BIG NEWS! This CD has just been nominated for a 2008 Juno Award (Canadian Grammy) for Instrumental Album of the Year! Hope you enjoy it, it's my best CD yet!
I will be playing my birthday Jam at Chalkers Pub, 247 Marlee Ave., at 7pm on Sunday March 16. It's Free to get in and It's a 5 minute walk S/W of the Glencairn Subway. See you there for a little birthday cheer!
Buy the CD here or download it as an mp3.
You can also get tracks at iTunes http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewAlbum?playListId=270531260
NOW Magazine – Top 10 CD’s of 2007
Jazz Demon Underhill found inspiration in his own backyard for this coolly conceived disc. In his smooth-flowing, hot-stepping conceptual jazz ode to his Kensington Market ‘hood, Underhill evokes the vibrancy of the Augusta and Baldwin intersection with a great Saturday-afternoon headphone backdrop.
Richard Underhill – Kensington Suite NNNN (Sizzling)
Critics Pick NOW Magazine. Dec. 6 /2007
The off-and-on Shuffle Demon follows his Juno-nominated Moment in Time with a conceptual ode to his current place of residence, Kensington Market. It’s certainly one of the city’s most unique neighborhoods, and Underhill does it jazz justice. He captures the unrushed Ideal Coffee vibe on Meet Me in the Market, with Underhill’s alto leading a breezy small-band chamber sound. Bike Lane is more frenetic, like dodging bodies and unwelcome cars on a busy Saturday, as fellow Demon Perry White lets loose a hot tenor solo. Underhill puts down the utopian brush for a moment on In the Shadows, on which Dave Restivo organ-grinds a smoky compliment to his sinister soundtrack to late nights at Bellevue Square.
Richard Underhill – Kensington Suite
By Glen Hall Exclaim Magazine 2008
There is a truism that ‘place begets art” and that is definitely the case on alto-saxophonist Richard Underhill’s Kensington Suite. A denizen on the multi-cultural funky enclave at the heart of one of the world’s most culturally diverse cities (Toronto), Underhill is perfectly suited to write a suite of tunes that reflect his neighbourhood. A dedicated cyclist, “Bike Lane” features some smokin’ Underhill alto followed by seriously boisterous guitar work by another Shuffle Demon, Eric St-Laurent. The leader’s grooving “Cançao de Vila” also reflects the environment in which this highly approachable music was born. His cohorts – a partial list includes bassist Brandi Disterheft, tenorists Chris Gale and Perry white, keyboardist Dave Restivo and uber-guitarist Reg Schwager – all make their substantial presence felt on whatever tune they play. Admittedly this may not be groundbreaking music. But if you want to grove out, Kensington Suite will do your house party well. This is cool stuff from a darn fine musician. (Stubby)
Richard Underhill – Kensington Suite
***1/2 (Excellent) Ashante Infantry – Toronto Star - Dec. 18/07
Founding Shuffle Demons member Richard Underhill’s third solo disc is an homage to his Kensington Market neighbourhood. The ace alto saxist excels here as both a player and composer on these 10 original tunes to conjure one of the city’s hippest enclaves. Accompanied by a host of top-notch players – Dave Restivo on organ and Artie Roth - the tunes swing from classic jazz to Bossa Nova to rock-influenced for a fun, familiar sound. Top Track: ‘When I Miss You’ features a lovely guitar solo by Reg Schwager.
On November 15/2007, Richard Underhill released his much-anticipated new CD 'Kensington Suite.' The 3rd CD from this Juno Award winner and 3-time nominee, 'Kensington Suite' features 10 new original jazz instrumentals and exhibits the maturity that comes with years of writing and recording. The arrangements are excellent, the songs are catchy, the band impeccable and the playing passionate. Underhill’s songwriting is crisp and poignant. ‘Bike Lane,’ ‘In the Shadows’ and ‘Meet me in the Market’ shine. Great tunes played by a killer band.
