Jukejoint – March/April 2002
by Jim Kelly
What: Groove-jazz, funk-jazz, alterna- jazz-funk, take your pick
Where: Toronto, ON
To Contact: Jukejoint: 158 Dovercourt Rd., Toronto, ON M6J 3C4 (416) 516-8603; Media Contact: Francine Labelle/ Francine Labelle Ink, (416) 277-7666, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.jukejoint.ca.
Jazz-funk. Funk-jazz. Groove-jazz. The Toronto quartet Jukejoint never knows quite how to label itself. And as far as I’m concerned, anything that defies easy categorization is worth checking out. The group, which released its second CD, Organic Matter, back in September, was formed in 1995 by guitarist Steve “Chili” Grebanier (formerly of Punjabi By Nature), and also includes Frank Zochil on keyboards, D’Arcy Rittich on basses and Dave Patel on drums (blues harp player Ansgar Schroer also makes several appearances on the CD). Offering six original Grebanier compositions, the disc also features four re-interpretations of Wayne Shorter tunes and a particularly wild reconsidering of a Stevie Wonder classic. The lead-off track, “As If”, begins in a bouncy groove-jazz vein, until it breaks down into a clavinet workout that’s obviously inspired by Wonder’s “Superstition”. The Stevie homage continues with a working over of Wonder’s “Too High” that almost sounds like a Doors’ jam at times, with Grebanier’s fuzzy guitar washes and Zochil’s distorted electric piano driving the song right up to the edge. And all this is anchored around the incredibly tight rhythm section of Rittich and Patel. “The first thing we try and aim for is a heavy groove,” Grebanier says, “and the other important element in our music is improvisation, communication.” The improv element helps the group appeal to the jam band crowd as well, he says. Whatever you call it, it’s a sound that takes you with it, whether you want to go or not. So go!
Barry Canning – March/April 2002
by Jim Kelly
The 12 songs on his debut CD, Soul Parade, released this past August, build a strong case for Newfoundland’s Barry Canning as a rising singer-songwriter. The first single, “The One”, has garnered a lot of radio airplay, with “Didn’t Know It Was You” released as the follow-up. Canning has a knack for writing catchy melodies and well-developed, polished song structures. While his songs would generally fall into the catch-all category of pop-rock, there’s also an underlying rootedness to the music. Combined with his fine vocal abilities, it’s a winning combination. Literally. At the 2001 Music Industry Association of Newfoundland & Labrador (MIANL) awards, Canning walked away with “Male Artist of the Year” and “Best Pop/Rock Artist of the Year” honours. Of his music, and the title Soul Parade, Canning says: “A lot of the songs were based on people and things and music and relationships that kind of inspired me, came into my life, and left my life. I usually try to use stuff that’s relevant to me and I know that other people can understand as well, and I try to stick to that.” When I spoke to him in mid-January, he was looking forward to this year’s ECMAs in February, where he was invited take part in a songwriters’ circle alongside such notable peers as Bruce Guthro, Jimmy Rankin and Gordie Sampson. Pretty good company to be in. At the rate he’s going, Barry Canning better get used to it.
The Brothers Cosmoline – March/April 2002
by Jim Kelly
Who: The Brothers Cosmoline
What: Country heart with an urban soul
Where: Toronto, ON
To Contact: Dan Kershaw, Bobby Dazzler Records, 3-2 58 Kensington Ave., Toronto, ON, M5T 2K1 (416) 766-0464, email@example.com, www.bobbydazzlerrecords.com, www.deepbluefunk.ca/broscosmoline.htm.
The Brothers Cosmoline is a five-piece country-roots outfit from Toronto led by singer-songwriter Dan Kershaw. He originally formed the group in 1992 with high school friend and songwriting partner David Pedliham. Initially channelling everything from The Beatles and the Velvet Underground to Gram Parsons and Bill Monroe, the group began to coalesce more solidly around the traditional country and bluegrass axis with the addition of guitarist/mandolinist Steve Briggs in 1998. In addition to Kershaw and Briggs, the current line-up also features John Switzer on bass, John Adames on drums, and the immaculate pedal steel of Burke Carroll. Their debut CD, Songs Of Work And Freedom is a warm and wonderful waltz through broken hearted laments, late-night longings and vistas of escape from clock-punched lives. Growing up in London, ON, Kershaw was fascinated with AM radio from Detroit and Cleveland. “I’ve always wanted to write music that had that connectivity that AM radio had, but I also wanted to write songs that had adult themes in it. And the country music that I started to listen to had those themes – things about marriage and longing and work. So I wanted to mix those two things together.” These songs connect in just that way. There’s the desolate emotional portrait of “Motel 6”, the bittersweet chord changes of “Please, Please” – one of the prettiest songs I’ve heard in a long while – and if the country swing sounds of “Oh Caroline” don’t grab you, the irresistible chorus certainly will. Country heart with an urban soul. O Brothers, where have you been?