June 23rd, 2018

Jazz Picks: Two JazzFest performers not to miss: Honing quartet and Chelsea McBride

By Medicine Hat News on June 1, 2018.

Yuri Honing: “Goldbrun”
Chelsea McBride’s Socialist Night School: “The Twilight Fall”

The Medicine Hat JazzFest is honoured to have the highly acclaimed Dutch saxophonist Yuri Honing perform at this year’s festival.

Although his name might not be common place to Canadian listeners, he has a high profile in the Netherlands, having won the Dutch Grammy Award and worked with the likes of Pat Metheny, Paul Bley, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Charlie Haden, Gary Peacock and Paul Motion among others.

His recently released album, “Goldbrun,” is Honing’s 22nd album and he describes it as being about Europe and heroism. In fact, he goes so far as to say that with this album, at a time when Europe is constantly subject to discussion, he is defending European history and identity in this album.

This is contemplative music. Intelligent. Thoughtful. It moves in a way that suggests both careful consideration and mind-clearing carefreeness. The piano lays the bed and sets the mood — the saxophone comments and explores —  turns the musical thoughts around and considers them from other angles — not necessarily with a mind to solve — but just to probe.

Yuri’s tenor saxophone sound is rich with nuance and soulful expression. It is a sound that one does not tire of hearing.

This is music from a group that is deeply integrated and seriously connected in an intuitive and organic way. It is a group that will keep the audience at JazzFest mesmerized.

Yuri Honing’s Acoustic Quartet performs Thursday, June 21 at 10:30 p.m. in the Esplanade Studio Theatre, and is presenting a workshop on Wednesday, June 20 at 2 p.m. in the same space.

There aren’t many 25-year-olds with their own big band. Toronto’s Chelsea McBride has just that. And this isn’t a band that is playing arrangements from the big band writers of the past. McBride is writing and arranging the material for this 19- piece ensemble that includes vocals and some of Toronto’s veteran instrumental players.

Influenced by the likes of Bob Brookmeyer, Maria Schneider and Darcy James Argue, McBride’s writing and arranging falls clearly into the tradition of big band music in tonality and orchestration, but the music is also clearly contemporary, fresh and McBride’s own unique voice.

Improvisations blend into arranged sections, featuring the outstanding abilities of the bands top young players and weaving story lines that take the listener on exciting journeys of exploration and expression.

Harmonies are rich, and rhythms are for the most regular and swing oriented. There is also an almost raw quality to this band. Not lacking in precision or impeccable musicianship – but something about the sound and approach that seems to refuse being too polished. Nobody is holding back, or sacrificing anything at the expense of their own expressive voice. This is a collection of fine players, exploring together the music of this fine young composer/arranger and doing it full out.

Chelsea McBride’s Socialist Night School performs Tuesday, June 19 at 7:30 p.m. in the Esplanade Theatre.

There are lots of ways to connect with JazzFest. The website at http://www.medicinehatjazzfest.com has all of the information about the artists as well as daily schedules, links to sound and video files and a downloadable brochure. Follow JazzFest on Twitter and Instagram at @medhatjazz. You can also follow the Facebook page and join the Facebook group by searching Medicine Hat JazzFest and keep up on all video content on the YouTube channel.

Brochures can be found all over town, at coffee shops, the Esplanade, the Tourist Centre and the Public Library. They will be in the Medicine Hat News as well.

Tickets and passes are available at all Esplanade ticket outlets including http://www.tixx.ca.

Lyle Rebbeck is producer of Medicine Hat JazzFest.

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