The powerful follow up to the 2007 Juno Award nominated CD ‘Moment in Time,’ ‘Kensington Suite’ is a celebration of Toronto’s hippest neighbourhood and inspired by the colourful characters that populate the market.The album
features adventurous modern jazz with hard bop, bossa, drum n’bass, rock and modern rhythmic influences but also explores the groovy organ/guitar riffs and Mancini-esque writing that made 2003’s Juno Award winning CD ‘Tales from the Blue Lounge’ such a hit. The tunes are memorable, the
performances compelling and the sound of the CD is superlative.
Featured on the recording are some of Canada’s finest jazz musicians. Chris Gale (Colin James, Blue Rodeo, Tyler Yareema) shares the tenor chair with Perry White(Shuffle Demons, Holly Cole, Dave McMurdo). Reg Schwager (who has played with EVERYBODY) shares guitar work with Eric St-Laurent (Shuffle Demons electric band, Carlos del Junco) and the rhythm section is rounded out by Toronto bass stalwart Artie Roth and Vancouver’s amazing Joe Poole, who routinely draws comparisons to Brian Blade for his unique combination of power and sensitivity. Guesting on a few tracks are organist David Restivo, percussionist Aline Morales (of Maracatu Nunca Antes), bassist Brandi Disterheft, percussionist Mafata Lemphane and trombonist Scott Good.
The CD was recorded at Cherry Beach sound, and was pro-
duced, edited and mixed by award winning producer Jono
Grant. Granthas once again achieved the audiophile quality
sound that gave both ‘Tales from the Blue Lounge’and ‘Moment
in Time’a warmth and depth. The feel is at once classic and
10 new songs by prolific composer Richard Underhill
1.MEET ME IN THE MARKET (5:29)
2.BIKE LANE (6:49)
3.IN THE SHADOWS (5:23)
4.A DAY IN THE PARK (5:39)
5.CANÇAO DE VILA (5:02)
6.GREEN SHIFT (6:45)
7.THE THINGS THAT YOU NEED (4:45)
8.FIRE DANCE (9:37)
9. WHEN I MISS YOU (6:17)
10.DREAMING BIG DREAMS(6:49)
Richard Underhill’s wonderful warm alto sound, great writing and arranging skills and in-from-the-outside soloing make him one of Canada’s most distinctive jazz performers. Richard won a 2003 Juno Award for his jazz debut Tales from the Blue Lounge and was nominated for the Prix du Jazz at the 2003 Montreal Jazz Festival.
His 2nd album Moment in Time garnered significant critical acclaim and was nominated for a 2007 Juno Award. His debut video ‘The Old Guys’ climbed to No.1 on the Bravo! video chart and won a 2004 SOCAN Number 1 award. A truly original jazz composer and arranger, Richard's exciting original music captivates audiences with singable melodies, outstanding musicianship and engaging performances.
Richard has performed and recorded with Han Bennink, Julius Hemphil, Dr. John, Paul Cram, Kevin Breit, Jane Bunnett, the Neville Brothers, Kathleen Edwards, Taj Mahal, Maria Muldar, Rob McConnell, Molly Johnson, Blue Rodeo, Colin James, Andy Stochansky, Colin Linden, Hawksley Workman, Stephen Frearing, The Sadies, Tom Cochrane, Wide Mouth Mason, Luke Doucet, Holly Cole, Julie Michaels, Alex Lifeson, Mendelson Joe, Amos Garrett, Bobby Wiseman, Soul Rebels, the Mighty PoPo, the Hemispheres Orchestra, Daniel Janke, Tom Walsh, NOMA and Toronto jazz stalwarts like Reg Schwager, Jake Langley, Steve Koven, Ron Davis, Wayne Cass, Tyler Yareema, Tory Cassis, and George Koller. In demand as a session player and sideman, he has written horn and string arrangements for Kathleen Edwards, Molly Johnson, Andy Stochansky, Hawksley Workman, Blue Rodeo, Bobby Wiseman, Big Rude Jake and Lorraine Segato. He leads several diverse groups including his jazz quintet, the Funk Explosion, The Kensington Horns Community Band, and the improvising electronic groove ensemble Astrogroove.
