facial muscles, your lips, your teeth. If you’ve been playing for a really long time your teeth will hurt, because you’re pushing on your gums. You need blood to flow in your lips and you can overwork your muscles, then they don’t respond. I practise, but not every day.” Toronto, for all it’s worth, seems to be a haven for the Caribbean migrant seeking fortune in the creative industries. Alexis Baro is on that path to being number one in Canada.

Read more online at jazz.tt Jazz in the Islands. March 2016 19


Eddie Bullen

SIDE BY SIDE

Smooth jazz piano out of Toronto via the Spice Island

20 Jazz in the Islands

EDDIE BULLEN Make It Real (CocoVin Records, 2000) “13 songs with a blend of smooth jazz and Latin calypso jazz.” —CDBaby

Available at iTunes.com

EDDIE BULLEN Desert Rain (Thunder Dome Sounds, 2004) “Over a dozen songs featuring Smooth Jazz with scat vocals and CHILL grooves.” —CDBaby

Available at iTunes.com

PHOTO: EDDIE BULLEN

Eddie Bullen is in every way, a stand out amongst his generation of multitalented artists. Eddie’s lengthy career has yielded an abundance of awards and recognition for his outstanding talents. From his first album, ‘Nocturnal Affair’ to his most recent ‘Spice Island’, Eddie gives his audience a taste of contemporary jazz, flavoured with Caribbean rhythms. Since his move to Toronto in 1980 from Grenada, Eddie has worked with Caribbean, Canadian and American artists like Melba Moore, Anslem Douglas, Byron Lee, Maestro, David Rudder, Liberty Silver, Deborah Cox and Dee Dee Bridgewater. He is also a composer and arranger for TV, Radio and Films. His work has been heard on City TV, YTV, Love & Hip Hop (American Television Series) and Wine TV Australia. To date Eddie Bullen has produced over 150 albums and is currently working on several new ventures through his record company Thunder Dome Sounds and publishing company QDB music. Eddie is always on the lookout for cutting edge new innovative artists. Eddie’s two sons Quincy and TreMichael are both following in their

father’s footsteps. Quincy, the elder son has recorded three CDs under the Thunder Dome Sounds label: On Q, Quintessential Boys, Under Age (which was featured in high rotation on XM satellite radio) and Quantumplations. Through his production company Thunder Dome Sounds, Eddie is fulfilling his passion for nurturing youth talent through a high school co-op program he launched in 1986. Challenges like this keep Eddie Bullen growing artistically and personally. Eddie Bullen, the recognized Smooth Jazz Ambassador in Canada, launch his latest CD release in 2015 after having produced over fifty Canadian Smooth Jazz titles for other artists. On this fourth solo release, Eddie takes us on a very personal journey to the Caribbean – specifically his homeland of Grenada. It’s been more than thirty years since he left Grenada, and he has successfully created a name for himself in jazz circles internationally. His latest album, Spice Island is a reflection of Bullen’s life as a teenager growing up on Grenada. The album was written in a style that emerged in the mid-70s as contemporary jazz which he embraced as a youth and subsequently shaped the trajectory of his life. One reviewer noted that “The album delivers exactly what you would expect from an album entitled Spice Island, well-seasoned relaxation. Eddie’s tantalizing keys are at the centre of this collection of songs which seamlessly delivers a combination of funky grooves and rhythmic melodies, packaged in his trademark cool.” The version of the Caribbean as a place to “flee seriousness” is often given support by the idea of smooth jazz not being the “thinking man’s” jazz. Eddie Bullen as a thinking man in a city that inspires innovation has played his hand well to serve up music and satisfaction. All from the heart of the spice island.


