Tag Archives: Jazz

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Album Review: Harris Eisenstadt – Canada Day IV

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The concept of creating something natural sounding is made especially hard when progressive songwriting and virtuosic instrumental playing come into play.  Progressive artists are often led down a path leading to a world of mathematical problems in place of beautiful sound and often the music loses its original purpose.  What makes Harris Eisenstadt’s Canada Day IV special is the way in which his compositions incorporate progressive songwriting techniques while maintaining a beautiful overall sound accessible to the average listener.  Songwriting ideas such as odd meter, dynamic texture, and free playing have been bathed in subtlety and are presented in a fresh, interesting way that never becomes obnoxious or excessive.

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The Montreal Sessions with Craig Pedersen: November 3, 2015

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Tuesday marked the premiere of Craig Pedersen as the host of November’s The Montreal Sessions, and he brought with him a new approach to jazz, both classic and experimental. A man of many talents, Montreal’s own Pedersen is a trumpet player, composer, and educator, and is the frontman of the Craig Pedersen Quartet. No newcomer to the improv jazz scene, Pedersen has released a total of eight albums since 2011, and published a book on exploratory trumpet techniques in 2014. Clearly, we couldn’t have a better man for the job!

In the first hour, Pedersen played music that he has enjoyed, from artists he admires and uses as inspiration for his own work. The set was a combination of recorded and live tracks, and flowed from freeform jazz to musiques actuelles, and returned occasionally to classic jazz, with vocals and without.

In the second hour, Pedersen had guest performer Elizabeth Millar on the show for an interview and live performance. Pedersen and Millar have collaborated together on the album The Sound of the Mountain, and their conversation was effortless and flowing, with the pair alternating questions for each other about their different techniques and approaches to music. Millar is a free-improvisation clarinet player who believes in expressing a “sound language,” making modifications to her clarinet to create different, non-traditional sounds. The two musicians talked about memory and spatial awareness in improv music, and how it helped create a special form for the genre.

In the last half hour, the pair performed some of their collaborations from The Sound of the Mountain, using their instruments to improvise a very complex blend of sounds and rhythms.

We’re definitely interested to hear what Craig Pedersen has in store for next week! Tune in Tuesdays from 3-5 pm for the month of November for some new sounds coming out of the jazz world. The full-length show is available for listening in the archives here.

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Concert Review: Chance The Rapper

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There have been a lot of issues with Spotify, streaming, and many other aspects of the digital music age lately.  Big name artists have become more outspoken about music corporations and their ability to make money off of someone else’s art without paying them back for it and a lot of people seem to be left in a state of “how do I make money?”  U2’s response was to forcibly download their album onto every iPhone on the planet, which supposedly proved that they were not in it for the money, but left no one particularly happy.  A certain country/pop artist who is not exactly in desperate need of any more publicity had her world famous remarks about Spotify, but in the midst of all this controversy, there’s one particular genre that has truly embraced the mentality that artists do not make music so that “people can pay for it;” hip hop.  From Run The Jewels’ crowdfunded, for-charity remix album to Big K.R.I.T.’s insane datpiff collection (a free mixtape downloading website), many a hip hop artist has taken it upon themselves to put their audience and art in front of their chart placement and moneymaking.  Perhaps at the forefront of this mentality, is the collective Social Experiment ensemble headed by Donnie Trumpet and the one and only Chance the Rapper.  I had a chance to see this group play last week and the amazing results of their live set are rooted in their grassroots, “not in it for the money” mentality. Continue reading

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Album Review: Darius Jones’ 4tet – Le bébé de Brigitte

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The brilliance of Darius Jones’ 4tet on their new release Le bébé de Brigitte cannot be explained, written down, or repeated.  The piece is not intended to be the most complicated collection of notes ever written on paper, nor does it wish to be presented in meters or scales that are not accessible to the listener, and it certainly does not serve as another huge display of a bunch of musicians and their impeccable playing techniques. Instead, Jones has created a compilation album of the most perfectly selected nuanced sound effects resulting in an eclectic blend of jazz greatness. Continue reading

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Album Review: Tony Wilson 6tet – A Day’s Life

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It is rare for someone to display as many unique pieces as Tony Wilson has on his new release “A Day’s Life.” Through the inclusion of beautiful ballads, intensity-building swing pieces, and experimental noise jams, Wilson has created an all encompassing modern jazz album that maintains excitement from start to finish.

