La Scena Musicale

Saturday, December 29, 2007

New Arts Recipients of the Order of Canada

Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, announced today 61 new appointments to the Order of Canada. See the press release.

Notable amongst the recipients are the following for arts related activities:

  • Michael Snow, C.C., Toronto, Ontario, Companion of the Order of Canada. For his contributions to international visual arts as one of Canada's greatest multidisciplinary contemporary artists. This is a promotion within the Order. See official bio and wiki bio.
  • Marie Chouinard, O.C., Montreal, Quebec, Officer of the Order of Canada.
    For her contributions to modern dance as an internationally renowned dancer and choreographer. See bio and official website

  • Douglas Gordon (D.G.) Jones, O.C., North Hatley, Quebec, Officer of the Order of Canada. For his contributions to Canadian literature as an influential poet, mentor, editor and translator. See wiki bio

  • Donat Lacroix, O.C., Caraquet, New Brunswick, Officer of the Order of Canada. For his contributions to the promotion of Acadian culture and traditions, through his songs and poetry.

  • Grant Munro, O.C., Westmount, Quebec, Officer of the Order of Canada. For his innovative contributions in the fields of animation and filmmaking throughout his 45-year career with the National Film Board of Canada. See bio.

  • Adrianne Pieczonka, O.C., Toronto, Ontario, Officer of the Order of Canada. For her contributions as one of the top opera singers of her generation and as an artistic ambassador for Canada. Official website.

  • Steven Staryk, O.C., Scottsdale, Arizona, U.S.A. and Toronto, Ontario, Officer of the Order of Canada. For his contributions as a musician, concertmaster and teacher, and as one of Canada's most-recorded violinists. See bio.

  • Jeff Wall, O.C., Vancouver, British Columbia, Officer of the Order of Canada. For his contributions as an influential art photographer whose work has been exhibited around the world, and for his mentorship of a generation of young artists. See wiki bio

  • Garry W. Anderson, C.M., Cranbrook, British Columbia, Member of the Order of Canada. For his contributions to heritage conservation, notably as the driving force behind the creation of the Canadian Museum of Rail Travel and the Cranbrook Archives, Museum and Landmark Foundation.

  • John Barron, C.M., Komoka, Ontario, Member of the Order of Canada. For his contributions to music education and choral development for young people in Canada.

  • Carol Gay Bell, C.M., Regina, Saskatchewan, Member of the Order of Canada. For her contributions as an artistic director who has promoted and developed young actors, singers and dancers in Saskatchewan. See bio

  • Hélène-Andrée Bizier, C.M., Montreal, Quebec, Member of the Order of Canada.
    For her contributions to promoting Quebec's history and culture through her books and multimedia products. See wiki bio.

  • Thea Borlase, C.M., Moncton, New Brunswick, Member of the Order of Canada. For her contributions to culture in New Brunswick, particularly for her role in developing artists from the province's two cultural and linguistic communities.

  • Marcien Ferland, C.M., La Salle, Manitoba, Member of the Order of Canada. For his contributions to the preservation and promotion of the Franco-Manitoban and Métis cultures, as choir director, composer and founder of the Chorale des Intrépides. See bio.

  • Mallory Gilbert, C.M., Toronto, Ontario, Member of the Order of Canada. For her contributions to the success of Toronto's Tarragon Theatre, and for helping foster a vibrant national theatre scene.

  • Valerie Hussey, C.M., Toronto, Ontario, Member of the Order of Canada.
    For her contributions to the development of Canadian children's fiction and non-fiction as head of a major children's publishing house, and for her work as a dedicated volunteer with industry and non-profit organizations.

  • Bruce Pullan, C.M., Delta, British Columbia, Member of the Order of Canada.
    For his contributions to the development of singers of all ages, as a professor of music and as a founder and director of numerous choirs. See bio

  • Paul Shaffer, C.M., Bedford, New York, U.S.A. and Thunder Bay, Ontario, Member of the Order of Canada.
    For his contributions as an internationally renowned musician who has also shared his time and talents with educational, health care and arts groups, notably as a supporter of Epilepsy Canada, the Kiwanis Music Festivals of Canada and Lakehead University.