SIDE BY SIDE

Randal Corsen

PHOTO: RANDAL CORSEN

Tumba jazz piano out of the Netherlands via Curaçao Over the last decade, Randal Corsen who currently lives in The Netherlands, has proven his special skills in the jazz and Latin music scene in both The Netherlands and Curaçao. He received high praise for his work as a pianist, composer, arranger and co-producer for the critically acclaimed albums of Dutch vocalist Izaline Calister and for his performance in the successful Latin-jazz Quintet Bye-Ya! Corsen’s work is outstanding for the original way he blends jazz with Latin American music. Proud of his Antillean roots, he has always consciously incorporated elements from Antillean music and tumba rhythms in his compositions. Derived from the word ‘‘tambu”, or Spanish for drum, Tumba is to Curaçao what merengue is to the Dominican Republic, calypso is to Trinidad and reggae is to Jamaica. His compositions and arrangements contain modern and progressive harmonies and melodies; his expressive solo’s are characterized by great virtuosity, rhythmic perfection and extraordinary dynamics. Artists who inspired him: Keith Jarrett, Herbie Hancock and Bill Evans, and Latin-jazz pianists such as Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Eddie Palmieri. Scott Yanow reviewing his latest album Sybiosis wrote the following: Randal Corsen’s Symbiosis features the inventive pianist performing eight colorful originals with his quartet. Randal Corsen, who is based in the Netherlands, is an excellent postbop pianist, arranger and composer. One can hear a subtle “Latin tinge” in his music and he hints at such innovators as Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock while playing original music in his own voice. He took five years off between records as a leader to work on writing projects including his first opera Katibu di Shon. By the time that he recorded Symbiosis,

RANDAL CORSEN Evolushon (A-Records, 2007) “In 2004, [Corsen] was honoured with the EDISON Jazz Award, the most prestigious music award in the Netherlands, for his album ‘Evolushon’. —Avila Hotel

Corsen was eager to return to being a jazz pianist again. While his sidemen on various projects in the past have included David Sanchez, Paquito D’Rivera and Roy Hargrove, on Symbiosis, Corsen utilizes three young Dutch musicians: bassist Glenn Gaddum Jr, drummer Mark Schilders and percussionist Vernon Chatlein. They give him the type of stimulating support that he deserves. He allowed his music, which is unquestionably jazz, to be open to both his Antillean heritage and the other styles of music that he has enjoyed throughout the years. His eight originals are complex yet sometimes catchy, often rhythmic and usually accessible. The performances are sometimes episodic, developing as they evolve, and cover a wide variety of moods. Symbiosis is full of thought-provoking music that is well worth several listens. Corsen himself says: “This recording not only represents the Symbiosis between my playing and that of my fellow musicians, it also reflects my own musical symbiosis, which is a result of my musical journey till now. I’m very proud of this work, and I hope you like it!”

Available at iTunes.com

RANDAL CORSEN Symbiosis (Challenge Records, 2013) “The performances are sometimes episodic, developing as they evolve, and cover a wide variety of moods. Symbiosis is full of thought-provoking music that is well worth several listens.” —Scott Yanow

Available at iTunes.com

Read more online at jazz.tt Jazz in the Islands. March 2016 21


Making the Album: Heaven Michael Boothman was on the path to global success as he spent a couple weeks in RCA Studios in New York recording his classic album, Heaven for Tabu Records, a subsidiary of RCA Records, and importantly helmed by record business legend Clarence Avant. To hear the story, Boothman spoke to Jazz in the Islands about the making of the record. “Clarence was on a cruise ship in Port of Spain and heard my songs ‘Saying it with Music’ and ‘Diego Shuffle.’ I was on tour in the Caribbean at that time in 1975.” A mutual friend introduced Avant to Boothman’s mother who in turn gave Avant the contacts. Not believing that “a man from Hollywood was here to see you,” as his mother recalled, he was taken aback when he got the call the following day from the exec inviting him to LA and NY to make a record. The problem was that Boothman had no idea who Avant was in the industry! He still travelled to the US. Cautious as Caribbean people are sometimes, Boothman made sure at least a family member was at the airport, and even when the limo from the company took him to Park Lane Hotel, that family member followed, just in case. Avant flew in the next day. RCA Records was paying the bills. Avant is larger than life. When he walks into RCA’s offices, people are on alert. His intelligence and expertise are still paramount. And he was a businessman. Wherever Avant went, Boothman was his protégé. He introduced him to Quincy Jones as “his man from the Caribbean.” Bob Marley made the break for Caribbean music and Avant and the music business were looking for the next Marley. 22 Jazz in the Islands

