Nov./Dec. 2004

Brandi Disterheft / Laila Biali / Tara Davidson
November 23, 2004 Honey Supper lounge Toronto
Three women, variously gifted, play together well, or, I’m tempted to say, ‘divainley’.

Laila Biali, recently noted by JazzFm91's Jaymz Bee as being one of the top ten pianists in town, leads four groups: a trio, a quartet; a sextet and an octet, and has attracted considerable international attention. Laila’s gift appears to be such an abundance of sheer talent that she is easy, relaxed and smiling at the keyboard while her strong right hand unfurls wave after wave of ideas, progressions and runs.

Laila Biali
Tara Davidson, on saxophones, has her own quartet, is widely recorded and performs internationally. She plays a soft-voiced alto in a gentle, lyrical, swinging way, smoothly, without much vibrato, without growls, honks or squeaks. And you didn’t have to wait till she played her own composition, "Bud’s Blues", to know she has those blues naturally in her. The oddest thing is that at times her sax sounds like Toots Thielmans' harmonica.

Brandi Disterheft, recently arrived from Vancouver, has started her own quartet. There’s a lot of spring in the way she plays her bass; you can hear her wood resonate, and she has an economical way of keeping the beat. Brandi has a strong sense of melodic line, and you get it that she contributes a lot of optimism and humour to the music this trio makes.

This group works well together to judge by a version of Sonny Rollins’ “Oleo” they played. Brandi got it off with a strong walking beat, followed by Tara who blew some very prolonged riffs, backed by Laila playing melody in unison with the sax. Good architecture, great fun.

Brandi Disterheft

Tara Davidson

Report by Stanley Fefferman Photographs by Roger Humbert
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