  • Jeffrey Spalding, C.M., Calgary, Alberta and Jeddore, Nova Scotia, Member of the Order of Canada.
    For his contributions as a champion of Canadian artists, notably as a curator who has developed popular exhibitions that have attracted new audiences to Canadian art galleries. See bio

  • T. Kenneth Thorlakson, C.M., Winnipeg, Manitoba, Member of the Order of Canada.
    For his contributions as a volunteer and fundraiser dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Icelandic heritage and culture in Manitoba.

  • Richard B. Wright, C.M., St. Catharines, Ontario, Member of the Order of Canada.
    For his contributions as a writer of modern fiction, whose many novels, including the award-winning Clara Callan, have enriched Canadian literature. See wiki bio

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Monday, December 24, 2007

Oscar Peterson has Died

Canadian Jazz legend Oscar Peterson passed away yesterday (December 23, 2007) of kidney failure in Mississauga, Ontario.

Wrote Richard Beauchamp at CJAD:

During his half-century career, he's played with such jazz giants as Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Charlie Parker, Coleman Hawkins and Ella Fitzgerald...among others...and is regarded as one of the finest jazz pianists of all time.

He was born in Montreal on August 15, 1925, and was raised in Little Burgundy. He arrived in New York City -- then the jazz capital of the world -- in 1949, at the invitation of legendary jazz impresario Norman Granz.

He received numerous honours throughout his career, including the Order of Canada, and a lifetime achievement Grammy in 1997. Concordia University's named its concert hall at Loyola Campus in his honour in 1999.
He will be missed.

Give us your comments.

Visit our Oscar Peterson spotlight for the tributes.

WKC: Here is a video of Oscar Peterson found at Natasha Gauthier's blog

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Last orders

For those still filling in their worst-ever classical Christmas track, there's a late surge of support for Robert Alagna's Sleigh Ride Medley on DG's We Wish You A Merry Xmas album. No more egregious assault on English language and cadence has been heard since the late King Lucy slaughtered cod lyrics to Adolphe Adam's Cantique de Noel - dee star (sic) are brytlee shyning, eet ees dee nyte - in duet with Crown Prince Placido on untouchable Sony.

There's also a specially written slice of mince on that selfsame album by Placido Domingo Jr - well, it's the season when families get together, isn't it?

By popular demand, lines for your worst-ever votes remain open til New Year's Eve.

And those of you slumped before a UK telly at teatime on Xmas Eve can see a fine BBC2 doc on King Lucy's greater moments.

Source: Artsjournal

Au Rayon du disque décembre 2007 / Off the Record December 2007

par / by Charles Collard, Félix-Antoine Hamel, Paul Serralheiro

Taylor Ho Bynum Sextet : The Middle Picture
Firehouse 12 FH12-04-01-002
Although cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum includes a version of Miles Davis' "In A Silent Way" in this his latest album, he is far from a Davisian clone; his use of growls and all kinds of muted sounds would rather place him firmly in the post-Ellington camp. A frequent collaborator (and former student) of Anthony Braxton, Bynum explores various structures and sound textures in The Middle Picture, with help from Matt Bauder (reeds), Mary Halvorson (guitar) and Jessica Pavone (viola, bass)-all members of Braxton's large ensemble as well-plus guitarist Evan O'Reilly and drummer Tomas Fujiwara. This dynamic, guitar-heavy and sometimes noisy group is also capable of beautiful moments, like the reworking of Billy Strayhorn's "Bluebird Of Delhi" from Duke Ellington's Far East Suite, and the cuban-like figure that closes the following mm(pf). The most ambitious piece here is the three-part "JP & the Boston Suburbs," which starts with a floating conversation between brass, saxophone and guitars, turns into a percussion statement by Fujiwara, then segues into a ferocious guitar interlude, with thematic interpolation by the horns. The third part ("aka Knit & Swim") has more of a Braxtonian theme. The sparser trio of Bynum, Halvorson and Fujiwara is also featured, both opening and closing this album, recommended to anyone interested in the future of jazz. (Bynum, Pavone, Halvorson and Fujiwara also form a touring collective named The Thirteenth Assembly, which will appear in town on December 6 at the Casa Del Popolo.) FAH

