Ariadne’s Notes: On January 10, at 1:30 PM PST the World Poetry Café Radio Show CFRO 100.5 FM welcomed the talented drummer-Composer Devin Gray celebrating the second album, Dirigo Rataplan II, with performances in Belgium, the UK and Switzerland. Featuring his all-star quartet Dirigo Rataplan with Ellery Eskelin, Michael Formanek and Dave Ballou. for more info: http://devingraymusic.com/ Also, a gentleman frim Switzerland wrote in to tell us that he attended their European concert and he really enjoyed it and was excited about Devin coming on the show! This was really exciting!
It was a fascinating show, delving into the intricacies of composing and the personal attention to detail and the need to put mind, body and soul into each composition. Also discussed was the difficulty of making a career out of it at this time when it is so hard to make a living creating and playing Jazz. This show is a MUST Hear for composers , musicians and creators.
There are times when music lovers can just feel a talent coming into his or her own, when that artist is someone to catch onstage or on record at every opportunity. Drummer-composer Gray has arrived at such a moment. The Brooklyn-based artist made his leader debut in 2012 with the Skirl Records release Dirigo Rataplan, which featured him fronting the eponymous band with Eskelin, Formanek and Ballou, each a master improviser renowned far and wide among fans of creative music. Cadence magazine declared that initial disc to be “fantastic,” while JazzTimes said that Gray’s debut represented “the work of a young artist who knows who he is.”
Now, after six years of intensive experience as a leader and sideman on both sides of the Atlantic, Gray has reconvened this all-star group for Dirigo Rataplan II, released on CD, vinyl, digitally and for streaming via Rataplan Records on Sept. 21, 2018. Time Out New York has praised Gray’s compositions for balancing “formal elasticity with a meticulous sense of pacing.” The new album brims with more earworm melody, richly implied harmony and a loose-limbed sense of rhythm as something physical and flowing – as blood, as breath. Fans of jazz from Ornette Coleman and Henry Threadgill to Dave Holland and Craig Taborn will dig this organic mix of composition and improvisation, structure and freedom, atmosphere and dynamism.
About the evolution of Dirigo Rataplan and his writing for the band, Gray says: “I’ve become more at ease with following my natural artistic impulses. The experiences I’ve had over the past six years have been so inspiring – in the intense, ultra-energized New York jazz scene, of course, but also in Europe, where players in improvised music are so open to different genres and have this holistic approach to art and creativity. With Dirigo Rataplan II, there is more free improvisation in the music, but I also think the melodic fluidity between the composition and the improvisation is more seamless, with one flowing into the other in a way that I really like. This music is personal for me, but I want Mike, Ellery and Dave to do what it is they do, to maximize the pieces in the way that I know they can.”
About working with Gray, Formanek says: “Devin has grown as a composer since that first quartet recording session in 2011, but most important, he has a much more evolved sense of who he is as a musician, and also of who we are in the band as improvisers. These instincts take time to develop, and it has been great to see that process unfold in both his playing and his composing. This music is free and open with a lot of room for improvisation, but the tunes also have an intrinsic rhythmic and melodic character to them, a color and energy. With the quartet having played together more now, the sessions for the new album felt even better.”
For Gray, what is most vital about Formanek “is not just that his tone and sense of time are so incredible. It’s also that he cares so much about doing whatever he can to ensure the quality of the music in front of him. He’s a composer’s improviser, in that way. I feel this total, unspoken trust with him.” About Eskelin, Gray says: “Ellery sets the bar so high for improvisation. The fluidity of his solos, the intense forward motion – that’s what New York musicians have more than anyone else.” Regarding Ballou, the drummer adds: “I’ve known Dave’s playing intimately since I was a kid. I don’t think he has ever sounded better, with that beautiful tone and wide palette of expression. He brings a strong interpretive sense to my music in that he anticipates what I’m looking for, yet via his own sensibility. Working with cats like this, you don’t have to worry about individualism – it’s in everything they do. They bring what are just notes on a page to real life.”
Reflecting further on Dirigo Rataplan II, Gray concludes: “I don’t set out to make jazz records, per se. I set out to make music, period – to capture the moment, the contemporary feel of the music, hoping that it can reflect in some small way how we live now and what we all have to deal with as human beings in the world.”
