Saturday, 28 June 2014

EIJF: Writer's Guild & Mallory Chipman

Jazz Fest: International Edmonton Jazz Festival !!
Next year: I will plan better to attend consistently !!
Write on as many events as I can. For those who care (I hope you do) I'm grieved that I wasn't able to write on every performance. 

It's been great and nicely organized and well managed, congrats to all involved in producing this fine and important Edmonton Festival event. 

I did manage to hear two groups: The Writer's Guild which I heard on Friday at noon and Mallory Chipman and band Friday evening at OSPAC.

The Writer's Guild: is a band that for the most part plays music that each of the members write. The musicians in the band have all improved over the time I've known them (10 years or more) and each has become a master musician in the process. It's impressive !! it feels and sounds like a committed band of musical brothers. I heard a track on CKUA and was impressed by the energy and wit in there reworking of the melody and changes to Recordame by Joe Henderson—it was brilliant. From what I heard on Friday, and today, this band is going to leave an impression and a legacy of great value. They all have a pretty good existing public profiles before coming together in this group so congratulations to Tyson Kerr (keys), Dan Davis ([tenor] sax), Marty Majorowicz (trombone), Efa Etorma (drums) and Josh McHan (bass). They are all hard working committed players and this determination and creativity is proof of their talent and their conviction in their performances.

Mallory Chipman: composes and arranges her complex charts which truly engages her audience's attention (and heart). Her performance in the Emerging Artist Showcase show at the OSPAC was packed and she delivered the 'goods' to an appreciative audience. This person can SING... and improvise with a scatting that has all kinds of elements to it: note for note dynamics, intervallic acuity, jazz language, vocal textures, and plain old virtuosic and engaging creativity and convictive creative spirit. She was charming and erudite in her patter and we all paid attention as her depth came through with that. Did I mention her fantastic voice? Her band (all young men) were up to the task and took their parts seriously and played with a good deal of natural musical savvy. We heard Brett Hansen on guitar (jazz guitar !!), Matt Graham (trumpet and Flugel), Leonard Patterson drums, and Andreas Weghner on bass. They all played well and swung and soloed with a maturity which belied their ages. Well done all !!

Friday, 27 June 2014

EIJF: Magilla Funk

I did have cause to hear Brett Miles group: Magilla Funk !! who performed at Churchill Square on Tuesday. Brett Miles is a dedicated musical artist who over the years continues to create great music and grooves with a core group of Edmonton musicians who support Brett's musical/artistic endeavors with enthusiasm, gusto, and heart. Brett's themes are topical and biographical. The result is an organized group of people surrounding an unstoppable back beat infused with blues and jazz lines purposely written to enhance said back beat and musical themes. It sounds really good and it's fun and what with the high caliber of musicianship within the band, it is also definitely awesome, interesting, and totally worthwhile and uplifting, so Brett deserves a lot of credit for his continuing quest for his art. The band members are quite well known as top Edmonton professional musicians who get better and better. They are: Brett Miles (composition/tenor/keys, and vocals) the profoundly brilliant Bob Tildesly on trumpet, Audrey Ochoa on Trombone. (Audrey is a recording artist in her own right who dazzles and charms audiences throughout the country). Thom Golub on bass (Thom is a fine hard working composer a dedicated musician and family man who is an excellent string bass player as well), Dwayne Hyrnkiw drums and is the secret weapon of the band being a versatile percussionist artist as well. This band boast 3 guitarists !! No folks, this ain't country, it's funk jazz and we need all those guitarists to flesh out the texture of this mega group—its' a 'heavy' group (dating myself there  ). I have known these guitarists for a number of years and their growth has been wonderful to witness Greg Smith (funky guitar creative lines-feel good melodies), Jamie Philp (my former party band buddy, who, apart from being the nicest guy to know, is an ever evolving jazz player whose versatility never ceases to amaze me. And last but not least, Mo Lefever on guitar. Mo is a talented and committed player with a lot of unfailing depth that continues to emerge before our ears and eyes. Yes...!! this is a great group and Congratulations to Brett Miles (what a good name !! ) and the rest of the band !!

