November 2007

416 Toronto Creative Improvisors Festival – day 4
November 16, 2007 The Tranzac Club Toronto
Bitchin' & The Tiny Orchestra
A report by David Fujino with photos by Mike Colyer

A shower of bells turned heads. Dougal Bichan slides up and down the violin. Alan Bloor's electric bass got busy, sputtering, and urban, and the music accumulated.

Keep it loose and open seemed to be the group's assumption; but, as in life, things must change.

Now there's a patter of bongos on top of a regular 4/4 bass drum and cymbal beat, and I wondered, weren't they getting a bit conventional, with that basic quarter note feel? Ironies.

By the time The Tiny Orchestra was playing, I was consciously listening to the drums and bass and how they functioned in terms of the improvisations.

But first of all, I did find that Steve Whitehouse's alto was appropriately active and darting amidst the drums' flutter and the high sustained notes of the guitar and trombone — stylistically speaking.

But I didn't buy it when Whitehouse set down his alto in order to hum and rhythmically tap his fingers on the hand-held microphone. We know 'it's all about sound', but his tapping dispersed the group statement and made it even more general, I found.

The more enjoyable moments (and this applies to both Bitchin' and The Tiny Orchestra) were those moments where the music gained a wholeness, where the individuals listened to each other, and the music's flow and drift was stabilized by the whirling centre pin of the bass and drums. A wheel and a hub. Something like that. Something enjoyable.

Dougal Bichan — violin and bamboo flute
Alan Bloor — electric bass
Elliott Chapin — DX7 Synthesizer, flute, winds
Bryan Dennis — percussion

The Tiny Orchestra
Aidan Close — guitar
John Halfpenny — drums
Paul Teglis — trombone
Steve Whitehouse — alto

Alien Life Bomb
Ken Aldcroft — guitar
Paul Dutton — voice
Jeff Luciani — drums
Ronda Rindone — bass clarinet
Andy Yue — synthesizer
Mike Overton — acoustic bass
Nilan Perera — electric bass

Dougal Bichan

Paul Teglis
We welcome your comments and feedback
David Fujino
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Mike Colyer
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The Live Music Report

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