A Pair of Threes
Wilson/Lee/Bentley : Escondido Dreams
Drip Audio DA00206
This disc will surprise most listeners, as this is no ordinary guitar trio. From the instrumentation (guitar, cello, saxophone) to the approach to textures, form and melodies, this is a creative encounter of distinct voices on the Vancouver improvised music scene. Tony Wilson's guitar is unlike any other for its ability to go from mellow to monstrous and many shades in between, as in the delicate orientalisms of "Laxing Lizards Resume" and the growling sound-effects of "Floating Island." Cellist Peggy Lee brings her usual contemplative playing, as well as many an adventurous streak in her sound conception. Saxophonist Bentley, the youngest of the group, has a lyrical, light touch that fits in perfectly as a contrasting voice against the intensity of Wilson's keening guitar and the wizardry of Lee's cello. The melodic material can be described as musing and meditative, but comes across in a variety of tempi and forms, all boldly coloured by the different personalities of the musicians. Despite some moments of directionless meandering in the solos, there is a refreshing dose of exciting risk-taking. PS

NHØP Trio : The Unforgettable NHØP Trio Live
ACT 9464-2
No one would contest the claim that the late Danish jazzman Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen was a major voice on the bass. His passing in 2005 at age 58 was a sad loss for jazz. This disc features the bassist's trio in live settings: in Denmark in 1999 and in Germany in 2005, about a month before his sudden passing. It is nice to hear the bass take the melody as often as it does, from the opening "The Bach Piece," to "The Song is You" and "Our Love is Here to Stay." Pedersen sounds just as good on the two Scandinavian folk songs included here. As for his trio cohorts, they are accomplished musicians who can keep up with their leader, though they do not match the individuality of his voice. Having played together for the last 10 years of the bassist's life, this unit is both cohesive and tight. Guitarist Ulf Wakenius for one has some burning moments, as in his own scorching "Lines," and some imaginative solos throughout, although he gets a little predictable in spots. Drummer Jonas Johansen has a nice light way with swing, with a few surprising splashes of colour and unexpected accents along the way. PS

Yannick Rieu : Saint-Gervais
Justin Time JTR 8356-2
L'un des saxophonistes les plus remarquables du jazz d'ici, Yannick Rieu ne s'est jamais gêné pour afficher ses affinités avec les grandes figures du saxo ténor moderne, en l'occurrence John Coltrane et Sonny Rollins. Son plus récent opus, enregistré dans un club parisien en décembre dernier, s'inscrit nettement dans la lignée rollinsienne, avec un mouvement de la Freedom Suite du grand ténor - qu'il avait déjà interprétée en entier sur Sweet Geom (Les disques Victo), en 1994 - et quelques standards américains dignes du grand Sonny (I'll Never Stop Loving You, Like Someone In Love et I Hear A Rhapsody). Sobrement accompagné par le contrebassiste Nicolas Rageau et le batteur Philippe Soirat, Rieu reprend également ses compositions Following et In The Myth. On ne peut s'empêcher de penser que le saxophoniste lorgne dans son rétroviseur et même si c'est fort agréable à écouter, les fidèles du saxophoniste trouveront peu à se mettre sous la dent, ou plutôt dans l'oreille. Trois étoiles pour le répertoire, une autre demie pour la qualité de jeu. FAH

Jane Fair : Chances Are
Cellar Live Cl 033003
Difficile destin que celui de Jane Fair, saxophoniste approchant la soixantaine, dont le principal titre de gloire se résumait à un album en quintette enregistré au début des années 1970 pour le compte de la CBC. Une femme de sa génération ne pouvait percer sur son instrument, le ténor, contrairement à nombre de collègues masculins, parfois musiciens moins accomplis. Après avoir terminé ses études à Montréal, elle jouera épisodiquement en ville avant de s'exiler à Toronto où elle se consacrera à l'enseignement. Au fil des ans, elle reviendra dans la métropole pour retrouver des amis d'antan, entre autres Guy Nadon et Andrew Homzy. Après plus de 30 ans à rouler sa bosse dans l'ombre, elle refait surface avec ce CD de cinq morceaux captés en direct au Cellar de Vancouver en 2003. Élégance et grâce, selon nulle autre que Jane Bunnett, une de ses anciennes élèves. Cohérente dans son ensemble et pleine de bonnes idées musicales, la performance ne manque pas de beaux moments, notamment le dialogue improvisé avec le guitariste Bill Coon sur le standard Lazy Afternoon. La saxophoniste montre l'étendue de son expérience dans ses trois compositions originales, la première donnant son titre au disque. Pour les surprises, on cherchera peut-être ailleurs, mais ce jazz intemporel est bien ficelé, agrémenté comme il l'est par un soupçon cool de la West Coast. CC

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