June 2005

Jane Bunnett | A Star-Studded Sunday
June 5, 2005Lula LoungeToronto
Report by Joyce Corbett with photos by Roger Humbert

Jane Bunnett is not only a brilliant and accomplished musician, she is an Officer of the Order of Canada and a Juno winner. This year, she has also been nominated for a National Jazz Award in five categories: as Composer of the year, Instrumentalist of the year, Saxophonist of the year, Musician of the year, and Album of the year (Red Dragonfly). Yet, she remains down to earth, a generous performer and a tremendous supporter of new talent.

Sunday night’s show was proof of this fact. 'Fresh' off the plane from the Coleman Hawkins Jazz Festival in Topeka, Kansas, she started off the evening with her band of Larry Cramer (trumpet), David Virelles (piano), Alberto Alberto (congas), George Kohler (bass) and Mark McClean (drums) playing “Joyful Noise”.

Larry Cramer

After that first piece, the spotlight was given to Dione Taylor, who started off with some scatting in “The Real Truth” written by Jane Bunnett. The next tune, “So Many Stars”, showcased Dione’s spellbinding abilities and the thoughtful accompaniment enhanced her performance — lovely brushwork on the drums, a melodious deep soft bass, clear piano tones and an exquisite flute solo. “So Many Stars, which one to choose, which way to go?” Dione’s star is rising fast or maybe her stars are… Her début CD, Open Your Eyes, landed her a Juno nomination for best Vocal Jazz Album of the year. Regina-born, she performed this May at the Lieutenant Governor’s Centennial Gala of the Arts in Saskatchewan before the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh along with such musical greats as Joni Mitchell and I could go on but…

Nancy Walker’s capable hands took over the piano for the rest of Dione’s set which included such varied material as “Sweet Dreams” (Eurythmics), “Save Your Love for Me” (Cannonball Adderly), and Cole Porter’s “But Not For Me”.

Hilario Duran, Juno winner for Contemporary Jazz Album of the Year (New Danzon), sat in next at the piano for a duo with Jane Bunnett, may be the highlight of the evening for me. So many stars, which one to choose? A bright flute over ominous chords. Like dark chocolate and tango, bitter, sweet, tender, melancholy and threatening, now one, now the other and everything at once. Rich and satisfying. Two absorbing instrumentalists. Gorgeous harmonies, snippets of montuno lines here and there, a Monkish demonstration of the importance of empty spaces.

A hard act to follow, but here comes 21-year-old pianist David Virelles with his own quartet. David first played with Jane at the age of 15. Winner of the Oscar Peterson Prize when he was a student at Humber College, he is one focused and serious musician whose musical talent, I have no doubt, will just keep on developing. The quartet played in the style of the most intense section of Coltrane’s A Love Supreme. The room was won over. Wow, Luis Denis, where did he come from? Cuba! He was first place winner for saxophone in the under 18 category at the 2003 Jojazz Festival in Cuba.

Luis Denis

Jane Bunnett and her band take back the stage and invite vocalist Laura Ocampo, a new arrival from Argentina to sing with them. Laura’s three pieces display a surprising breadth. The first piece moves along at a relaxed rhythm. The second is all sweetness and innocence. A soothing piece that, Laura tells us, her grandmother used to sing to her. And the third, well, it’s the kick inside, unleashing a Laura Ocampo of entirely unexpected power singing a passionate up-tempo Chacarra.

Laura Ocampo & Catarina Cardeal

Continuing in a world-folk vein, Catarina Cardeal comes on stage to sing with Mike Siracusa on acoustic guitar. Their beautiful Fado duets hold the audience in rapt attention. Catarina’s voice moves us through subtle shadings and transitions of sound and emotion and Mike’s guitar completes the music.

To wrap up, all of the musicians who participated in the evening join together on stage in a celebratory rendition of “Ron con Ron”.

We welcome your comments and feedback
Joyce Corbett
• • • • • •
Roger Humbert
• •

| Home | Archives | CD Reviews | Photo Galleries | Concert Listings | Contact |

Please contact us to secure permission for use of any material found on this website.
© The Live Music Report – 2005