The founding member of Toronto's outrageous Sun Ra influenced Shuffle Demons, Underhill took this ground breaking Bop Rap ensemble from the streets of Toronto across Canada and to Europe. This audacious group played jazz, folk, world and rock festivals from Halifax to Vancouver and from Italy to Estonia from 1986 – 1997, touring across Canada 15 times and through Europe 15 times. The Shuffle Demons featured a fusion of hard bop and rap combined with exotic costumes and a no-holds-barred performance style. Over the course of 15 European tours they were a hit at several Jazz festivals including the North Sea Jazz, Molde Jazz, London’s Outside In Jazz festival, the Edinburgh Jazz festival, the Sfinks festival, and Jazz a Vienne. They recently celebrated their 20th Anniversary with a cross Canada tour and by breaking the Guinness Book World Record for most sax players performing a song. (900). The Shuffle Demons continue to tour and in 2006 performed at festivals in India, China and Europe to great success.
'one of the best-sounding (CD's) of the year’
RICHARD UNDERHILL Moment In Time (Stubby) Rating: NNNN
It's hard to believe this follow-up to his 2003 Juno winner, Tales From The Blue Lounge, is only Underhill's second solo album. As a founding member of the Shuffle Demons and a noted session sax player who puts in time with Blue Rodeo, Underhill seems to have been around forever. This album, co-produced by Jono Grant and Underhill, continues to deliver the goods, and may be one of the best-sounding of the year. All the better to hear the intense rhythm section, especially on Perry's Place and Day Off, where the drums and bass create an organic, driving force for Underhill and keys master Luis Guerra to go off on wild warring solos. Competition here is healthy, bringing out the best in everyone, with Bob Brough's tenor sax sweetly countering Underhill's alto. A thoroughly modern take on modern jazz, à la Coleman and Hawkins.
'a resolutely swinging affair, focused and mature'
Eye Weekly - Toronto - November 24/2005 - CD guide - Moment in Time ***
'For a long time, the word restraint didn't seem to be in Richard Underhill's musical vocabulary, but the man who led 900 saxists in playing the Hockey Night in Canada theme last year has delivered a small-group jazz album that sounds both focused and mature. Moment in Time is a resolutely swinging affair, mostly in a 1960s post-bop vein, featuring thoughtful and committed playing from Underhill and sidemen, as well as some memorable original charts. Occasionally, though, it feels more accomplished than exciting;its best moments, such as in the feverish drum 'n' bass-referencing "Morse Code," find the musicians exploring intriguing new territory. Should Underhill manage to imbue his current group more consistently with his Shuffle Demons' exuberant, experimental spirit, he'll surely turn the Canadian jazz world on its ear.'
'shape-shifting pieces that show off rich harmonies'
Toronto Star - November 10/2005 - Moment in Time (*** 1/2 out of 4)
Richard Underhill of the Shuffle Demons won a 2003 Juno award for 'Tales from the Blue Lounge' and his strong follow 'Moment in Time' (***1/2) is surely in with a prize chance. It's official release is Tuesday at the Montreal Bistro. The alto saxophonist's quintet playing his 10 compositions has expert foils in tenorman Bob Brough and yet another Cuban piano prodigy, 21 year-old Luis Guerra. Underhill is comfortable and frequently thrilling in all areas and gets bustling aid from his pulse duos bassists Mike Milligan or Graig Earle and drummers Joe Poole or Daniel Barnes, plus occasional guests. The groups scramble effectively with contemporary, dense-themed and shape-shifting pieces that show off rich harmonies and opportunities for heady outside playing
'second album builds on considerable promise'
CODA - Richard Underhill Moment in Time Stubby Records SRCD-7732
Altoist/composer Richard Underhill's second disc away from the often-comic contours of The Shuffle Demons builds on considerable promise. While he works in familiar territory, Underhill has a keen ear for detail as a bandleader, a neat talent for finding the right elasticity in his tunes-not bad at all on a set that features the choice of two different bassists and three different drummers-and good lungs and ideas as a soloist. It all comes together especially well in sly tracks like "A Few Things" and "Chasing the Sun," which never stay quite the same as you might expect, while "Traffic" is fairly mischievous with Joe Poole's canny drumming. As for detail, check the opening of "Morse Code," with its sprinkles of piano (Luis Guerra) and pulse bass (Mike Milligan). Can we get a live album next?
