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Trombonist gives Rebirth for second time, in Brandon

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JEFF Presslaff’s Complete Rebirth of the Cool project was reborn again on the weekend as the Winnipeg trombonist and composer led a nonet in a recording session in a recital hall at Brandon University.

Presslaff’s version, a re-creation of the creative impetus of the original Miles Davis/Gil Evans collaboration Birth of The Cool, began almost a year ago when it was presented at the Park Theatre as part of Jazz Winnipeg’s concert series.

That band also performed in Brandon, at the Yardbird Suite in Edmonton and at the Saskatoon Jazz Festival last year, but "I always hoped to record," Presslaff says in an interview.

The band was to perform a concert Friday night in the Lorne Watson Recital Hall at BU, which was to be recorded, and then continue recording in the hall throughout the weekend. It is being produced by BU music professor and pianist Michael Cain, who heard the band perform last year and calls the musicians and writing very strong. "The Birth of the Cool is an iconic recording. I love the idea," he says in an interview.

Presslaff described taking the nine-piece band on the road and recording it as "formidable," but says BU gave them the recording space and some funding and Manitoba Film and Music provided funding.

The goal is to release the recording in the fall, Presslaff says, and then try to tour with the band in the summer of 2014.

*  *  *

The Worst Pop Band Ever has replaced its cancelled Arkadash spot on Wednesday April 10, with a gig at CYRK, 254 Young St., 9 p.m. (door at 8 p.m.) with a suggested donation of $10-$20.

Members of the Toronto-based jazz band — Tim Shia on drums, Chris Gale on saxophones, LEO37 on turntables, former Winnipegger Gord Mowat on bass — will be joined by Winnipeg guitarist Keith Price (subbing for keyboard player Adrian Farrugia) and Winnipeg singer Erin Propp.

Worst Pop Band Ever also performs Tuesday, April 9, at Mardi Jazz in the Centre franco-manitobain.

*  *  *

Expect a visit from "the family" in Brandon on Saturday, April 13, as four musicians from Brandon University’s school of music — three professors and a graduating student — perform "a combination of standards that might be reimagined a bit and some original music" by band members pianist Michael Cain and saxophonist Greg Gatien, Cain says in an interview.

Drummer/percussionist Eric Platz and bassist John Baron, the student, round out the Cain-Baron- Gatien-Platz band that performs at the Park Theatre, 8 p.m., as part of Jazz Winnipeg’s Nu Sounds series ($12 advance / $15 door).

"The original music will range from things that sound more familiar in terms of jazz," Cain says, "and other kinds of styles; a world music sensibility, something along classical lines. It will be jazz-centred, with some twists and turns."

"The Brandon crew," as Cain calls them, is "small, but strong" and doesn’t get to Winnipeg to perform as much as the musicians would like to. "So this is us as a family doing this show in Winnipeg."

*  *  *

Winnipeg has a strong foundation of jazz education at the University of Manitoba music faculty’s jazz studies program and in high schools.

And the two shall join forces Friday, April 12, for a concert program at the Winnipeg Art Gallery featuring some of the best young players around.

The U of M Jazz Orchestra, directed by trumpet professor Derrick Gardner, and three high-school-aged bands — the U of M Youth Jazz Collective, directed by saxophone professor Craig Bailey, and the jazz orchestras from River East Collegiate and Transcona Collegiate — will perform starting at 8 p.m. Advance tickets ($15, $10 students) available at the music faculty or the band rooms of the high schools; or $20/$15 at the door.

*  *  *

The Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra’s 2013-14 season, its 17th, is described as "something old, something new" by artistic director Richard Gillis as the big band brings back some favourite guests and presents new, younger talent.

The band, which performs Sunday afternoon and evening shows, will include Saturday evening concerts for two shows and launch a fall jazz band festival for middle and high school students on Oct. 26.

Art of the Tango, with New York-based trumpeter Michael Philip Mossman and Winnipeg singer Sheena Rattai, opens the season on Saturday, Oct. 26, with a special concert after the high school jazz fest and two shows on Sunday, Oct. 27, featuring classic compositions and new works including Astor Piazolla’s famous Libertango.

 

The season includes:

  • Basie & Beyond, Sunday, Nov. 17, with University of Manitoba trumpet professor and Basie band alumnus Derrick Gardner and Winnipeg singer Joanna Majoko.
  • Ellington’s Nutcracker is revisited on Sunday, Dec. 8; the shows include an award-winning composition by high school bassist Devon Gillingham, winner of the 2013 Essentially Ellington student composition contest.
  • My One and Only Love with singer Denzal Sinclaire on Saturday, Feb. 8, and Sunday, Feb. 9. The popular Canadian singer and the WJO celebrate love with songs from the Great American Songbook.
  • Big Band Piano: Three Generations and 88 Keys with Ron Paley, Earl MacDonald and Will Bonness, Sunday, March 16. Local favourite pianist and band leader Paley was a mentor to former Winnipegger MacDonald, a music professor at the University of Connecticut; Bonness, piano professor in the U of M jazz studies program, was a student of MacDonald’s. Each one is a very good pianist.
  • Over the Rainbow: the Music of Harold Arlen with Winnipeg singer Colleen Furlan, Sunday, May 11. Furlan, a contestant on CBC’s Over The Rainbow reality television series, will sing selections from the Arlen songbook and some of her personal favourites.

 

WJO season tickets ($175 / adults, $65 /students) are available at 204-632-5299 and www. winnipegjazzorchestra.com.

 

chris.smith@freepress.mb.ca

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