In choosing the five instrumentals to feature in my precious half-hour of airtime, I had three goals: put listeners in a happy mood; include tunes I discovered via Jazz FM yet heard only once or twice – rare gems; and introduce fusion pieces I love.
Special thanks to Dani Ewell and William Heaton for their help with the show!
Here’s my playlist, for your enjoyment:
Out of the Cool, an Andrew A. Melzer composition played by Norm Amadio from his 2010 album, Norm Amadio and Friends
Intimate Strangers, a Roger Chong composition played by The Roger Chong Quartet, from the 2013 album, Live at the Trane
Glad, a Steve Winwood composition, played by Traffic, from their 1970 album, John Barleycorn Must Die
Ryshnychok/Earthly Mother, a P.I. Maiboroda composition interpreted by CANO – Cooperative des Artistes du Nouvel Ontario / Cooperative of Artists from Northern Ontario, on their 1978 album, Eclipse
The Aged Paulownia Hides Its Melody (Freestyle Ver.) (동천련로항장곡[산조Ver.]) from The Painter of the Wind Soundtrack, 2008.
Norm Amadio is a native of Timmins, Ontario, and Andrew A. Melzer is also the composer of Canada (we love you) / Canada (notre pays), chosen as theme song for Canada’s centenary in 1967.
Musicians on Out of the Cool:
Norman Amadio (piano)
Reg Schwager (acoustic guitar, electric guitar)
Phil Dwyer (saxophone) – not sure
Guido Basso (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Mat Pataki (percussion)
And possibly also bassist Rosemary Galloway and drummer Terry Clarke
Roger Chong is a Hong Kong native who was raised in Toronto and trained musically at York University. Apart from playing the guitar like it’s an extension of his fingers, Roger is also a well-loved jazz educator.
The Roger Chong Quartet is made up of:
Roger Chong (guitar)
Denis Kugappi (piano)
Ken McDonald (bass)
Steve Farrugia (drums)
Watch the Roger Chong Quartet perform Intimate Strangers at the 2015 New Market Jazz Festival. BTW, love the man-bun, Roger!
If you attended École secondaire Saint-Joseph de Hull in the mid-seventies you will surely recognize Glad from a dance routine choreographed by our gym teacher, Mademoiselle Turgeon. The upbeat piece gets deconstructed and built up again before veering into a slowed-down, dream-like outro. Cool, man! Oh, and listen for the oh-so-sixties cowbell!
Traffic is made up of:
Steve Winwood – Hammond organ, piano, bass, percussion;
Chris Wood – saxophone, flute, percussion;
Jim Capaldi – drums, percussion
Ryshnychok / Earthly Mother is originally based on a Ukrainian poem by Andriy Malyshkoin which a lyrical hero remembers his mother giving him a towel-cloth that signifies his life path.
The poem was later set to music by Platon Ilarionovych Maiboroda, Song about the towel-cloth(Ukrainian: Пісняпро рушник; Pisnya pro rushnyk) also known as Ridna maty moya (My dear mother/Dearest mother of mine), which first appeared on the soundtrack of the 1958 Soviet film Young Years and was later popularized by Dmytro Hnatyuk.
Here is an English version on YouTube. See if you can hear the melody lines that inspired Wasyl Kohut and his band members in CANO for their prog rock interpretation! On the Eclipse liner notes, Ryshnychok is described as “a famous Ukrainian melody of immigration, loneliness and love.”
On Eclipse, CANO is made up of:
Rachel Paiement – acoustic guitar David Burt – acoustic guitar, electric guitar John Doerr – electric bass, trombone, programming Wasyl Kohut – electric violin, mandolin and, for this track, a violin courtesy of Remedy Music in Toronto. Michael Kendel – grand piano, electric piano, synthesizer, vocals Marcel Aymar – vocals, acoustic guitar Michel Dasti – drums, percussion
Eclipse is dedicated to founding member André (Dédé) Paiement, Rachel’s brother, who contributed music and lyrics to the project but was diagnosed with brain cancer before the band went into the recording studio (Eastern Sound Studio, Toronto). André opted to take his own life. The liner notes end with a hand-written dedication: “Dédé, cet album est pour toé, This album is for you.”
This piece is played on a traditional Korean instrument, the gayageum, a zither with 12 or more strings.
The gayageum soundboard is made of Paulonia, hence the title of the piece, The Aged Paulownia Hides Its Melody. Paulonia is an ornamental tree with foxglove-like panicles of flowers, and is considered the fastest growing hardwood. Its wood is light, fine-grained and warp-resistant.
This version, called “freestyle,” is from the soundtrack of a 2008 South Korean historical television series, The Painter of the Wind. In the 20-episode series, one of the thematic musical pieces is picked up by the strong-willed female entertainer portrayed on the left, a gisaeng, and spun into a decidedly jazzy interpretation.
