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Showing posts from May, 2019

From country to jazz: Kevin West - Story Of My Life (Independent / 15 June 2019)

From country to jazz:
Kevin West - Story Of My Life
(Independent / 15 June 2019)
Check him out on Spotify

Los Angeles based Kevin West calls himself a "throwback singer-songwriter" - although he's had a busy career for a self-described anachronism.

What he does specialize in is solid songwriting in a variety of modes from country to jazz. Best of Mine definitely has the flavour of a vintage anthem, with a driving country drum beat underneath layers of guitar, organ, and vocals in harmony. His vocals are expressive with a raspy edge perfect for the music.

As a songwriter, his lyrics are personal and intimate. From One Too Many,

I woke up this afternoon, I rubbed my eyes,
I tried to wipe the cobwebs from another late night.
I don't know what time it was when I got to bed;
I don't know who this girl is that I'm lying here with...

Ah, the life of a rock star. My Only Sunshine is pure uptempo country, while Sweet Innocence takes it more slowly in a ballad. Harmony voc…

From Rome With Love - Jazz with a Mediterranean Flavour: The Erodoto Project

With material from a release:

From Rome With Love - Jazz with a Mediterranean Flavour
The Erodoto Project
Lands, Men & Gods (2017)
Molòn Labè: Come and Get Them! (2018)
on the Cultural Bridge Indie Label
Stream Lands, Men & Gods (2017) & Molòn Labè: Come and Get Them! (2018) on Spotify
Buy the CDs

If you like your jazz global, with a side order of Mediterranean cool, then let me introduce you to the Erodoto Project, based in Rome, Italy. They've got two releases under their belt, with another one in the works.

Erodoto Project was born in 2016 thanks to the meeting of Bob Salmieri and Alessandro de Angelis. The two musicians began a collaboration that resulted in their first CD - Stories, Lands, Men & Gods (Cultural Bridge 2017) - not long after. The group debuted the work at the Auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome. In the fall of 2018, they released the follow up, Molòn Labè (come and get them!)

The repertoire is composed of original pieces, and songs of the Medite…

#TorontoDance: James Kudelka's AGAINST NATURE May 22-25, May 29-June 1 2019

From a media release:

Opera, Dance, and Theatre Seamlessly Fuse in Return of Boundary-Breaking Masterpiece
May 22-25, May 29-June 1, 2019 at 8pm
Director and choreographer: James Kudelka

• Tickets from $20 available at:

TORONTO, ON — Citadel + Compagnie proudly presents the hotly anticipated return of Against Nature, May 22–25 and May 29–June 1, 2019 at the Citadel: Ross Centre for Dance. Choreographed and directed by Citadel + Compagnie’s Resident Choreographer James Kudelka, this multi-disciplinary work is a unique dance-opera-theatre hybrid that adapts French-Dutch author Joris-Karl Huysman’s 1884 novel of bourgeois excess, À Rebours (Against Nature). This powerful work is replete with rich visuals, fluid choreography that supports and strengthens the story, and a nuanced score that is hauntingly mysterious.

All disciplines beautifully combine to explore the nature of time and the challenges of love, beauty, and truth that reflects and…

Classic Jazz Vocals: Kalya Ramu - Living in a Dream (Independent / May 14, 2019)

Classic Jazz Vocals:
Kalya Ramu - Living in a Dream
(Independent / May 14, 2019)
Buy the CD

Toronto's Jazz Bistro was packed with a noisy crowd for the CD release part of vocalist Kalya Ramu's Living in a Dream. The 25-year old Toronto based singer was backed up by a capable band, including Ian Wright on drums, and Ewan Farncombe on piano, with special mention to the nimble fingers of Connor Walsh on the upright bass, and Jacob Gorzhaltsan's stellar sax and clarinet chops.

Kalya has a pure and fluid soprano that is perfectly suited for the classic golden age jazz songs and vocal style she favours. She includes a nice selection of lesser known vintage tunes along with classics like Tea for Two and It's A Good Day, and original compositions on the release. Her original songs have the same musical flavour, with the addition of lyrics with a more contemporary flavour.

She Drinks Alone - an original song

Influenced by the greats like Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan, Ramu h…

Celebrate Fet Gede / Day of the Dead in Haiti October 29 to November 3 2019

From a media release:

UPDATE: Unfortunately, the trip has been cancelled.