'A stellar effort'
Echo Weekly - Kitchener - Tales From The Blue Lounge
...'tales from the blue lounge' is a stellar effort and well deserving of the Juno kudo. The feeling harkens back to the mid-late 60s jazz in the style of Rollins or Cannonball Adderly. Underhill himself refers to this sound as "modern vintage," an apt description. The compositions are a somewhat diverse collection of 10 tunes with nothing too outrageous or too mundane - just solid joyful tunes filled with rollicking solos and a delightful feel all around. Some parts are positively Demonesque while others harken back to a New Orleans style. This is an lp to get lost in and be totally happy about it. Highly recommended!
'A real treat!'
Tales From The Blue Lounge is Canadian alto saxophonist Richard Underhill's debut solo album and the winner of the 2003 Juno Award for Jazz Album of the Year. After a long and winding career that has included membership in the eclectic Shuffle Demons and the electronica-based Astrogroove, this disc of ten original compositions finds Underhill exploring classic sounds that wouldn't sound out of place on a mid-1960s Blue Note Release. "Surfing" kicks off the album with the fleet confidence of a fighter entering the ring, bouncing about, eager with anticipation for the bell to sound. Underhill, tenor saxophonist Bob Brough, and bassist George Koller each take strong, assured solos, seemingly feeding off the shared confidence. Notice must also be given to the fine production that captures the drive and presence of the band, not just on this track, but throughout the album. Elsewhere, Underhill employs ensembles of varying sizes, adding a welcome sense of range to the proceedings. The title track sways with a Latin groove, aided by added percussion from Luis Orbegosa and Jose "Papo" Gonzales. "Big" struts soulfully with driving guitar from Jake Langley and shimmering organ from Dave Restivo. "The Old Guys" features a clever arrangement from Underhill that skillfully references some sunny big band motions, with a dash of Mingus' gospel fire. Tales From The Blue Lounge is a real treat-an album inspired by past musical forms that never sounds tired or dated. Old-fashioned styles are summoned with real joy and a knowing wink. This is accomplished and assured music that has the added benefit of being a lot of fun. Stephen Latessa
'Underhill emphasizes prime Blue Note muscle'
CODA, September 2003 - Tales From The Blue Lounge
'Underhill emphasizes prime Blue Note muscle in his original music with a a big sound that triumphs whether he's teaming with the tenor of Bob Brough or fronting a horn section rooted by Chris Gale's baritone. "Big" purrs on guitar, organ and conga and "The Blue Lounge" is a sexy rumba. The sweetest surprise is "Lazy Afternnon," a ballad without apology - Johnny Hodges with added lemon. Underhill may prove the missing link between mass appeal and dignity'
'A wonderfully diverse and appealing album.'
