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JazzBulletin   -   Thursday January 19 2017 to Wednesday February 1 2017

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Bassist Omer Avital's Quintet at the NY's Zinc Bar Friday January 6th, part of the 2017 Winter Jazzfest, one of my fav concerts.

omer_avital_150X150.jpgOne of my fav concerts at the NY 2017 Winter Jazzfest was bassist Omer Avital's Quintet at the Zinc Bar on Marathon Day 1, January 6th 2017. I'd seen and filmed him with his Quartet at Upstairs back in 2012 and it was a treat to see him once again. I caught up with him at home a few days after the concert.
CT - Omer that was a great concert at Zinc's last week, how important are your roots in your music?
OA - It's an integral part of what I do and it's been different in different phases in my life. I grew up with a certain type of music, then I heard all kinds of music and fell in love with jazz and blues and Middle Eastern music. I thouroughly studied and played these styles and later on rediscovered some of my heritage, my cultural traditions, which was very rich, whether it's North African music of different varieties or yemeni music in general or music from the Levant. Sometimes it was more naturel and sometimes I actually studied it, for example I studied the oud and its specific kind of music. So I guess it's been weaved into my life and musical journey. Most of what I do is jazz which kind of takes everything into itself while keeping it's original intention anyway.
CT - This was, I think you said, a premier NY gig for this band...
OA - This specific band has been alive for 10 years off and on, the last 3-4 years have been very steady and growing. This is actually the 3rd version of the quintet and this one is very very good. I'm very excited about it, actually everybody's very excited and yes it's the first time we played in NY. Pianist Eden Ladin joined us this summer. We made a record soon after the Zinc concert and it should be out in the fall. Everything we played at the Zinc will be part of it. This band is going on the road next week starting with a real nice concert at Tel Aviv's Opera House with two great  singers that I love from over there, one of them is Ravid Kahalani, a Yemenite singer and the other Haya Samir, one of the greatest singers from that area. So we'll do more of that kind of Middle Eastern music with the quintet, which I've never done before in this kind of setting. Then we're going to Milano, Italy and then to France, Switzerland, and London, and on we go. We'll be touring almost every month in Europe.
CT - You played "Beauty and The Beast"...what is that piece about? it sounded familiar...
OA - I agree with this feeling of familiarity. I think it's an achievement if it does that. My explanation - and I've heard that before about my songs - is that I write them like this, when I write a song and it sounds great, I didn't really write it, I just heard it. Where did I hear it?, I don't know, it comes from inside. So that feeling of familiarity is something that I'm in touch with when I write the music. That's the spiritual take, the more physical take is that we're influenced by things all the time because that's how when you get to those moments, I love the greatest music in the world and I try to take some from everybody, so I think that a song like Beauty and The Beast, when you hear it at first it's like the perfect song and it doesn't need anything, it has that sixties vibe and a little of Wayne (Shorter) and Herbie (Hancock) but it's not like this in form and it may even remind you of some modern european music and at the same time it's a little soulful. It's got all these parts. I wrote it in part when I was at the University of Jerusalem 14 years ago studying classical composition and also in part after 10 years in NY, and at that point I had a different style. I was listening to Bartok and Stravinksi and I wrote a bunch of pieces that I never released. So ideas for that piece also came from that period where I was going for something a little more chromatic, modernistic. So that's the story about that tune. It's very different from the rest of my songs. It's been also recorded by saxophonist Greg Tardy on his last album., Chasing After The Wind.
CT - You've always got some very exciting Montreal a while back at Upstairs when I filmed you on "One" you were with Jonathan Blake and at the Ziinc Bar you were with Ofri bassists have a different way of choosing a drummer?
OA - I think everybody's looking for that kind of stuff in a drummer but I guess so, I guess you're right, I never thought of it like this. I've played with all kinds of different drummers. I don't really have a kind of drummer that I like to play with, I've played with different types of drummers. Obviously hooking up with the drummer is essential, I'm definitely trying to get to those levels of tightness and drive.
CT - Your fav bass players?
OA - At some point I think I tried to transcribe and learn most of the bass players, I had phases, like everybody. At some point it helped me create my own sound so I didn't really sound like anybody else. I have many favorites...everybody...basically. Like Ray Brown for the swing, the solos and the smile in his playing, Ron Carter for his bass lines and smooth approach, Charlie Haden for the melodies, Garrison for the feel, Scott LaFaro for the courage he had, Mingus for the it's endless you know...Jaco Pastorius at some point in his early period and on and on...Eddie Gomez. At some point it would just try to get into whoever I could...Sam Jones was also really one of my favorites. So all kinds of different people in different periods. But then I moved on to sax players like Charlie Parker for example, because transcribing sax and piano solos really helped me get away from the bass sound in my solos, I wanted to play solos like a sax player.
CT - If you could play with anybody at all, dead or alive, who would that be?
OA - There's so many...I would say Beethoven performing the 9th Symphony, also Charlie Parker, just being anywhere near Charlie Parker, obviously all the Art Blakey, Elvin Jones. Elvin Jones is one of my favorite musicians, he's one of my greatest influences in my music because he's sort of re-invented rhythm and the way we know it.  Whatever I do rhythmically comes out of Elvin Jones. I know a lot of people that played with him but I never got to play with him, I heard him many times and never understood what he was playing, it's like magic. Bud Powell would be great to play with, also...Jimmy Hendrix. A lot of times when you grown up you try to imagine what's inside Charlie Parker's brain, and I also spent many years trying to imagine what Beethoven or Mozart thought when they played. Zohar Argov - a great Israeli yemenite singer, one of my idols - I grew up listening to him, he revolutionised a certain kind of singing. I would've loved just to play a moment with him. But in the end it's all about you and your music because anything that you want, you're the only one who can do it...
Omer Avital Quintet : Omer Avital - bass / Asaf Yuria - sax / Alexander Levin - sax / Eden Ladin - piano and keyboards / Ofri Nehemya - drums
Friday, January 6th set list at the Zinc : Daber Elay Africa  / Turkish Coffee Blue / Beauty and the Beast  / Immigration  / One Man's Light Is Another Man's Night  / Bombolero
For more info :