Celebrate Fet Gede / Day of the Dead in Haiti
October 29 to November 3, 2019
Haiti: Cap-Haïtien and Port-au-Prince
US Departure

Email Postmambo for More Information

Haiti: Cap-Haïtien and Port-au-Prince. If you haven’t partied with the dead, you haven’t partied. Gede are the spirits of the dead, and their days are occasions for music, dancing, and ceremonies.
View of Port-au Prince from Hotel Montana 29 March 2007, 08:02:00 by Elena Heredero
Postmambo has an incredible itinerary lined up for the trip, on top of  a major popular festival celebrating Gede. Fet Gede shares the date of October 31 with Halloween, but it's not Halloween, it's something beyond.

Fete Gede also goes by the Feast of the Dead or the Festival of the Ancetsors. It is a celebration for practitioners of traditional Vodou - or Vodouisants. It honours the ancestral dead, and is usually held during the first two days of November. Think of it a…

Rock/Jazz/Pop Fusion: Sundogs - Legends In Their Own Minds (Independent / 5 March 2019)

Rock/Jazz/Pop Fusion
Sundogs - Legends In Their Own Minds
(Independent / 5 March 2019)
Stream the Album from their Website

Jazz rock fusion mixes with thoughtful poetry on this interesting release by Seattle based Sundogs on their latest studio recording. It's an album that looks back to the golden era of guitar pop-rock and fusion with ear worm hooks and a genuine groove.

Fallen Hero epitomizes their distinctive sound. At first, you assume that the rock heavy rhythm section and guitars mean a strictly classic rock approach. But, then it veers into a piano solo, with jazzy rhythms and chord changes. On top of it, a clear tenor sings in a melodic mode.

Growly vintage guitars are a signature sound for the group, mixed with a variety of influences. In Snowman, a jazzier rhythm and melody weave in and out of an edgier voice (which is whose is not clear with both Stan Snow and Jed Moffitt on vocal duty on the release).

On Johnny, Snow's guitar work is prominent in more of a country…

Classical New Music: Paul Elwood: Émissions Transparents: Ombres et Poussière (« Shadows and Dust ») (Innova Recordings - January 25, 2019)

Classical New Music:
Paul Elwood: Émissions Transparents: Ombres et Poussière (« Shadows and Dust »)
(Innova Recordings - January 25, 2019)
Composers: Paul Elwood; Christian Wolff
Performers: Paul Elwood; The Callithumpian Consort; Stephen Drury; Eddie Prevost; Iowa Percussion; Daniel Moore; Aly Olson; Rose Chancler; Cary Fridley

Buy the CD

Deliciously atmospheric, and always unexpected, in Émissions Transparents banjo player, composer, and improviser Paul Elwood takes listeners along on his journey from Colorado to Marseille, Iowa City to London and Boston, with plenty of musical adventures along the way.

Elwood lists the the New York School of composition from the 1950s and 60s - John Cage, Christian Wolff, Morton Feldman, and Earle Brown - among his influences. He blends electric guitar, played by Pablo Gomez Camo, with mellotron, piano, percussion, cello, and electronics on the titular composition, a piece in five parts. It's an unusual instrumentation where the divergent colour…

World Music: Nirmala Rajasekar / Maithree: The Music of Friendship (Innova Recordings - Oct 26, 2018)

World Music
Nirmala Rajasekar / Maithree: The Music of Friendship
(Innova Recordings - Oct 26, 2018)
Composers: Turlough O’ Carolan, Nirmala Rajasekar, Thanjavur K. Murugaboopathi, Pat O’ Keefe, Vasant Desai, Haydar Tatliyay, Sri Annamacharya, Michelle Kinney, Peter Linman
Performers: Nirmala Rajasekar, Thanjavur K. Murugaboopathi, Michelle Kinney, Pat O’Keefe, Tim O’Keefe

Buy the CD

World music is a term that's often used with some exasperation - after all, are we not all creating music of the world? But, some of the most exciting music being produced today defies categorization, and perhaps it's the only term that's remotely apt for recordings like this one, that take Indian percussion, Western instruments, Irish, and Turkish influences in a mash-up that Nirmala Rajasekar, the creator of Maithree, the ensemble, describes in a media release.