EIJF: David Virelles Continuum then PJ Perry

Jazz Fest is such a big part of the creative music mentality and gives us an impulse that keeps our hunger for the groove, no matter narrow or wide to open our ears and minds to the value of music and in this case: Jazz and the Jazz Umbrella !! Now that some of the main events have come and left their high water mark on such a large audience. The jazz events at the Yardbird have been monumentally intense and deep in the broadness and depth of musicianship and committed sensibilities. Case in point: Last night a band from Cuba: David Virelles Continuum group. Such a great pianist and creative technique. This is what I told a friend about it in condensed form:

Cuban Creative Jazz Art Music... They were wonderful understandable avant guard - ish and so complex and so pure... They got a great response !! Ok the drummer was playing the most ecstatic vibe with a fast 8th note feel that always seemed to dangle and turn in itself... like the best tasting water coming out of a fountain for us to drink but never hold it in our hands . The music was so cohesive and sensible with stretched chords with voice leading and structured with motives that were not exactly tonal but !! did it ever work and work with conviction and grace !! Yeah.. the standing ovation was much deserved.. They emitted light !! Very high stuff !!

PJ Perry: I did have a pleasant evening at Brittany's with PJ Perry and band..Some of the sweetest music you're ever going to hear ... I'm hoping that PJ carries on with his gigs there, I will definitely support it with my heart (and my wallet  )

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

EIJF: Al Muirhead's group and Bobby McFerrin

Edmonton International Jazz Festival: Bravo... Keep up the good work. One of the best for our Edmonton Audiences. I'd like to go to more shows too !! I took in a night with Al Muirhead's group. This was a great show and an example of some good creative bebop stuff. Let's face it, can you go wrong with our great Tommy Banks, PJ Perry, Kodi Hutchinson and Tyler Hornby? It was a lively honestly good time. It is terribly difficult to compliment these guys because the humility is built in to the playing. After much protestation at the end of the gig from Tommy as I tried to compliment and praise his playing, I simply had to point out a few of the details of his playing in Joy Spring for example... his answer: "That's a nice tune" ..perfect... Tommy did a spot with Al, and PJ and played a left hand bass line that was so 'up' (whew !!:) that all band members took notice and dug in even harder, It put a smile on this writer's face 

I took in the Bobby McFerrin show and was entertained and moved by much that I heard. A very brave and loose format that really involved the audience almost like a workshop at times what with him doing a call and response thing with the audience. For a proper review on this I recommend Roger Levesque's review in the Edmonton Journal !! Yes it is Spirit You All !!

I had the occasion to go to the Jam at Britanny's Lounge (behind the Winspear) where PJ was holding forth and the place was packed with musicians of all stripes and instruments and the playing, wether PJ's or 4 or 5 of the upcoming Lions of the jazz saxophone, gets better and better ... The future for jazz music and this festival gets better and better.

I'd like to mention that at least 2 other private venues should be credited and supported for their participation in the Jazz Fest: The Blue Chair (sheepishly) I did a trio show there last year and am playing with my trio in the Sunday brunch loop there once in a while [This Sunday June 29 with the trio]. The Blue Chair also hosted the Global TV spot on Monday morning (Global Edmonton On Line). So bravo to The Blue Chair.

Special mention goes to Jeffrey's Wine Bar who has consistently featured music throughout the year and gives exposure and a venue for jazz music and especially to upcoming jazz players and singers..

OK everyone that is my humble report !! Tonight I'm going to hear PJ/Brittany's (PJ should not be missed at anytime) and then the phenomenal Joel Miller and his group... If you want energy, brilliant musical ideas, a little bit of humor, and some absolute KILLER musicianship I urge you to go to the Yardbird tonight and take in at least one set there. Joel Miller is awesome (on fire) !!