Interview : Claude Thibault, Editor

This feature is presented in collaboration with Twigg Musique

Harpist Edmar Castaneda at NY's New School 5th Floor Theater, Saturday January 7th, part of the 2017 Winter Jazzfest, another one of my fav concerts.

edmar_castaneda.jpgHarpist Edmar Castaneda was also at the Winter Jazzfest on Marathon Day 2, January 7th 2017 with his World Ensemble. His music is a great mix of Colombian-inspired harp music (llanera) and jazz. I'd never heard much jazz on the harp so this was a unique first. I had a few words with Edmar at home in Queens.
CT - Is the Edmar Castaneda World Project your main project ?
EC - I have different projects that I work with but the World Ensemble is something new, a 9-piece band with musicians from all over the world, from Israel, Switzerland, Chile, NY,  Colorado...and Colombia.
CT - The instrumentation of the World Ensemble is also unique and the connection in between the harp, harmonica, flute, trombone really stand did that happen?
EC - I actually chose that instrumentation because I regularly play with all these musicians and I know them well. Each of these guys have a different way a passion for playing. And they bring their influence from their countries in the World Ensemble. So I just got my friends together and I arranged these instruments (flute/soprano sax/harmonica/trombone) like a big harp, which is what I play with my right hand, with the piano supporting it all. I orchestrated the whole band like a big harp. And they all have their own sound. I really love their playing.
CT - How did you start playing the harp?
EC - It actually started with when I was 7, dancing on Llanera, a typical Colombian folk music. The harp is the main instrument of this music from the plains of Colombia and Venezuela. So that's the first time I heard the harp, after that I started studying it when I was 13.
CT - How did you into jazz?
EC - When I was 16 we moved to NY and that's where I heard jazz for the first time. I got connected to Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington, Miles and I fell in love with the music.
CT - With jazz, did you have to re-invent your way of playing the harp?
EC - Yes I did, playing the bass lines, the harmony and the melody all at the same time. I actually studied and graduated college as a trumpet player because I wanted to learn the language of jazz and because I couldn't do it with the harp. So the trumpet was a bridge for me, to understand and to feel jazz. This music that I write is influenced by the Colombian folk music llanera mixed in with brazilian, african, jazz, funk, and NY's influence as well, and improvisation. Because the harp is diatonic I had to create a way of playing sharps and make it sound not as much diatonic as it is, as well as create different modes and possibilities. I'd already changed the look of the harp, the strings and other things but this harp that I'm playing was built by a french company that I work with, Camac, so we did this together. They created the levers that I use for the half-notes. It's called the EC Llanera.
CT - Are you influenced by bass players?
EC - Yes, like Jaco Pastorius for example. But there's so many, I learn from them, for example with John Patittuci that I play with. Marcus Miller also.
CT - If you could play with anybody, dead or alive, who would that be?
EC - I would play with God, I would be happy forever.
CT - Tell us about a WOW moment in your carreer?
EC - So many but I guess one would be when I played with Paquito D'Rivera for the movie Calle 54 at the Beacon Theatre, I'd just finished College and I was quite young and had studied all these jazz greats and they were all playing together that night. That was WOW!
CT - What's coming up for you?
EC - I'll be doing a world tour with pianist Hiromi including a concert at the Montreal Jazz Fest June 30th, 2017.
Edmar Castaneda World Ensemble : Edmar Castaneda - harp /  Sholomi Cohen - sax / Marshall Gilkes - trombone / Itai Kriss - flute / Andrea Tierra - vocal /  Gregoire Maret - harmonica /  Pablo Vergara - piano, keyboard /  Dave Silliman - percussion / drums
Saturday, January 7th set list at the New School : Entre Cuerdas / For Jaco / Jesus de Nazareth / Carrao Carrao / Quita Pesares
For more info :