One aspect  of “A Day’s Life” that separates it from the pack is its use and depth of contrast.  The album can be analyzed as a whole, in individual songs, and in groups of songs always resulting in a contrasting piece of sound that never becomes stale.  When listened to in its entirety, “A Day’s Life” can essentially be seen as a series of ups and downs with quiet peaceful songs melting into energy-building, repetitive bass lines eventually turning into high-intensity, electronic explosions. These explosions digress into other ballads and interludes and the cycle begins again.  Although the album is best when listened to all the way through, it can also be broken up into individual pieces and enjoyed just as vigorously. The piece “Two Tempos” is especially intriguing. By consistently combining a driving swing tempo and an out of time free feeling, “Two Tempos” truly epitomizes the notion of contrast in a short six minute period. Continue reading

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Album Review: Busty and the Bass – Glam

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Busty and the Bass has been a big topic of discussion around the McGill bubble and the entire city of Montreal over the past year and with the release of their new album, Glam, it appears the band can do no wrong. Notorious for their charismatic stage presence, precise horn lines, and ‘expect the unexpected’ attitude, Busty and the Bass have created an album indicative of their live energy without sacrificing musicality. Continue reading

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Album Review: Jaga Jazzist – Starfire

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One of the most important concepts in modern music is fusion. Each style of music can only be advanced so far, but when you start borrowing from other genres the possibilities are much more endless. This mentality is the inspiration behind the album Starfire by Jaga Jazzist. This album is a true fusion album as it uses the conventions of both electronic dance music and modern jazz to create a very new and unique sound. On the electronic side of things, the album really fits into each of the typical conventions. Just on the surface the album sounds like electronics. The group uses many different synthesized electronic and digital sounds to create repetitive melodies that build in energy leading into each other. It’s not so much distinctive bass drops as it is smooth transitions from section to section, but the effect is essentially the same; energy is being manipulated in different ways. Also, whenever the music stays in 4/4 for extended periods of time it drives like a piece that would be used for dancing (hence the term electronic DANCE music). When the piece shifts into a more typically modern jazz time signatures the feel changes quite a bit, but it is very interesting to these contrasting ideas of meter used harmoniously. Continue reading

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Album Review: Tim Berne – You’ve Been Watching Me

tim berneTim Berne has been a major component of the avant-garde jazz scene since the 1980s and his latest work certainly does not disappoint. You’ve Been Watching Me has been circling the CKUT charts for a good chunk of the summer and it really is the perfect level of unique, underground modern jazz that the station strives to broadcast.

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New Shit with Chris Corsano and Mette Rasmussen

If you happened to be listening in on Monday’s edition of New Shit, you’ll know that we were lucky enough to have drummer Chris Corsano and alto-saxophonist Mette Rasmussen perform live for us in the studio. With crazy talented improvisations and interesting techniques (including putting seemingly random items in instruments), the result was a myriad of jazzy sounds that were something else entirely.

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In the case that you missed out, don’t worry. You can check out the episode here. If you like what you hear, and we think you will, Chris and Mette have released an album worth hearing called All The Ghosts At Once. Jam out to your hearts content, and tune back to CKUT for more exciting performances and guests!

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If You Got Ears with Ssurfacing: June 10th 2015

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In the mood for some relaxation? Charlotte Loseth from Ssurfacing has got your back. Tune in your souls for a gentle session of If You Got Ears, ‘c a l m‘ edition, today from 12 till 2pm to hear a selection of ambient and jazz sounds.

For more information about Charlotte and this month’s show, see our website.