Avant and Boothman flew to LA where Avant wanted to record. Boothman preferred NY because he had a feel for the studio and believed the energy of the city was better. Within the first 10 days, a contract was given to be read. It was an orientation and courting period, studio tours and schmoozing. Boothman came back home to get a lawyer, and to write new music. He was advised by his lawyer, a Queen’s Counsel, that Trinidad had no experts on entertainment law. “Heaven” was the first song written back home for this record. He was engaged with a baby on the way; he was in bliss. When he went back to NY, his other uncle, Geoffrey Holder, introduced him

Michael Boothman

to his lawyer, a wizened “old Jewish man” who knew the entertainment business well. He signed the contracts in NY. He started to put things together by going around to clubs, album launchings: a crash course in the circuit. “When I had to talk about musicians in the records, I was up to mark. When I came back home, I brought back 1000 records including RCA demo pressings, rejects, unheard and unreleased records. Listening to records allowed me to hear the musicians with whom I would like to play.” Recording took place at RCA Studios on 44th Street. I had a wish list of musicians and orchestrators for strings and horns. Sefra Herman, a highly regarded production coordinator and music

PHOTO: MICHAEL BOOTHMAN

The seminal album’s creation is recounted by Michael Boothman


contractor for the musicians who worked on albums by Luther Vandross, Ashford & Simpson and Aretha Franklin from the 1970s to the 2000s, was the contractor on this album. Steve Gadd was invited but he had other engagements, so Chris Parker stepped in. Everything goes through the process because of the unionisation of the industry. I provided a wish list, and the contractor makes suggestions, who’s available, who’s not. Errol ‘Crusher’ Bennett, originally from Laventille, was a wish list want. A monster musician. “I knew him in Trinidad as ‘Beaver,’ so I kept asking for ‘Beaver’ nobody knew that name, and I thought he was popular. I was invited to session at RCA with Richie Havens, as advised by my chaperone, I saw ‘Beaver’ and I recognised him. When I first saw him at the session, his American accent dropped and we greeted me happily like long time friends. Drummer ‘Megi’ Clarke was from Trinidad with Rockafellas living in the US Baltimore. Bassist Happy Williams was another friend from Trinidad. David Boothman is my brother and he played organ. He was there in Rockafellas and Family The Band.” Lani Groves who worked with Stevie Wonder, was referred by Sefra. She worked with Deniece Williams and Patti LaBelle. “I was roped into singing ‘Heaven’, but Norman Connors was to sing it, but his accent was too heavy and I wanted to neutralise it, and it wasn’t working.” Quincy Jones could have worked on the album but he was doing Ironside. Wilton Felder was his next choice, but he met Sonny Burke first in LA. A Scorpio like Boothman, he impressed him, initially. He flew Sonny to NY for the session. The engagement was not perfect. He foresaw we had creative clashes. “I would do this and do that instead,” was Burke’s mantra, and

Boothman saw the aggressive side of Burke’s personality. He played on a song, “Greasy.” He flew in to NY, came straight to the session, put down his piano track. They went to a restaurant, and Sonny became the centre of attention, mocking Boothman’s accent, and being a “total LA asshole.” “I tolerated it until we were going back to Burke’s suite. He was fired the same night in the car back home. I told him, ‘we have creative challenges, I am fixed in my way, but it’s my record.’” Leon Pendarvis was a musician already on the set and he gave up his seat to Burke for that one song. “He played his ass off and he had so much more to offer. He went back and nailed it, voluntarily. He was influencing me too. He is well respected by the elders in the string and horn section, Frank Wess, Gene Orloff, they were impressed. He was brilliant. He told me, ‘Your stuff is not to be played with 2 horns, but with orchestration,.’” The label was impressed with what they got. On time and under budget. Credit goes to Howard ‘Howie’ Lindeman the engineer, who also did the Richie Havens’ gig. Linderman was supportive and encouraging. The record had mild success in Middle East, but label Tabu went into turmoil with RCA parted ways. It suffered in US because they couldn’t categorise it. “No shelf for it. A record before it’s time. The industry was different beast then as it is now. I went to them suggesting that they penetrate the Caribbean market. I was told the market there was not big enough to be financially viable. I was approached by several other companies when Tabu folded including Arista. My ambitions were confused. I was going through a whole lot of unsure periods.” The record was re-issued by a Japanese label in 2012. Boothman still owns the recording masters!