Interview : Claude Thibault, Editor

This feature is presented in collaboration with Twigg Musique

Finalists in the concert de l'année, disque de l'année, créations de l'année jazz and musiques du monde of the 20th Prix Opus to be held Feb. 5th 2017 : Rémi Bolduc, Beth McKenna, l'Orchestre national de jazz de Montréal, Christine Tassan et Les Imposteures, Litania Projekt/Jacques Kuba Séguin, Lorraine Desmarais, Yannick Rieu, Jean Derome and more.

Gala Opus 2017 150X111.jpgEach year, the Conseil québécois de la musique (CQM) highlights the best musical productions (Sept. to Sept.) in classical, jazz, contemporary, etc, with the Prix Opus.

Congrats to these finalists in the jazz and musiques du monde categories of the 20th Prix Opus for the period covering Sept. 2015 to Sept. 2016.

Concert de l'année - Jazz and musiques du monde :

Rémi Bolduc Jazz Ensemble : Hommage à Dave Brubeck avec Jerry Bergonzi : Rémi Bolduc, direction, 14 novembre 2015
Beauté nordique : Jean-François Bélanger, 19 novembre 2015
« Home Montreal » Beth McKenna Jazz Orchestra : Beth McKenna, direction et composition, 24 mars 2016
Classiques du Jazz : Orchestre symphonique de Laval, Alain Trudel, trombone, Gene DiNovi, piano, 26 mars 2016
L’Orchestre national de jazz invite Oliver Jones : Christine Jensen, direction, Maison Symphonique, 7 juillet 2016

Disque de l'année - Jazz and musiques du monde :

Entre Félix et Django - Christine Tassan et Les Imposteures
Litania Projekt avec Le Quatuor Bozzini - Jacques Kuba Séguin, Frédéric Alarie, Jonathan Cayer, Jim Doxas
Danses Danzas Dances - Lorraine Desmarais Big Band
Raga Charukeshi - Jonathan Voyer, Shawn Mativetsky, Samskara
Yannick Rieu Da Li - Yannick Rieu, Samuel Joly, Jean-Sébastien Williams, François Lafontaine, Joe Grass

Créations de l'année

« Home Montreal » - Beth McKenna Jazz Orchestra, Beth McKenna, direction et composition, 24 mars 2016
Kissland - Martin Bédard, Électrochoc no 6 : Martin Bédard / Louis Dufort, Réseaux des Arts Médiatiques, 7 avril 2016
L’argent - Jean Derome, Ensemble SuperMusique : Jeux de pistes, Productions SuperMusique, 8 avril 2016
Adagio, Arioso - Denis Gougeon, Le retour de l’enfant prodige et l’univers romantique, Orchestre de chambre I Musici de Montréal, 5 mai 2016
Quatuor no 1, Avant la nuit - Éric Champagne, Ainsi la nuit, Quatuor Molinari, 27 mai 2016

Le 20th Gala Opus will be held Sunday, Feb. 5th 2017 at the MBAM's Salle Bourgie and is organised by the Conseil québécois de la musique -

See the complete list of Opus finalists by clicking here

The 18th L’OFF Jazz de Montréal will be held Oct. 5-14 2017 in different Montréal venues - musicians can submit a concert proposal before, Friday, March 3rd, 2017.

cloture-OFFjazz_2016.jpgThe 18th L’OFF Jazz de Montréal will be held Oct. 5-14 2017 in different Montréal venues - musicians can submit a concert proposal before, Friday, March 3rd, 2017.

Your concert proposal should include:
- A CD or demo with a minimum of 3 pieces (.wav is preferable, or MP4);
- The title of the project with a short description ;
- Leader’s name and short biography ;
- Musician’s list and instrumentation ;
- A photo of the band or leader in jpeg 300 dpi ;
- Postal and email address and telephone number ;

You can send your concert proposal by email or by regular mail (see addresses below) :
Important: if you choose your concert proposal electronically, make sure you send a compressed Mp3 file. Please do not send files that are too heavy. Only one email per proposal.