Monday, 23 June 2014

EIJF: Myriad3

So as the song says: a change is coming, now there's something to live by !! The more things change the more they stay the same? Personally I love changes, errr chord changes etc. Now in Jazz presentation there is a trending change to composition and formal expansion. It reminds me of the late 60's where themes both musical and lyrical were expanded upon and planned out with some message (always a goodly and well intended message). My favorite band of that era The Collectors Was the first rock band to write an extended form into a suite with a common theme running through it "What Love Suite" still moves me.

OK, now what with the virtual tone poems of Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood and what I heard today at Churchill Square: the Myriad3, the trend has got wheels. So the nitty gritty is this Myriad3 has taken composition with a piano trio format and expanded it into a symphony of jazz.. and that's no understatement. Chris Donnelly the pianist I know from his blog; the other two are equal partners in this musical venture. All three (Ernesto Cervini drums and composition, and Dan Fortin bass and composition). This band should be attended by audiences of thousands, but here we were out  less that 50 people listening) in the sun this morning eating our lunch and having a beer while this group performed their mighty works. The compositions (with no music in sight) were flawlessly performed resonating with feeling verve and drive and expressive technique in massive proportions.. I'm not kidding. The pieces of each band member were featured with the same commitment and ability. These pieces all had their passionate points to make and all were beautiful, captivating, and performed with what might be called extreme commitment and feeling. Chris Donnelly is an astounding performer with obvious classical roots who has studied a lot of jazz. They all had chops but in Chris Donnelly's case I would call what he has 'transcendental technique' and a relaxed but riveted concentration. It was truly humbling for this writer folks. Any induced humility  was soon dissipated because the music took over and kind of enlarged my own concentration as I (and anyone else listening) tried to absorb what was happening, what with layers and surges and hippiness (is that valid?.. I think so..) it was a lot more than clever I'll tell you that !! What can I say..? Buy these worthy guys..go to hear them when ever you can..they are pretty special and if this is indeed a trend, then bring it ON !! They are on iTunes etc. And all the usual places.

Now I did shake the right hand of the piano man, but didn't get a chance to talk to the other two and well, I should have tried harder because they are an obviously equal group and they certainly seem to belong in it. It was a great show..The sound man gave them a standing ovation (me too).

EIJF: Jim Head group

After the Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood concert I had the occasion to go to Britanny's Lounge just behind the Winspear and in time to hear some deep jazz from the Jim Head group. The great master musician Jim Head on guitar, Jamie Cooper on drums (solid), the great Josh McHan bass, and the legendary, Cambell River's gift to Edmonton jazz audiences: Chris Andrew who was playing a cool 'Suitcase Fender Rhodes'. They tossed off a few brilliant arrangements with engaging time feels (You and the Night and the Music in 7 !!!! It was so good hip and unaffected playing and included a jam ... Honorable mention has to go to Dan Davis on tenor who plays with the house band as if he absolutely belongs there !!! (very good music Dan !! )... I got to play one tune: with the band but with Efa Etorma {Enorma !!) on drums... and that was pretty special and a musical bonding experience that left me 'verklempt' as Bob Cairns would say !! Great night and a full house. How about a cheer for Brittany's and this great live music venue. PJ Perry is playing there on a regular basis.. Anytime that happens, I highly recommend that you don't miss it !! I'll see you there !!