MICHAEL BOOTHMAN Heaven (Re-isue) (Creole Stream Music, 2014) “Heaven is Michael Boothman’s first release in the United States. The sounds recorded here combine the music of the world in 77 with the soft laid back rhythms of an island heaven.” —Nothin’ Sez Somethin’

Available at Amazon.com

MICHAEL BOOTHMAN Touch -EP (Re-issue) (Invisible City Editions, 2014) “Kysofusion experiment from the 1970s revived in the 2000s by eager re-issue merchants who need to dance to the island vibe.” —Jazz in the Islands

Available at iTunes.com

Read more online at jazz.tt Jazz in the Islands. March 2016 23


PAN JAZZ PICNIC

The Pan Jazz Picnic continues with a sampling of music from around the world played on the steelpan. As was noted in the beginning, the theme of the artist in exile in the diaspora could have been a linking theme for the articles in the magazine. This is reflected mostly in the idea of pan jazz, or just steelpan recording generally. The continued dearth of original pan jazz from the birthplace of steelpan is troubling. Even more so when one considers that even ensemble music is recorded for commercial release by one producer alone. 24 Jazz in the Islands

Many promising pannists in Trinidad and Tobago hesitate to put on record some fine playing despite the accolades garnered from live performance. Markets are muted in the islands. It is noteworthy that original pan jazz is still being recorded in the US, Japan and France to make a telling statistic, and to signal an opening for new listeners. The selection overleaf speak to a new horizon for what is possible with the instrument created by youngsters in barrack yards and behind walls. The American fascination with the instrument has grown to a mini industry with soloists

experimenting with sound and timbres and rhythms. When Steel Talks website reviewed an album by Jonathan Scales thus: “Many can talk the talk - but few can walk the walk. Pannist Jonathan Scales without a doubt is ‘walking the walk.’ On his sophomore release called Plot/Scheme, Scales takes the listener not only into unexpected territory, but clearly uncharted real-estate. The fact that he takes us there with the steelpan instrument navigating the journey - is all the more fascinating. All notions of an island-like, ‘smiley, smiley’ facade are dashed from the onset.” The islands, by right, should not be far behind.


CHRIS WABICH Caribbean Standard (Chris Wabich, 2015)

Phil Hawkins H2O (Ramajay Records, 2005)

ANDY AKIHO No One To Know One (Innova Recordings, 2011)

“The album, “Caribbean Standard,” is considered by many to be a landmark jazz album, primarily due to how its featured artist was utilized.” —PAN Magazine

“With steel pans as the lead instrument and a lineup that also includes drums and percussion, there is little doubt that H2O will have an emphasis on groove. ” —AllAboutJazz

“[H]is approach hangs between playing with strong accents, melody, and power in a jazz sensibility, with baroque associations in melody and arrangements.” —Psychemusic

Available at iTunes.com

Available at CDBaby.com

Available at CDBaby.com

LIAM TEAGUE & ROBERT CHAPPELL Open Window (Chappell &Teague, 2010)

JONATHAN SCALES Plot/scheme (Jonathan Scales, 2008)

ANDY NARELL Tatoom (Heads Up International, 2007)

“Open Window is marvelous. Teague and Chappell make an excellent duo and Liam’s virtuosity is at times breathtaking.” —Michael Colgress

“Many can talk the talk - but few can walk the walk. Pannist Jonathan Scales without a doubt is ‘walking the walk’.” —When Steel Talks

“If you have prejudices about steel bands, prepare to shed them when you hear this CD. Andy creates a wonderfully chromatic mix of rich harmonies.” —Tony Augarde

Available at iTunes.com

Available at iTunes.com

Available at iTunes.com

Read more online at jazz.tt Jazz in the Islands. March 2016 25


REVIEWS Alexis Baro Guilty Pleasure (G-Three Records)

