April 2007

Lina Allemano Four and Wilbert de Joode (solo bass)
presented by Rough Idea
April 21, 2007 St. Andrew by the Lake Anglican Church Toronto
A Cool Venue
by David Fujino with photos by Roger Humbert

It began as a trumpet/alto fanfare, twice-played, then glided into an arching unison theme, startling in its tart and harmonized phrase endings.

As Allemano's trumpet and Brodie West's alto proceeded to bob and weave, we heard the unison theme now being played out in Andrew Downing's bass; and we immediately appreciated drummer Nick Fraser's contributions which were achieved by simply listening — hard. At the right moment — without using ride cymbal or hi-hats — Fraser slid his hand down a thin wooden taper placed on the snare drum head, making a long sound that effectively accentuated the beat.
Brodie Wes

The second number — Allemano's "Ba-Ba-Dee" — was an elastic, bluesy, medium bop tune, filled with long trilling trumpet lines and alto tonal bursts that gave way gradually to a steady walking bass. Then jump cut to the two horns, on top of the bass line, pecking away.

Throughout the evening, Allemano threw sonic tradition to the winds. The trumpeter played open horn, rarely, and focused instead on blowing into mutes — harmon, plunger, and, on this night, a tin pie plate which produced swallowed tones as well as a series of raspy, intermittent buzzes.

With his mouthpiece pulled far to the left, Brodie West instantly flashed to me as — Prez — similarly gentle, and bringing his advanced sense of tonality to a composition that was imbued with the spirit of a running blues.

After Intermission, guest artist and bassist Wilbert de Joode, first spoke deliberately, perhaps a bit wearily, about Toronto being the last stop of his 3-week solo tour of the United States and Canada. He felt "they're very confused in the United States ..." and said he was "glad to be back in Canada". The bassist had the air of a craftsman about him.

In Monk's waltz, "Ugly Beauty" — written for Art Blakey — the dry brittle snap and furious scrubbing of de Joode's fingers at first pushed away this listener, so different it was from the usual sonic conventions of how a bass should be played and what sounds it should make.

But with the in-breathing sighs of de Joode's drawn bow, his total personalized approach to the string bass started to make moving, sound sense, and it started to feel good, and 'interesting'. Further, a direct humanizing occurred, each time that de Joode alternated a scratching rhythm on the fingerboard with circular right hand caresses on the body of the bass.

His third solo piece expressed a sound of 'arco doom', a long drawn out complex tone with a repeating figure created quietly inside by his left hand fingerings.

Wilbert de Joode

Wilbert de Joode's present interest, he said, was in exploring the playing of "undertones versus overtones" in music. It's the undertones he wants to play. This solo ended with squeaky s/wipes.

From Allemano's characteristic downward-pointing trumpet — from which poured and burbled, long trilling overtone lines; to de Joode's rhythmical pizzicato bass scratching all devoted to finding the undertone in the world of sound; to drummer Nick Fraser who selects from, versus playing his full kit; to bassist Andrew Downing who was always there — that was a lot of sound to deal with.

Thanks sincerely to Ron Gaskin of Rough Idea who brought these creative musicians to our attention this evening on Centre Island in the St. Andrew by the Lake Anglican Church.

Lina Allemano Four
Lina Allemano — trumpet
Brodie West — alto sax
Andrew Downing — bass
Nick Fraser — drums

Wilbert de Joode — solo bass

We welcome your comments and feedback
David Fujino
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Roger Humbert
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