Soaring Kites and Soaring Voices (concert review)

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Date: Thursday April 28th, 2011
Location: Lula Lounge
Event: CD Release: Fern Lindzon “Two Kites
Writer: Moreen Murray
Photography: Greg King and Addy Shoichet

Although the weather yesterday was more conducive to destroying kites than flying them, they were quite safe decorating the Lula Lounge stage at Fern Lindzon’s CD launch for her latest release “Two Kites” – in fact one of the kite’s tails twined around the arm holding up the lid of the piano. Radiant in a denim blue diaphanous gown (like the CD cover) we were tipped off that sunnier skies were about to prevail.

I kind of got a sneak preview of the contents at a concert in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre a couple of weeks ago, the CD being part of the Toronto Downtown Jazz Festival Special Projects initiative. Josh Grossman, festival director, reminisced about meeting Fern at his tenure at the Markham Jazz Festival and touched upon her versatility, in particular scoring for the Buster Keaton silent film “Sherlock Junior” which was screened at the TIFF Bell Lightbox Theatre. I can assure you that was an amazing experience, complete with full orchestra. I am also familiar with her work in the glorious “Sisters of Sheynville” Klezmer influenced group.

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The ensemble last night, who are of course featured on the CD, included Mike Murley on saxophones, George Koller on bass and Nick Fraser on drums. The band started out up-tempo with a swinging original of Fern’s called “All Fall Down”. Lindzon couldn’t resist a reference to that special event happening in London this week, dedicating the next tune to Wills and Kate, which combined “Moon in the Sky” and “My Romance”.

The delightful title tune, written by Antonio Carlos Jobim, featured a rapid-fire, stream of consciousness lyric – in fact his only lyric written originally in English. The piece continued with a wonderful curlicued solo by Mike Murley (you would never know he was suffering from a cold), which put me in mind of the namesake kites swooping and dipping on a lovely summer day.

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One of the highlights of the show for me was the bluesy take on “Let Yourself Go” (from Fern’s 2008 release, Moments Like These), where the band did indeed let loose – particularly Fern on the keys and Mr. Koller on bass. Mike Murley was featured again on soprano on “Dona, Dona”, part of the homage to Eastern European Klezmer influenced tunes; an influence which is also felt on Two Kites – on a lovely Egberto Gismonti number, as well as a sensitive treatment on the great Norma Winstone’s “Distance”.

Each outing reveals more of Miss Lindzon’s talent and versatility, and like a kite, she continues to soar.


Moreen Murray is a writer and longtime contributor to the Toronto jazz community, having made her presence felt as scheduler and greeter for Jazz FM’s Jazzology programme, and volunteer for various festivals. Read more of Moreen’s work on her blog, www.jazzgoddess.blogspot.com.

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About The Purple Cabbage

A Toronto Jazz and creative music blog featuring interviews, new releases, culture, shows, and all things Toronto Jazz.
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