“Growing up, I always had to wind up our creaky old metronome before practicing scales. It never occurred to me that the hypnotizing pendulum in front of me wasn’t just good for disciplined practice but also useful as a springboard into imagination. From the same rigid pulse could come both discipline and artistic abandon”. (Mike Janzen)
Metronome is the Mike Janzen Trio’s fourth release and explores how music interacts with time, both technically and philosophically. Music has the capacity to move the listener from the business of ‘every second counting’ to the sense of time passing without our awareness. The eight original compositions are an instrumental collaboration between Mike Janzen (piano/organ), iconic bassist George Koller (Holly Cole, Shuffle Demons), and drummer sensation Larnell Lewis (Snarky Puppy) on the theme of time.
The album opens with the delightful African influenced Sunshine Coast; unhurried and summery. Next comes the deep bluesy groove of Nudge, and the bubbling folk gospel tune Long Journey Home. Author Mark Buchanan suggest that, “when we play we nudge the border of forever” and both of these pieces are abundant with great feel, melody and carefree play. Complimenting the joy-laced tunes are the compositionally mature Carried Along and the musically rich The Summer that Winter was. Both pieces feature beautiful string writing and the later piece carries a lovely longing in its character, evoking a sense of classical development and romantic flourish. Further down the timeline is the delicate ballad Linger followed by the hard-hitting retro funk/gospel tune, Revive. The title track Metronome is a time-infused, head-bopping discourse on the metric divisions of what is possible over the song’s quarter note. Although this epic time anthem is dizzying to count, it never wonders far from ear-catching melody and its soulful reggae feel.
With catchy tunes and masterful writing, Metronome is a sure hit….or at the very least a tick!
The Mike Janzen Trio is a Toronto-based jazz group whose music is chalked full of hypnotic grooves and surging imagination. With the dynamic Larnell Lewis (Snarky Puppy, Rinsethealgorithm) on drums, the iconic George Koller (Holly Cole, Shuffle Demons) on bass, and the riveting Mike Janzen on piano/vocals, this trio is one of Canada’s most entertaining jazz outfits.
Their last recording, “Try to Remember”, received a glowing review from Christopher Loudon from the Jazz Times (07/11/11) and the rambunctious track Chim Chim Che-ree was debuted by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra at Massey Hall in December of 2012. The trio will be performing with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and Sarah Slean on Nov.7-9/14 at Centennial Concert Hall, kicking off their new show called Reimagining Broadway.
With a sound that melds jazz, rock and folk, there is always an undercurrent of adventurous joy to the group’s musical approach. Although virtuosity is in high supply, the trio’s ability to slide through the ears and into the heart is what sets them apart. Their music is an engaging blend of standards, explorative versions of popular songs (Mrs. Robinson, God put a smile) and well-crafted originals. Their newest project entitled Metronome explores the metric divisions found in music while underpinning the compositional structures with the fluidity of head-bopping rhythms.
The Mike Janzen Trio has performed at many festivals including the Toronto International Jazz Festival, the Wreckhouse International Jazz Festival, and the Port Hope All-Canadian Jazz Festival. They are a national fixture on CBC radio, Jazz 91.1 and are releasing their fourth album in January 2014.
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