In addition to Dirigo Rataplan, Devin Gray leads the quartet Relative Resonance, featuring Chris Speed, Kris Davis and Chris Tordini. Reviewing that band’s eponymous Skirl Records album, All About Jazz said: “The vitality of Relative Resonance can’t be denied… the music here literally sparkles with wit and resourcefulness.” On record, Gray has also led his Cloudsounds trio (with Ingrid Laubrock and Corey Smythe) and his quartet Fashionable Pop Music (with Tordini, Jonathan Goldberger and Ryan Ferreira). He recently released a hard-grooving digital single fronting his quartet Meta Cache with Jeremy Viner, Elias Stemeseder and Kim Cass.
As a sideman, Gray has recorded recent albums as part of Nate Wooley’s Argonautica sextet, trumpeter Daniel Levine’s trio Knuckleball (with Marc Hannaford) and a trio led by pianist Santiago Leibson (with Drew Gress). Of late, the drummer has played with Dave Liebman and Tony Malaby, along with touring Europe at the head of a trio with Speed and Gress. Gray’s recent collaborators also include Gerald Cleaver, Uri Caine, Andrea Parkins, Satoko Fuji, Richard Bonnet, Daniel Guggenheim, Marc Ducret, Frank Gratkowski, Jacob Anderskov, Eve Risser and Susana Santos Silva.
All About Jazz gave the recording four stars and called it “a high-flying, breathtaking slice of up-to-the-minute jazz from four musicians at the top of their games.”
Ariadne’s Notes. On July 5, 1:10 PM PST, The World Poetry Café Radio Show, CFRO 100.5 FM welcomed poet, author, publicist and owner of moorehype.com , Nathaniel Moore, with his new book Goodbye Horses. Nathaniel answered a question from a young writer in Nunavut with some helpful ideas for Indigenous authors and offering additional help to him which was greatly appreciated.
Also featuring a new book was a celebratory book launch of Little Wild by poet on tour Curtis LeBlanc. Poems from the book were read from the new book by Ariadne Sawyer, Co-host and producer and super tech Victor Schwartzman .
We celebrated our 20th year on the air with two new segments, a new weekly inspiring poem by Jeanne Probst and the first poem about the Lincoln Poetry Club with coordinator Alan Lowe. Next week, we will read the first award winning poem from the Lincoln Club for 2017!
A warm welcome to Phuntsho Wangchuk from Bhutan for his moving and profound E-poem, I Can See a Jewel in Her Eyes read by Victor Swartzman. Thanks always to super volunteer Sharon Rowe.
Wonderful music by Andy Vine, I will go down to the sea again based on a poem by John Mansfield and the amazing Randell Stephen Hall with his song, Dying to Live from his CD Re-Wired and Random. Victor Swartzman also introduced his new book.
Nathaniel G. Moore is the author of seven books including Savage, winner of the 2014 ReLit Award for Best Novel. His poetry and fiction have appeared in literary magazines across Canada and the US. Born and raised in Toronto, Moore currently lives in Fredericton, New Brunswick with his wife and daughter.
He says: “I know what its like to be a first-time author – as an author myself – it’s not an easy terrain to navigate for the first, second or even the third time. I have learned to anticipate the highs and lows of any situation, to pay close attention to details both big and small, and to maintain a strong commitment to quality, creativity, and public satisfaction.
My diverse experiences with several creative arts organizations has allowed me to grow into a mature and versatile individual who has the capacity to work in a variety of environments; from demanding office situations, to putting together a book launch, finding a sponsor for a festival, writing compelling press releases to the more vigorous positions in the field of publishing.
Being able to connect to the ever-changing world of publishing. I’m pleased with my life right now, growing as a parent, human being, and artist. I’m so grateful I’m able to spend my days promoting books.
Visit moorehype.com for all your publicity, marketing and writing needs!
Moore Hype is an innovative new publicity operation helping authors achieve their promotional goals in an ever-changing and mysterious industry.