EIJF: Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood

OK Medeski, Scofield, Martin, and Wood (EIJF @ The Winspear). Here's the thing: a packed house for them and rightly so. This is the first time I've heard them live (apart from John Scofield) so it was quite the education for me. First of all the rhythm section guys were very solid and involved (especially Chris Wood), so the energy was good and convincing. This band is going to appeal to a fairly broad audience and no one should have been disappointed. John Scofield and the blues, with a very powerful jazz knowledge underneath all those groovy bent notes in his bluesy solos which are always a treatise on taste and sound integration was very effective. John Medeski gave us an unfailing optimism and, gave us all an education as to how a Hammond B3 should be run. Apart from his music depth and content, he is also an extreme master of the B3 drawbars...I've never heard anything like it in terms of his exploitation of expressive potential of that instrument. It was fantastic and for the most part ruled the stage. It was so good... Now his harmonic and compositional depth was also in the fore when he played the piano ... long tones using the complete range of the piano.. He listens to the overtones produced and works with that sensitivity as the lines and textures align with each other seamlessly. So there is all this complexity tucked into a groove with a bluesy rock vibe with a hip twist: I must thank him for awakening my ears to the minor 6th chord or the 12b356 pentatonic scale and how he used it in this bluesy rock pattern.. It's a distinctive sound. I first heard it used that way (check this out) in the Julia Roberts movie: Erin Brokovich. The music background on that (Thomas Newman) was very much what I heard from J.M. Very clever and fresh and open sounding stuff. For me this concert had a lot to offer. They do make you listen. Maybe I'll buy a B3

Saturday, 21 June 2014

EIJF: Rudresh Mahanthappa's Gamak

OK: here's my report  The Edmonton International Jazz Fest's main event for tonight was Rudresh Mahanthappa's Gamak. That's quite a lot of letters but easy enough to spell. THEY WERE FREAKING AWESOME. We were in the company of some solid Giant Talents, first of all the concepts built from statements on Asian sensibilities in the sound makeup and layers and form were positively riveting (still jazz though !!!).

Intentional tuning of certain modalities on RMG's alto saxophone and guitar (Rez Abbasi) seemed to me to be perfectly handled and were obvious so there was no doubt as to what they were doing. They are four gentlemen of the highest caliber, (Rich Brown bass) such organized intensity with breaks and rests going on while the shots (in 7, I figured after a bit) were perfect and apparently mystifying and what with them ringing out and them all with knowing smiles on their faces, it was a joy and a study in exultation (a word I borrowed [2nd hand] from Norma Winstone last night.

They are all basically on the same level: witty, inspired, and so confident. The drummer, I took note, of course was sooo fabulous. I think he was imposing an 8 meter over a 7 thing.. wow ... it was so wonderfully impressive and entertaining to be in the hands of this genius on drums (Dan Weiss) who with a look of quiet confidence that was totally victorious, did all these complexities yet made it all sound like it was simple and easy.. OK buy these guys, you won't be disappointed. When I walked into the Yardbird, it was $30.00 and that bit my slim wallet a bit but It was so worth it and it just proves to me at least, what a value the EIJF is to our music community and the sensibilities therein.

So this is for me, a wave of ecstatic feeling about the festival. I won't be let down I think, by any of the shows coming up. Speaking of which, I have a EIJF brunch gig with the 'Charlie Austin Trio" at the Petroleum Club (I should worry about $30.00 ? it costs $50.00 but the brunch is good and included 
 ) Kudos to Kent Sangster and staff, and volunteers and all the sponsors who invested in the Festival..It's going to be a great week. I hope to see you on the trail !!

The one thing I wanted to and should have said is to acknowledge the musicians we've been listening to at the yardbird and now the EIJF, All the study, practise, listening, thinking, meditation, and never ending dedication it takes to even be moderately qualified is somehow not always understood by audiences.All I'm saying is that when we see/hear musicians performing and improvising, that a lifetime of sacrifice has gone into the result  !!

EIJF: Paul Richey and the Fusionauts

After Norma Winstone's group I headed across the street to the OSPC and heard Paul Richey and the Fusionauts and was pleased to be there. Paul and a great band of locals had put together his compositions in the jazz fusion style.. It was powerful and sensitive too. Mo Lefever played with awesome verve and conviction and the compositions were very hip and well thought out and played with conviction and humility. Everyone came away feeling wonderful about what they heard. Congrats to Paul R. and band: Paul Richey piano and synth (and compositions !!), John Taylor electric bass, Mo Lefever Guitar, Dave Morgan trumpet and Steve Gallant drums (marvelous). It was truly a worthy event for the festival and certainly will draw more and more fans in the future.. Well done!!

