Thursday, October 31, 2013


On October 29th, 2013, a week before he releases his debut CD "Into the Dark" for the public (see October 31st post for the review), I sat with David Rubel for an intimate one-on-one interview in which we talk from everything regarding education, musical influences, how he got into music and of course his new album.

For those wanting to catch the David Rubel CD Release party, here is the information on where its at:

9 PM

Enjoy the interview!!!


Into The Dark
David Rubel

Young saxophonist, composer and educator David Rubel’s first CD is a very melodic, spacious take on jazz that hearkens to the records produced by the ECM label.    On all of his compositions he takes the music on a more relaxed, ethereal pace where the music breathes and the melody is allowed to soar and touch listeners.

The opening track, “Into the Dark”, is a fierce, lightly funky 7/4 groove that opens the disc on one of its intense, high energy moments before it gets into its ECM territory.   Among my favourite tracks is the melancholic “Abandon All Hope”, which is a moving ballad reminiscent of Joshua Redman and “Ever”, which is a 5/4 composition that ends on a hopeful, sprightly note.  

Rubel’s choice of rhythm players shows his innate sense of simpatico and connection between the players, which effectively comes out within the music.   Rubel’s tone and playing throughout the album is full of emotion, soul, and passion, and his compositions are so accessible that even casual listeners can find something to like in this album.    Winston Matsushita, the piano player, shows off his classically trained chops very well in this record through his solos and empathetic comping behind the saxophonist.   Bassist Malcolm Connor keeps perfect rhythm and time plus takes in a few moving solos on tracks such as “Penchance to Dream”.   Robin Claxton displays sensitivity and complimentary playing on the album, showing his musical chops versus the rhythmic prowess common among various drummers.

All in all, “Into the Dark” is a fine debut from a fine set of young musicians that warrants repeated and careful listenings time and time again.  


Sunday, October 27, 2013


While getting into the historic Kensington Market to search for an exotic yet reasonably priced lunch spot, I was immediately drawn to a restaurant that fuses both my cultural background cuisine and one of my favourite international cuisines into one.   I am talking about RASTA PASTA, which is a fusion of both Jamaican and Italian cuisines through their selection of pizzas, pastas, and staple main dishes.

Thanks to this unique fusion of cuisines I was curious to check out what they are offering.    What drew me instantly is that they have their daily small Jerk Chicken Special at a bargain price ($5).     That alone drew my friend and myself to check out this cuisine.   And what a great decision that was.

Instead of serving pre-made, tough chicken, theirs was cooked on the spot, made to order.      The chicken was juicy, tender, and fall of the bone, finger licking good, and the sauce was tantalizing and has a great kick.    The meal came with an order of rice & peas and vegetables, which accompanied the chicken very well and added a healthy kick to the meal.

I am definitely coming back to this restaurant again whenever I hit the Kensington Market area.    This is Jamaican food done right, and being a Jamaican descendant myself I am a stickler when it comes to my own ethnic cuisine served outside of my house.    One moment from eating here you will leave out singing “One Love”, the next moment you will leave singing “O Sole Mio”.    For that, I shall say, YEAH MON!

61 Kensington Avenue
Kensington Market
Toronto, Ontario
M5T 2K1
Facebook:  eatrastapastato
Twitter:  eatrastapasta

(Co-Owner Magnus and the Rasta Pasta Menu)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Hello There.   Conrad Gayle writing you here.  

Just want to keep you abreast on the changes that are happening to my blog site.

First off, the web-site is being transformed from a strictly text-based reading experience into a complete multimedia experience, with the inclusion of video blogging.   For this blog I have happened to conduct my first interview with singer/songwriter Joel Martin and it should be the start of what I hope to be a fruitful experience interviewing friends and colleagues in various spheres of life and sharing it to the world.

Second, there is now a feature for those whose first language is not English.   On the right hand corner there is a translate function where you can select your language and have the articles automatically translated to you in your language of choice.

Third, there are options for me to be followed or added on to Google +, so if you have this feature, you can add me and keep up to date on the goings on of the blog site.

And last but not least, I have created a donate button where if you feel motivated, you can donate towards growing the blog site.   Any amount goes a LONG way.

Thanks and it is a pleasure blogging for you.   If you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact me or leave them in the comment box below.  

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


On a cool Monday afternoon I decided to trek down to the #1 Studio in Canada, Metalworks, to interview one of the hottest singer/songwriters to emerge in the Canadian music scene.  

Hot off the heels with his 12th recording "The Tipping Point", watch Joel Martin as we discuss the recording process, his time with Canadian Idol, his favourite artists, and his upcoming plans.