Curtis LeBlanc was born and raised in St. Albert, Alberta. He currently lives in Vancouver, BC. His first book-length collection of poetry, Little Wild, was published by Nightwood Editions in Spring of 2018. His poetry chapbook Good for Nothing was published by Anstruther Press in 2017. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia.
His work has been shortlisted for the Walrus Poetry Prize, received the Readers’ Choice Award in the Arc Poem of the Year Contest, an Honourable Mention in the Margaret Reid Poetry Contest and was twice shortlisted for CV2‘s Young Buck Poetry Prize. His writing has appeared in a number of journals, recently in The Malahat Review, CV2, Sustenance Anthology (Anvil Press), Eighteen Bridges, Prairie Fire, EVENT, Geist and Arc. He is currently working on his first novel.
He’s also Managing Editor of Rahila’s Ghost Press, co-host of Tonic Reading Series and an occasional hockey columnist for NHL Numbers. He served as Executive Editor of Promotions at PRISM international in 2016-2017.
On December 7, 1-2 pm PST, the World Poetry hosted a special tribute to Franco De Santis, a Italian Canadian Poet living in Hamilton Ontario, Canada . He was born in Morolo, Italy near Rome and Â came to Canada in 1967. De Santis is the author of 11 published books in Italian and the winner of over 20 literary awards. His new book, Selected Poems had been translated by Diego Bastianutti and allows English speaking readers to connect with the poet for the first time. In celebration of this book, published by Hamilton Trinacria Association is offering free books (only postage needs to be paid)
Exquisitely presented by Anna Ciampolini Foschi and Diego Bastianutti, the show featured his poems in English and Italian.
Special E- Peace Poets Preethi Saravana, India and Danny Teller from China. Another Big Bessie Story from Sharon Rowe, read by the wonderful voice of World Poetry Café technician Victor Swartzman. Note: The World Poetry Café is honoured to welcome Professor Diego Bastianutti as a co-host of the show once per month.
Anna Ciampolini Foschi lives in Vancouver, B.C.Â A short story writer, freelance journalist and translator, she co-edited three major anthologies: Emigrante, Writers in Transition and Strange Peregrinations: Italian-Canadian Literary Landscapes. Literary awards include First Prize (2007)Literary awards include First Prize (2007) Citta di Forli and First Prize Italian Week-Ottawa (2010). She is a founding member of the Association of Italian Canadian Writers and co- founded the F.G. Bressani Literary Prize. She has lectured in Italy and Canada. Her works are published in Canada, Italy, U.S.A. and Costa Rica. Anna was inducted in the Hall of Fame at Vancouver’s Italian Cultural Centre
Diego Bastianutti, from Fiume, Italy, has crossed many borders separating States as well as “states of being.” He is at ease with various languages.
After a few years in international banking on Wall Street, he took up his tenure as Professor of Spanish and Italian literature at Queens University from 1970 to 1997, while holding the post of Honorary Vice Consul of Italy (1977-1995).
He retired in Sicily for six years, where he spearheaded a movement for the understanding of the process of integration and assimilation of new immigrants from North Africa.
Since his arrival in Vancouver, and thanks to his own personal background as a Julian Dalmatian exile, he has come to know and understand the sense of alienation of the people in DTES (Vancouver Downtown Eastside), but he has also been struck by their resilience, their undeniable humanity and dignity, and their sense of community. This experience inspired him to write a collection of poems dedicated to them. Similarly, the international photographer Jon Guido Bertelli was moved to produce a set of powerfully moving photographs. The poems and photos were mounted in two successful exhibits in Vancouver in 2016 and 2017. The exhibit was also mounted in Trieste, Italy this past April, invited and financed by the University of Trieste and the Julian-Dalmatians in the World.
Prof. Bastianutti has received wide recognition here and abroad for his work as a writer, poet and translator. His prize-winning poems, articles and short stories have been featured in various national and international literary journals and anthologies. Currently he is a free-lance editor, a Canadian correspondent for an Italian literary magazine in San Jose, Costa Rica, and a member of the Association of Italian Canadian Writers, the Canadian Authors Association, and the Federation of BC Writers.
His socio-historical articles, short stories and four collections of poetry have become material of study in a graduate course offered at the University of Toronto.