December 2008

Barnyard Records CD Launch Party and Concert
December 2, 2008 Lula Lounge Toronto
Home Free
by David Fujino with photos by Mike Colyer
I guess the leisurely evening began officially when Jean Martin started speaking from the stage and said that "Kyle will play some music, and so will Nicole".
Kyle was Kyle Brenders, saxophonist, and Nicole was Nicole Rampersaud, trumpet player, and for the next 60 minutes or so, the two played and interplayed hard, and read and improvised, from a score made up of several signposts, phrases, and themes. Knotty and dissonant passages gradually grew consonant before thickening again into an intense duologue. The music formed and reformed in energy cycles.

Rampersaud's trumpet and cornet vocabulary was impressive and thoroughly engaging; multiphonics, rips, and flutters, on impulse, would turn inward into a propulsive breath line of expressive mutters, wheezes, and squeaks, that matched the tone and spirit of Kyle Brenders' pressing soprano and the embracing all-over sound curtains of his tenor. Brenders was the unobtrusive conductor in a set that was, finally, the product of the two players' respectful and fluent creativity.

After a brief break, the recently formed Blah Blah 666 Big Band attacked five Mexican songs with feeling, humor, and ideas. Their driving enthusiasm was (refreshingly) the exact opposite of the predictable cartoon approach some free groups take to well-trod straight material.

In "La Cucaracha", which the band took for a real spin, Ryan Driver plucked out bass lines like an acoustic Paul Chambers from a small wooden box (!) and guitarist Justin Haynes soloed out to the steady beat of drummers Jean Martin and Nick Fraser as they pushed forward a current of new and alien sounds that were intermixing like crazy.

In another song, the melodicas blown by Tania Gill and Christine Bougie initially suggested the flutes in a traditional Chinese floating ballad, complete with the metallic shimmer of a stringed guzheng. But the players' subsequent range of solo references proved broad and entertaining, and the song ended in a totally different way, with mock 2-drum climaxes and Kim Ratcliffe's banjo, all strikes and biting textures, consistently defining the musical flow.

"The National Anthem of Mexico" concluded the evening and brought the Mexican songs theme back, full circle. On the way to its last bar, the anthem had a section where loud, 3-way martial drums accompanied the more famous melody, "Mexican Hat Dance", but eventually everything tapered off into the mini-accordian sound of the melodicas, as they blew mellow tones into the surrounding melee.

It was an enjoyable evening, a satisfying, creative, and fun evening.

Kyle Brenders

Nicole Rampersaud
Blah Blah 666 Big Band
Jean Martin and Nick Fraser — drums
Justin Haynes — home defretted blah guitar
Ryan Driver — streetsweeper bristle bass
Tania Gill — melodica
Christine Bougie — lap steel guitar/glock
Myk Freedman — lap steel guitar
Kim Ratcliff — banjo

Kyle Brenders and Nicole Rampersaud — Soprano and tenor sax/trumpet and cornet duo


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

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