EIJF: Norma Winstone Trio

Out last night at the Edmonton International Jazz Fest.. Norma Winstone (vocals) and group—fabulous musicality from Glauco Venier piano and Klaus Gesing on bass clarinet and soprano.. The classiest of classiness.. Beautiful music, nuance, virtuosity, and conviction. They got a much deserved standing ovation.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Bebop Cliché Lines Exploding From The 4 note 'Sound' Chord in V7 Chords.

This is a follow up from the previous blog on Bebop Cliché, and closes the book on this topic for a while.

Ok it's been a while but I have something here that might be of interest. I didn't invent it, it was just laying there to be explored. Obviously it's not new, when I ran it by my friend (jazz pianist and teacher) Hal Galper as if I alone had found this he straightened me out on that score rather quickly so I had to smile at myself a little but !! there may be some of us who could benefit in the improv department not to mention voiceleading. If you have read my blog on the bebop cliche you would notice that I have explored it mostly in a major ii V and a little mention of minor ii V. What I'm thinking (apparently not an original thought) was working with the "Sound" chord: i.e. Fma7(b5)/G, and generating from that the descending bebop cliche line in the 'expansion' of a ii V.

The example I use is Sound 1 (S1 = ma7[b5]) using Fma7(b5) as an example. Just to refresh your memory on the Sound numbers: (using Fma7[b5]) as a Sound 1 (S1) starting point.

FS1 = Fma7(b5)

FS2 = FmiMa7(b5)

FS3 = F7(b5)

FS4 = Fmi7(b5)

FS5 = Fma7(b5)sus4

FS6 = F7(b5)sus4

All of these can represent some sort of G7 chord as in Fma7(b5)/G = G13 etc. or as in FS6, F7(b5)sus4/G = G7(#9#5) etc.

OK, the bebop cliche that expands ii V harmony into some linear action went like:

Figure 1.
               [ FPS1/D——————FPPS1/D————— FPS1/D——————FS1/G ]

                Fma7/D——————Fma7+/D—————Fma7/D——————Fma7(b5)/G =

The distinguishing feature of this exercise is the chromatic line from DmiMa9 (C#) to Dmi9 (C) to G13 (B) [C# C B also B C C#].

Within this 'Sound' chord the chromatic movement produced is (D) C# C B. So what is happening here is basically the movement of the 5th of the F 'Sound".  I realized quite some time ago, that there is at least one other (really 3 other) places to operate a bebop cliche from within the 'Sound' specifically FS1 used here. So here goes.

Fma7(b5) or FS1 can be used over a 'B' root to produce an interesting voicing for mi11(b5) [ B half diminished ]....  When the potential bebop cliche is applied there as in iimi11[b5]) to a V7 chord as in Bmi11(b5)—E7(b9), the result is: (see Figure 2)

Figure 2.


               Fma7/———————Fma7(b5)sus4/B——Fma7/B —————FdimMa7/E

               Bmi11(b5)—————BmiMa11(b5) ———Bmi11(b5) ————E7(b9)
The chromatic line here is: (/B) is A# A G# (also G# A A#).

Now if that idea is applied to G7(#9#5) [Galtdom] or even Db13 using FS6 ( F7[b5]sus4) there can be a similar result. So this is information that may be of some value when applied to making melody and harmony in the improv process.

So here is the outline for FS6 (G7alt or Db13).

FS6/Db [or /G] written as: (with the 'F' note on the bottom of the voicing)

Note that here I'm just using the Dominant as the root of the dominant chord while leaving out the 'ii' root (Ab) so these are all variants of a Dominant: (See Figure 3.)