Cécile McLorin Salvant For One To Love (Mack Avenue Records)

Toronto-based Cuban trumpeter Alexis Baro has released a ten-track album of jazz music that has the chill vibe in effect, but also focusses on the idea that although you can take an islander to the city, his island-ness is a hard thing to shake off. Laid back sensuality is an apt phrase to describe the mood of the album, but Afro-Cuban sentiments and rhythms creep in seductively giving

Haitian pride remains intact despite generations of miscegenation and migration. Jazz singer Cécile McLorin Salvant notes that with pride: “I was not at all raised in an African-American family culture. My dad is Haitian, mom is French-Guadeloupean, and in Miami [where she was born], on top of that, we had more of a Caribbean vibe.” Heritage and identity are touchstones for conversations among others, but the music on this third album by Salvant speaks to an all-encompassing American heritage: jazz. Depending on your perspective, this album can either challenge expectations or satisfy the soul as she continues her efforts at mining the early songs of the genre to create new impressions for new audiences. Five originals balance this set of veritable unheralded standards from a bygone era cementing this album as a new recipe for jazz singing. Recasting love songs and imbuing new meaning to a jaded lyric is Salvant’s goal. Well played.

Eddie Bullen Spice Island (Thunder Dome Sound) Smooth jazz is a music genre that purists love to hate, but in the Caribbean, it is increasingly becoming the pleasing soundtrack of resort life for fortunate travellers in search of sun, sand and sea. Purity be damned when there is a market for the slick and increasingly popular sound in these isles. Torontobased Grenadian keyboardist and music producer Eddie Bullen, says that this album “is a musical reflection of [his] life as a teenager growing up on the ‘spice island’ of Grenada,” but it can also be seen as a catalogue of all the smooth jazz tropes that have marked the music for either fame or disdain. Piano trills, ubiquitous programmed synths, chill vibes, funky motifs; they are all there. Spice Island is a metaphor for an idealised Caribbean vacation. Sure handed production values that augur well for this album to be a call card for jazz cruises makes this a listenable treat.

Available at:

26 Jazz in the Islands

the impression that one is listening to a duality of ambition. On “Eres”, fellow Toronto-based Cuban rapper Telmary (Diaz) provides a spoken work juxtaposition to Baro’s muted horn; hot hip hop à La Habana. On “African Prince” Baro blows frenetically and on point over conga drums as a segue to a languid piano solo that serves as a lesson on Latin jazz. Canadian spoken word artist, Dwayne Morgan, smoothly defines what his guilty pleasures are on the title track. Consuming this album could be yours. Available at:

Available at:


RECORDING ROUNDUP

SHAKE KEANE Dig It! (Re-issue) (Vocalion, 2005) “A groovy album of short little pop jazz numbers – featuring the sparkling trumpet of West Indian player Shake Keane over the top of arrangements from Ivor Raymonde!” —Music From All Around

CULTUREMIX Colours (Creative Multimedia Concepts, 2006)

REUBEN ROGERS The Things I Am (Renwick Entertainment Inc, 2006)

“The Steelpan is an integral part of the sound of Culturemix, as much as the distinctive sound of Billy Cobham drumming.” —When Steel Talks

“A mix of Caribbean roots, swing and blues, bassist Reuben Rogers stirs the pot with an impressive lineup of today’s jazz elite.” —CDBaby

Available at Amazon.com

Available at Amazon.com

Available at iTunes.com

RUDY SMITH TRIO Live in Toronto (Leeman Enterprises Inc., 1993)

JONATHAN SCALES Character Farm & Other Short Stories (Jonathan Scales, 2011)

LIAM TEAGUE & ROBERT CHAPPELL For Lack of Better Words (Rhythmic Union Records, 2002)

JONATHAN SCALES Jonathan Scales Fourchestra (Ropeadope 2013)

“Five songs- There is no Greater Love; Bag’s Groove; ‘Round Midnight; On Green Dolphin Street; and Asia.” —Amazon.com