These are more than just songs. They are a rhythmic, melodic & harmonic convergence of many diverse souls & spirits into one ex…

New Music: D.J. Sparr: Electric Bands (Innova Recordings - January 25, 2019)

New Music:
D.J. Sparr: Electric Bands
(Innova Recordings - January 25, 2019)
Composers: D. J. Sparr
Performers: D. J. Sparr; Kristina Bachrach; Hajnal Kármán Pivnick; Brianna Matzke; Momenta Quartet; Karen Strittmatter Galvin; Shawn Galvin; Kimberly Sparr; Jake Wenger; Mark Morton

Buy the CD

Electric Bands brings together four of Baltimore-bsaed guitarist/composer D.J. Sparr's works for what he calls electronically-improved chamber ensembles. The creative format results in fascinating combinations and effects.

Beautifully spare and evocative, I Can Hear Her Through The Thin Wall Singing pairs soprano Kristina Bachrach with Sparr on the electric guitar. It's a piece that shimmers with emotion, and the seemingly curious juxtaposition of growling electric guitar and Bachrach's gorgeous pure tone blends quite well in reality. Brooklyn poet Patrick Phillips provides the lyrics for this reimagining of a Debussy song cycle with contemporary electric guitar.

Meta444 combines violin,…

Pop EP Release: CALVERT - This Beautiful Life, Vol. 1 (Independent / January 17, 2019)

Pop EP Release:
CALVERT - This Beautiful Life, Vol. 1
(Independent / January 17, 2019)
Stream or Buy

Calvert's background in musical theatre lights up this fresh, fun EP, his second release, spotlighting his scintillating and expressive vocals. He offers a tantalizing - and too short - collection of accomplished pop in a variety of genres.

Please With a Cherry is a bouncy track with an irresistible groove and catchy lyrics (and sound effects!) In Heartbeat, he ventures into a classic keyboard-driven pop ballad, with a lush orchestral arrangement that highlights his vocals. He's got an impressive range, and a fluid quality that can be strident or soft.

Move On features acclaimed EDM artist Jonathan Mendelsohn of Reckless Wonder Music Publishing Company. Calvert's melodic vocals spin a tale about leaving the one you used to love over a hypnotic beat. It's a highlight of the album that ventures into a trippy and psychadelic vibe.

Wanna Be is a strong ballad in an anthemic…

Groundbreaking Indigenous Docu-Series Future History Returns for a Second Season Premiering May 14 2019

From a media release:

Groundbreaking Indigenous Docu-Series
Future History Returns for a Second Season Premiering May 14 at 8 p.m. ET on APTN
Season Two shares Indigenous stories that incite discussion and debate around Canadian history as we know it

• Learn more about the upcoming season here

TORONTO – Following the success of its trailblazing first season, Future History returns to explore stories of Indigenous communities at the forefront of the reclamation movement in Canada. Future History, Season Two (13×.30)  premieres Tuesday, May 14 2019, at 8 p.m. ET exclusively on APTN East and 8 p.m. MT on APTN West.

This smart, heartfelt docu-series is produced and directed by award-winning Canadian producer and actress Jennifer Podemski (Empire of Dirt, Dance Me Outside, Cardinal, Degrassi: The Next Generation) and co-produced by Geoff Ewart (Empire of Dirt, The Associates, The Border). Future History is written by actress and writer Tamara Podemski (Coroner, Heartland, Four Sheets to the Wi…

Travel Germany: Handel Festival / Händelfestspiele - Halle (Saale), Germany May 31 to June 6, 2019

From a media release:

Travel Germany:
Celebrate the Timeless Music of Handel in his Home Town
Handel Festival - Halle (Saale), Germany
May 31 to June 6, 2019
Buy Advance Tickets

Every year celebrated baroque musicians perform at the Handel Festival in Halle, Saxony-Anhalt, the birthplace of George Frideric Handel.

Musical greats such as the Argentinian mezzo soprano Bernarda Fink and The Dunedin Consort & Players from Scotland are among those to have made guest appearances. The festival traditionally closes with a performance of Handel's Music for the Royal Fireworks at the Galgenberg gorge, accompanied by a spectacular fireworks display.

Last year's opening concert in the market square:

George Frideric Handel composed a total of 67 operas and oratorios, making him one of the most important composers in history. The Handel Festival is a spectacular place to learn what this actually means. His hometown of Halle will commemorate the musician from 31 May to 16 June this year.