Figure 3.

                     BPS1/Db[/G]———BPPS1/Db[/G] ————BPS1/Db[/G]———BS1/Db[/G]

                     Bma7/Db[/G]———Bma7+/Db[/G] ————Bma7/Db[/G] ——Bma7(b5)/Db[/G]

                     Db13sus4 ————Db13(#11)—————±—Db13sus4————Db13
The chromatic cliche´ line here is: G F# F (also F F# G)

If FS6 (and/or BS1 and have the same notes in them7) is used as a half diminished chord as in a min ii V, the chord would be Fmi11(b5) as is written here.

Figure 4.


F7(b5)sus4/F ———Fma7(b5)sus4/F—————F7(b5)sus4/F——————BdimMa7/F(—Bb)

Fmi11(b5)—————FmiMa11(b5) ——————Fmi11(b5) ——————Bb7b9
Note that the Bb7b9 has no written b7 but it is implied by the noninterference of the b9.

The chromatic cliche´ here is E Eb D (or D Eb E).

Now that this process is 'explained,' I'll just add up the cliche lines as they emanate from each note of the FS wether FS1 or FS6.


E —(E Eb D or D Eb E)

B —(B C C# or C# C B)

A —(A A# A G# or G# A A#)

F —(F F# G or G F# F)

These can be interpreted according to the root used in FS1 or FS6 ( or !! BS6 or BS1).....

Figure 5.
             G13..b13..5                G13..sus4..#11..5           G13(9)..#9..9..b9            G13..Ma7..1...b9..
             Bmi11(b5)..3..b3       Bmi11(b5)..1..b9..9..b3  Bmi11(b5)..ma7..7..6    Bmi11(b5)..5..b6..6
             Db7alt..#9..9..b9       Db7alt..b7..ma7..1..b9   Db7alt..+5..6..b6..5       Db7alt 3..4..#4..5
             Fma7(b5)..ma7..7..6   Fma7(b5)..b5..5..#5..6  Fma7(b5)..3..4..3..b3  Fma7(b5)..1..b9..9..#9
Over G13, E Eb D creates a chromatic line moving between the 13th the b13th and the 5th
Over G13, B C C# creates a chromatic line moving between the 3rd the sus4 and the #11
Over G13, A# A G# creates a chromatic line moving between the #9 the 9 and the b9
Over G7 (G13), F F# G creates a chromatic line moving between the 7th, the ma7 and the root.

Over Bmi11(b5), E Eb D creates a chromatic line moving between the 11 the (major) 3rd and the b3
Over Bmi11(b5), B C C# creates a chromatic line moving between the root, the b9 and the 9 (fast b9)
Over Bmi11(b5), A# A G# creates a chromatic line moving between the Ma7, the b7 and the 6th (3rd/V
Over Bmi11(b5), F F# G creates a chromatic line moving between the b5, the 5th and the b6.

Over Db13, E Eb D creates a chromatic line moving between the #9 the 9 and the b9
Over Db13, B C C# creates a chromatic line moving between the b7 the Ma7 and the root
Over Db13, A# A G# creates a chromatic line moving between the 13 the b13 and the 5th
Over Db13, F F# G creates a chromatic line moving between the 3rd the 11 and the #11.

Over Fmi11(b5), E EbD creates a chromatic line between the Ma7 the b7 and the 6th (bebop clich´e)
Over Fmi11(b5), B C C# creates a chromatic line between the b5 the 5th and the #5
Over Fmi11(b5), A# A G# creates a chromatic line between the 11th the major 3rd and the b3rd 
Over Fmi11(b5) ,F F# G creates a chromatic line between the Ma7 the root the b9 and the 9. 

Some of these moves are obviously to be done as passing tones. You will no doubt hear which ones they are. I'm glad I put it up as it helps to clarify things in my own mind. Will anyone pick up the torch here?