“Character Farm & Other Short Stories, is a 45-minute dive deeper into the compositionally-twisted work of steel pannist Jonathan Scales.” —CDBaby

“This album is an amazing display of virtuosity, and that is heard in more than one style of music.” —Amazon.com

“Steel pan jazz fusion artistic complexities for the modern ear.” —CDBaby

Available at Amazon.com

Available at iTunes.com

Available at Amazon.com

SHAKE KEANE Jazz Masters (Stardust Records, 2012) “Keane was a member of the Joe Harriott Quintet, which pioneered freeform and abstract jazz in the UK.” —All Music

Available at iTunes.com

Available at iTunes.com

Read more online at jazz.tt Jazz in the Islands. March 2016 27


LAGNIAPPE:

How to listen to jazz. A lesson from a musician

by Michael Low Chew Tung • parlemusik@gmail.com If you’re new to Jazz, you can sometimes be taken aback by the openness that occurs when jazz musicians play together. Make no mistake, Jazz is improvisation. The musicians on stage are wailing away, living in the moment and painting their impromptu masterpiece on a canvas of silence. From the audience point of view, what’s happening on stage can sometimes seem like dissonant madness. However fear not, I’m about to demystify the madness and help you follow the form. The Form Even though the musicians are improvising, they usually do so within a musical structure or form. Built in to each song are the Melody, the Harmony (chord progression) and most importantly, the Form (the internal structure in terms of measures and sequence of various unique sections). Most of the tunes follow a predictable form like the 12 bar blues or the 32 bar AABA song forms where the A section (8bars) is played, then repeated (8bars) before the B section is introduced (8 bars). Finally the A section returns (8 bars) to finish the form. The Intro The first 8 or 16 measures usually constitute the intro. This could be a rehash of the last 8 or so measures of the tune itself being used as an intro, or simply the band playing the groove of the tune to set up for the melody. The Head Once the intro is done, the 28 Jazz in the Islands

lead player plays the Head. The Head is the melody of the song. It’s the part that most people know when asked to hum a few bars. The head is played through the entire form before going to the solos. The Solos Once the head is done, the real fun begins. Each musician takes a solo. Solos are done on the song form. Each cycle of the form is called a chorus. A soloist may take as many choruses as he can manage but it still follows the structure of the 32 bar AABA form for example. The purpose of the solo is to take the audience on a journey. The soloist may start off slowly, play shorter, more compact phrases that are easy on the ear but as the solo progresses, the soloist may start to vary the rhythm and meter, and add color tones to deliberately create tension. Tension gives you that uneasy feeling where the hairs stand up on the back of your neck. The lines get longer, faster and more frenetic, giving you less chance to breathe until he reaches a

climax and hands the solo off to another musician who then tries to do the same. Meanwhile the band members are listening to the soloist and egging him on by supporting what he’s doing harmonically and occasionally interjecting and adding to his solo. Remember, no matter how chaotic it gets on stage, all the musicians know exactly where they are in the tune because they are following the form. Trading 4s Sometimes, after the solos are done, the musicians might trade 4s. This is where one musician solos for 4 measures then another musician responds and solos for the other 4 measures. They go back and forth, throughout the form either mimicking each other or trying to outdo each other in a friendly battle. The Outro Once all the opportunities for improvising have been milked from the tune, the bandleader would signal to play the head once more. This reminds the audience of what tune they’ve been playing for the past 15 minutes. At the end of the melody, the band might repeat the last 4 measures 3 or 4 times till they all land on some kind of tonic dominant #11 chord, holding it and stretching it out while the everyone takes a last noodle at the tune and the crowd goes wild. There you have it. Happy listening. Have something to add or a comment to make? Send your thoughts to nigel@ jazz.tt so we may include it in our next issue. Read more online at jazz.tt


Read more online at jazz.tt Jazz in the Islands. March 2016 3


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4 Jazz in the Islands

Jazz in the Islands, Issue #3 (Digital)  

Cuban trumpeter Alexis Baro reveals his Guilty Pleasure on disc. And more stories that chronicle jazz in the Caribbean and Caribbean Jazz.

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