Postal adress :
L’OFF Festival de jazz de Montréal
Comité de la programmation
C.P. 60150
Montréal, Québec
H2J 4E1
CANADA @ programming committee
Information : 514-524-0831

CDJAZZ by Christophe Rodriguez

Cerbère Jazz - Entêté

In this era where music is more and more dematerialized, where's is harder to emerge and stand out, these young turks dive in "head on". When yours truly gets a nice message from the band with the predestined name Cerbère Jazz : (gardian in greek mythology), it's worth some attentive listening. With Mäiko Dubuc at the piano, Rémi Morissette on guitar, Christian Pamerleau on the drums and Sébastien Pellerin on bass, the young quartet launched last October Entêté. Like it often is, no standards here, but 11 very personel and poetic tracks, played with finesse. Very Bill Evans in its soul, with a dash of Hank Jones, a bit of Chick Corea (Now He Sings, Now He Sobs).

In our humble advice pianist Maïko Dubuc takes the palm with his fluid and constant playing, without forgetting his collegues. His playing, without necessarily innovating harmonically, has a brilliant sound and singular touch, like on the title track Entêté, as well as on Mouvement perpétuel. Also, when you listen a bit you might find there is certain kinship with the MISC trio, of pianist Jérôme Beaulieu. Supported by his companions, his phrases breathe and are witness to the intelligence of the matter at hand.

If the art of trio is often scrutinized, we can say for sure that these four musicians have got future ahead, as long as you give them your support, that little extra that helps our local and emerging talents, it must be said.

And why not do it at their next concert, Sunday, January 29th at 3pm @ Centre Culturel de Pointe-Claire, 176 Chemin du Bord-du-Lac  514-630-1220

Christophe Rodriguez is also jazz, classical and book columnist/blogger at the Journal de Montréal

TVJAZZ  March 23 2012
Omer Avital Quartet - One - Upstairs, Friday, March 23rd, 2012

Songstress Kim Zombik launches « The Intimate Sky From Whence You Came » at the Résonance, Wednesday, January 25th.

animation bon plan Kim Zombik.gifA warm voice and original compositions!  Kim Zombik is a jazz singer from U.S. with by a sense of adventure that led her to Montreal ten years ago.

Since then, her charm has worked it's magic on the Quebec jazz scene, that's when she not in Tokyo, New York, Seoul, Toronto and even Siberia. Very versatile, Kim has collaborated with a variety of musical legends including  Olu Dara, Joe Hisaichi and the New World Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, Maceo Parker, Cecil McBee and The Wailers. With this project that  started in 2015 Kim Zombik presents « The Intimate Sky From Whence You Came”, an album of original compositions including poetry, pop and jazz in a exciting and together mix. She's written some of the pieces, either the texts and / or the melodies.

Kim shares with us : "My idea was to create songs and write about the way I understand love, like a portal for the divine, the love in between a parent and a child, love as a way of changing things, about joy and creativity." There's a real nice connection in between Kim and her musicians on this album. It'll be in a warm and familiar ambiance that Kim presents this very interesting and new project!

Kim Zombik, voice and compositions
Kate Wyatt, piano
Andy King, trumpet
Erik Hove, saxophone and flute
Adrian Vedady, bass
Andre White, drums

The tracklist :

1. Chip Chip
2. Intimate Sky From Whence You Came
3. Little Bird
4. Gazebo Blues
5. Dusty Room
6. Big Chief
7. Vaak First

Wedneday, January 25th @6:15pm
5175A Ave. du Parc   
Coco -
Facebook / twitter
Coco Jazz, Tuesday night 7pm @ 100,1 CKVL FM

TVJAZZ  August 12 2011
Dave Turner Quintet - FestiJazz Mont-Tremblant, Aug. 12th 2011

TVJAZZ  October 15 2011
Eric Harding Quartet - The Vision - L'OFF Jazz 2011

TVJAZZ  March 2 2014
Ben Charest Organ Trio - Warm Canto - Segal Centre, March 2nd, 2014

TVJAZZ  January 8 2015
Beth McKenna Jazz Orchestra - Start - La Sala Rossa, Jan 8th 2015

TVJAZZ  April 19 2016
Christine Tassan et les Imposteures - Entre Félix et Django - Lion d'Or, May 19 2016

TVJAZZ  October 12 2016
John Hollenbeck & The Claudia Quintet - Sept. 9th (Wayne Phase) - L'OFF Jazz, Oct. 12th 2016

TVJAZZ  December 15 2016
Uzeb R3UNION interview with Michel Cusson, Alain Caron et Paul Brochu - Dec. 15th 2016

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