The series is based on a bestselling novel by LEE Jung-myung that fictionalizes the rise to fame of mid-eighteenth century painter, SHIN Yun-bok, as s/he (in the fiction, the talented girl must pass as a boy) is mentored by another great painter of the age, Kim Hong-do. This low-resolution YouTube video, set to the same music as my Track 5, introduces paintings from both masters along with screen caps from the series.
Most of the information in this post was pieced together from various wiki sites. Thanks, wiki contributors, from one of your supporters!
To get you in the mood for next week’s broadcast, here are 10 instrumental tracks I considered including but reluctantly had to leave out. Some are classics while others are more eclectic.
Listed in chronological order. Enjoy!
Take Five, composed by Paul Desmond and played by the Dave Brubeck Quartet on their iconic album, Time Out, 1959. Also check out the 2002 version by Donald Harrison, featuring Christian Scott and Eric Reed, on Real Life Stories.
The Hipster, composed and played by Harold McNair and other musicians on Harold’s 1968 self-titled album.
Sentimental Walk / Promenade Sentimentale, composed and played by Vladimir Cosma on the Original Soundtrack for Diva, 1981.
Last Train Home, composed by Pat Metheny and played by the Pat Metheny Group on Still Life (Talking), 1987.
Skating, composed by Vince Guaraldi and Lee Mendelson, played by David Benoit, Remembering Christmas, 1996.
Wade in the Water, composed by Ramsey Lewis and played by the Ramsey Lewis Trio on Ramsey Lewis’s Finest Hour,2000.
Café by the Sea, composed and played by Kevin Laliberté on the album Siesta, 2006.
Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, composed and played by Riuichi Sakamoto on Playing the Piano, 2009.
Magnolia, composed and played by Mirko Signorile from the album of the same name, 2012.
Kingdom Come by The Soul Jazz Orchestra on Inner Fire, 2014.
Santiago by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band from their album So it Is, 2017.
Oh, and if you get this far in the posting, click here and consider sponsoring my participation in Jazz FM’s upcoming Jazzathon. You’ll be supporting the wonderful community work (listed under Education) done by the station and I’ll get to walk to 4 jazz venues in Toronto along with like-minded music lovers. And listen to great live performances. THANK YOU!
You are cordially invited to listen as I take to the airwaves and guest-host a half-hour of instrumental music with wonderful co-host Dani Elwell and ace producer William Heaton at Jazz FM91. Mark your calendars for:
Like abstract images, instrumentals allow us to imagine our own stories and drift into moods that marry music and soul: happy, light-hearted, energized, groovin’, inspired, transcendent, dreamy, relaxed, at peace. And also bothered, rubbed the wrong way, disrupted … although I hope this doesn’t happen to you very often!
Over the next few weeks I’ll post bonus tracks, the show’s playlist and bonus material about the instrumentals I chose to feature. Stay tuned!
Committing career suicide, whether deliberately or accidentally, has figured in all three of Mark Sampson’s novels to date. In the very serious and aptly titled Sad Peninsula, first-person narrator Michael finds himself teaching English to children in Korea after knowingly sabotaging his livelihood as a journalist back home in Eastern Canada. In The Slip, first-person narrator Philip Sharpe shares with us, his dear readers, the gaffe he unknowingly commits on live TV and the week-and-a-bit of mayhem, both hilarious and sad, that ensues.
How does a woman’s abduction affect a small community? Rebecca Rosenblum’s So Much Love explores the multi-faceted aspects of this horrendous act through the eyes of the people most affected by Catherine Reindeer’s disappearance, including her mother, her husband, her co-workers, a university professor and, of course, Catherine’s own eyes.
One Saturday night when I was a science student at the University of Ottawa, I was in my room listening to the radio while doing a lab report – you know, writing my observations and conclusions in one of those hard-cover notebooks.
I sat in the dark except for a desk lamp when the song, Madame George, came on, the quiet strumming of the guitar, then Van’s voice breaking through. The emotions. The vulnerability…
I knew right away that I had to listen, really listen, so I turned off the light to give my ears a chance to absorb as much as possible.
The song poured right into my soul.
Even though I knew nothing about the world Van was singing about, I felt his longing and how it lingered long after he left wherever it was that he was leaving – Belfast, as it turned out.
For me it was a mystical experience, a communion with something sacred and enduring. And 40 years on, reading comments online, I see that I’m far from alone in cherishing this particular song from Van’s 1968 album, Astral Weeks.
The quote in the title is from the lyrics to Madame George, which can be found here.
Listen to Jazz FM91‘s Nightlab, hosted every Sunday night from 10 to midnight EST by the wonderful Dani Elwell, and you might hear this story and this song in the not so distant future.