LSM Newswire

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

New Jazz with a Classical Twist: Every raindrop tells a story

Every raindrop tells a story
Introducing 'Raindrops', the third album from inimitable Newfoundland guitarist, Duane Andrews


Duane Andrews' music is born of an adventurous spirit and a love of music that transcends category. Uniting the Gypsy Jazz of legendary guitarist Django Reinhardt with traditional Newfoundland music, classical training and contemporary composition, Duane's music soars.

From this multiple award-winning guitarist, composer, producer and international touring artist comes a new album 'Raindrops'. This is the best evidence yet of a truly unique musical vision.

The title track of the album, 'Raindrops' represents the three key elements that are most important to Duane. It is a waltz learned from Art Stoyles, a Newfoundland accordionist whose repertoire reflects music passed on by Portuguese sailors who frequented the port of St. John's (Duane's hometown) years ago. The accordion style is closely related to the French musette music Django Reinhardt played in his early years. Duane's new arrangement brings a modern edge to the tune with influences from Anton Webern, a pioneer of atonal music.

Listening to Duane's first two award-winning albums ('Duane Andrews' 2004; 'Crocus' 2006) one can hear the refinement of his blend of Django Reinhardt's influence with a traditional Newfoundland sound. 'Raindrops' is the next step in the artist's musical progression and it introduces a new element the contemporary classical composition that was the focus of Duane's studies in conservatories in France in the late 90s.

"It's like there are three sides to me as a musician," says Duane. "Newfoundland music, Django and this contemporary compositional element which is somewhat abstract and not really a genre. With the new album I have been able to bring in a realm of music I've spent a lot of time exploring but haven't really integrated into my own style, until 'Raindrops'."

In addition to the clear, melodic trumpet of Patrick Boyle a hallmark of Duane's music and the rhythm guitar and bass that round out his quartet, Duane invited additional strings into the recording studio for the first time. There are three tracks featuring the renowned Atlantic String Quartet including a rousing rendition of Reinhardt's 'Blue Drag', as well as a cello-guitar duet.

"The first album was a trio - two guitars and a bass, then I expanded to a quartet by bringing in Patrick Boyle on trumpet. This time we've got a quintet including vibraphone plus a string quartet," says Duane. "I'm really emphasizing the forms and textures to a greater degree than I ever have. I can't wait for people to hear it I'm very proud of this music."

Recorded this past March, the self-produced album is a breakthrough in Duane's musical journey. His playing on tracks like 'Bees and Flowers/Joe Smallwood's Reel' is blissful and astounding in its technical brilliance. On 'DD's Blues' Django's influence is clear, but this original composition is far more than homage it is filled with original joyfulness, and resonates with Duane's inimitable style.

Five of the 11 tracks on the album are Duane's compositions. The remaining six comprise original arrangements of a classic French musette waltz, traditional Newfoundland tunes and reels from two of the "Fathers of the Newfoundland Fiddle" Rufus Guinchard and Emile Benoit, and a new take on Charles Mingus' 'Fable of Faubus'.

The compositions are technically complex, yet they are presented with such zest, potent skill and flair for storytelling that the music will hold listeners enthralled in the sheer pleasure of emotional communication. Not only will the technically savvy get it, the mainstream music lover will also fall in love with the music that pours from 'Raindrops'.

The album received a Newfoundland release earlier this year. Over the summer of 2008 Duane completed a Canadian Jazz and Folk festival tour, introducing 'Raindrops' to audiences across the country. Next steps include performing at the Deep Roots Festival in Wolfville, NS on September 26th, a touring show featuring a string quartet collaboration, a November 1st appearance in St. John's with the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra and a mid-November central-Canadian tour.

'Raindrops' is now available in stores across Canada and online around the world.

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