Eclectic Singer Songwriter: Patrick Ames - Patrick Ames (Independent / Apr 4 2019)

Eclectic Singer Songwriter:
Patrick Ames - Patrick Ames
(Independent / Apr 4, 2019)
Stream It On Spotify

Inventive song writing and unusual arrangements combine with an eclectic musical sensibility in this intriguing EP release from Patrick Ames.

The EPs four songs offer wildly different aspects of his music. I Want You combines his urgent, quasi-spoken word delivery with sweet vocal harmonies over a compelling, minimalist groove. He adds a nimble acoustic guitar line over it all in an unusually beautiful mash-up.

Lyrically, he covers familiar terrain of love and loss with a fresh eye and a quirky take.

While you were making babies,
I saw on the sofa, all by myself...

While You Were Making Babies is a bouncy pop song about regrets in life, in contrast to the moody and atmospheric Queen Kae, or the Latin-infused Ti Amaba Locamente.

In his early 60s, Ames shares his stage with vocalists Chana and Mikaela, along with Argentinian guitarist Paulo Augustin Rzeszut. Ames began writing songs in…

Ambient Instrumental: Javier Velez aka Versal - Versal (Independent / Mar 3, 2019)

Ambient Instrumental:
Javier Velez aka Versal - Versal
(Independent / Mar 3, 2019)
Stream it on Spotify

Fans of classically inspired ambient music - or is it classical crossover? - will love this new and melodic album by Javier Velez aka Versal.

Versal, is a Houston based composer, CG artist and programmer with a long but interrupted history in music. His mother taught him to read and write from the age of three, which led to his skipping grades and arriving at college at age 16.

He studied harmony, composition, orchestration and counterpoint under professor James McCoy, PhD. His musical ambitions took a back seat to professional necessity for many decades, but in the meantime, Versal has worked on several films and documentaries in multiple capacities, as editor, colorist, visual FX artist, director of photography, composer, and director. He came back to music in the last few years.

Versal's classical formal training comes through on the well structured pieces that offer harmonic…

Alt-Rock CD Release: Outerfield - Pleasant Grove Hotel (US Highway 50 / May 3 2019)

Alt-Rock CD Release:
Outerfield - Pleasant Grove Hotel
(US Highway 50 / May 3, 2019)
Preorder/Buy on iTunes

Outerfield is the result of a partnership between guitarist, pianist and songwriter Matt Hutson and bassist Gary Schrader, who met playing in their church's worship band in Columbus, Indiana. You can hear ghosts of a church choir in Wondering If You're Real, and it's an interesting musical influence throughout the release. Swamp music brings sweet vocal harmonies and growling guitars together with compelling rhythms for music that has an earn worm quality from the beginning.

The rock, country, and sometimes retro influences are familiar, but the duo mix them up for a sound that is uniquely their own. Matt's vocals are raspy and appropriate for the genre. It's the musicianship and a genuine groove that sparks up on each song that elevates the album above the ordinary.

Stay The Same is a stand out track with an intriguing rhythmic complexity, anchored by a tigh…

Contemporary Celtic: Heather Dale Celebrates 20th Album 'Sphere' With Concert May 4 2019 In Toronto

Contemporary Celtic Singer-Songwriter Heather Dale
Celebrates 20th Album in One-Night-Only Release Concert: Sphere
Eclectic Crossover Album Inspired by #MeToo and Time’s Up
Rewrites Male-Centric Legends with a Message of Female Empowerment
Church of the Holy Trinity on May 4, 2019 at 7:30pm

Buy Tickets To The Album Release May 4
Buy/Stream the album Sphere

Expect the unexpected from contemporary Celtic singer songwriter Heather Dale, who is hitting Toronto with her latest album for a one-night show on May 4. As an extra treat, the concert takes place in the gloriously atmospheric Church of the Holy Trinity - just next to the Eaton Centre at 19 Trinity Square (between Yonge & Bay).

Heather's music is a compelling and seamless mash-up of a wide range of influences, with a distinctive Celtic lilt that underlies it all. Sphereis Heather’s 20th album release — timed to coincide with her 20th anniversary as a professional recording musician.

“Every song on Sphere was influenced by cu…