Allaboutjazz.com - Tales From The Blue Lounge
For those familiar with the jazz scene in Toronto during the eighties and the next decade will remember the impact the Shuffle Demons had. Richard Underhill was the leader and founding member of the band that flipped jazz over not only through the initial impact of their colorful costumes, but also with their outstanding musicianship. The Shuffle Demons split in 1997 and Underhill went out on his own and recorded his debut album in 2003, with a wealth of Canadian talent. It is well worth revisiting. Underhill uses several idioms in his music. He does not miss out on the connect as he gets deep down into the groove and comes up with rhythms that sizzle. He drives the point home right away as "Surfing" gets off on a funky edge shifted by George Koller on bass and Ted Warren on drums. Underhill takes his alto into the curl and loop, his lines taut yet delving to capture the nuance of the melody. He breaks away to prod and probe letting Bob Brough to bring his big sound on the tenor and parlay a path that etches some deep lines. A great balance, indeed! Underhill utilizes an octet to give voice to "Big." This is a big (!), brawny production, the sound initially driven by Dave Restivo on organ before Jake Langley illumines the path on the guitar, countenanced by the horns in particular Underhill as he burrows a red hot trail. The title cut has a big band, 11 musicians gathering for a rumba which glides into sensuality on the horns. But Underhill is not content to rest on one aspect. He shifts time and tempo to give the song a broader scope, and in that a stronger impact. There's more in the way of marvelous tunes that make this a wonderfully diverse and appealing album.
'Solid but fertile musical directions'
Planet Jazz International Jazz Review - Tales From The Blue Lounge
This album has an infectious street quality earned honestly by Richard Underhill, with his Shuffle demons work, while evoking a 60's sensibility. Underhill has enlisted the talents of a variety of familiar artists in various combinations to support each piece. The band's performance has the feel of a journey through the complex ebb and flow of a large metropolis. This feeling is deftly established in the opening drive of "Surfing," with fine horn harmonies from Underhill's alto and the tenor work of Bob Brough. Following this is a Monkish rendition of "Mr. Fezziwig," which included an appropriate contribution from the piano of Dave Restivo. The tune "Big" is strongly suggestive of a '60's TV theme song, perhaps from the pen of Quincy Jones. This is especially true wit the addition of Restivo's organ work; he also shines on "Blues for Suze," as does the guitar playing of Jake Langley. Completing the period feel is a rumba rendition of the title song, with the horn harmonies illustrating the kind of work Underhill has been doing as an arranger for other artists for the past few years. On "The Old Guys" the music delves into a very swinging, up-tempo shuffle jive style, as it does on the tune "Chillin." Also contained on this release is a wonderfully riffy piece called "Pegasus," which is paced precisely by the drumming of Ted Warren, who never fails to play right on top of the beat. This effort reflects the solid but fertile musical directions and ideas of Richard Underhill who, I'm sure, will be beard from again in the future. Roger Viner 2004
HONOURS & AWARDS:
2007 - Nominee - 'Moment in Time' Contemporary Jazz Recording of the Year
2005 - Award Winner - Blue Rodeo - ‘Stereovision’ - DVD of the Year
2003 - Award Winner - Richard Underhill - ‘Tales from the Blue Lounge’
Contemporary Jazz Recording of the Year
2003 - Nominee - Blue Rodeo - Group of the Year, Song of the Year
1988 - Nominee - Paul Cram 'Beyond Benghazi' Best Jazz Recording
1987 - Nominee - Shuffle Demons 'Streetniks' - Best Jazz Recording
SOCAN #1 SONG AWARD:
2004 – Award Winner - Richard Underhill - ‘The Old Guys’ Bravo! video
CANADIAN INDEPENDENT MUSIC AWARDS:
2004 - Nominee - Richard Underhill - Favourite Jazz Artist
PRIX DU JAZZ - Festival International de Jazz de Montreal
2003 – Finalist – Richard Underhill Sextet
1989 – Finalist - Walsh/Underhill Duo
1990 Favourite Jazz Recording - 'What Do You Want' – Shuffle Demons
1989 - Award Winner - Best Jazz Recording - The Shuffle Demons - 'Bop Rap'
1988 - Award Winner - Best Independent Video - 'Out Of My House Roach'
1988 - Award Winner - Best Independent Artist - The Shuffle Demons
1987 - Award Winner - Best Jazz Recording - The Shuffle Demons-'Streetniks'
TORONTO MUSIC AWARDS:
1989 - Award Winner - Best Toronto Jazz Group - The Shuffle Demons
1988 - Award Winner - Best Toronto Jazz Group - The Shuffle Demons