Saturday, October 19, 2013


Apparently there is a recent motion being put in place to modify the lyrics of O Canada to make it politically correct and accommodating to women.   People like George Stromboulopoulos are advocating this change, whereas myself feels that political correctness and feminism is just going way too far and over emotional over something that has been tried, tested and true for over a century.

In O Canada, feminists and the politically correct Gestapo want to change “In All Thy Sons Command” since it feels it is sexist and doesn’t represent women at all in the Canadian anthem.    To them, I want to say to them point blank: WHO CARES?   Why tamper with an iconic anthem in which until now has had no problem with that line?    If you change it now to appease these folks, it will seem awkward and loses its historic aestheticism.   

As a composer of music, I take great pride and also take cautious measures to ensure the artistic integrity of ones work for all who are willing to hear.   Music shouldn’t be tampered or changed in order to appease a small fraction of those who cry discriminatory if it doesn’t acknowledge their sex.    For these people, it is lame, useless and just plain silly and I feel they should just shut their mouths up and leave the anthem alone.  

To close, I will forever and proudly sing the national anthem with the line “with all thy son’s command”, cause it is historically significant, musically aesthetic, and proudly defines who we are as a Canadian people.


Brownman Electryc Trio
Browntasauras Records
(Contemporary Jazz)
4 out of 5

In their second CD, and first studio album, Brownman Ali and his “electryc” trio serve up some of the funkiest, forward thinking jazz which pays respect to past innovators like Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, and Donald Byrd, while pushing jazz into present and future tenses through its hip hop, funk, and Latin influences.

On paper, it may not seem much when a trio has a trumpet player, a bass player and a drummer without any chordal support.    But when Brownman adds a few electric pedals, the bass to double on chords, and a dose of high energy, it is a band which has a fuller, rounded sound that is completely and distinctly their own.

The CD opens off with three standards,  Harry Warren’s “There Will Never Be Another You”, Tadd Dameron’s “Lady Bird” and Herbie Hancock’s “Cantaloupe Island”, being taken and transformed into intriguing and different directions by the electric trio.     “There Will Never Be Another You” is treated with a funk backdrop that will get present day music lovers grooving to a tried tested and true song.    “Lady Bird”, starts off with a sample of Miles Davis introducing the tune from an old recording before giving a present day funk treatment that brings bebop to the present day.     “Cantaloupe Island” is given quite the workout through intense soloing by Brownman, bassist Tyler Emond (out of six featured in the CD) and trading between drummer Colin Kingsmore.  

This CD also showcases Brownman’s skills as a challenging composer through using odd time signatures not usually employed in funk settings.   For instance, “Chocalet Citeh” uses a 7/4 time signature which provides some intense rhythms and solos while making it pretty groovy and danceable for the average listener.    One of my favourites of the album, the aptly titled “Catholic School Girls” infuses complexity, intensity, and electronic wizardry admist a 10/8 backdrop and hip hop sampling.

“Gravitation” is a jazz CD that definitely has something for everyone who loves forward thinking jazz and tight grooves.    For the jazz aficionado, the standards and compositions are a breath of fresh air to show that jazz is an art form that is ever evolving and growing from every year that passes by.    Brownman breathes new life and personality into the jazz idiom, maintaining a voice that is uniquely fresh and uniquely his own as a result of this highly exciting and enthralling release.     Thanks to people like Brownman, jazz in the 21st century is moving forward and going stronger as time goes on.


(Brownman Electryc Trio Performing "Irrational Funktions")

Friday, October 18, 2013


On a cool Wednesday evening, I was serenaded with the hard swinging sounds of a trio led by a young Canadian jazz lion named Jeff Halischuk.   In a program consisting of standards and jazz classics, Mr. Halischuk and his trio manage to capture the essence of swing, groove, and soul while at times taking the music into new directions.

The set opens with a slower than usual take on Charles Lloyd’s “Sweet Georgia Bright”, infusing a sense of New Orleans groove and backbeat into the piece when breaking through into a tight swinging groove.   Saxophonist Chris Gale takes a spirited solo on his tenor sax, whereas Mark Cashion provides solid timekeeping throughout the piece.

The standard “I Fall in Love Too Easily” is taken in a ¾ waltz feel that brings a certain kind of movement to an otherwise slow ballad piece.     Lover is taken at breakneck speed, whereas the mood cools down for Mal Waldron’s “Soul Eyes”, taken at a pensive, reflective tempo.

On the last two songs, the easy swing comes back with their light and heavenly take on Jerome Kern’s “Nobody Else But Me”, and then the night closes with a Latin take on Duke Ellington’s classic spiritual piece, Come Sunday.    

Throughout this performance I witnessed how complete a drummer Jeff Halischuk is at such a young age.   He’s got good rhythmic conceptions and has the means to provide great colors for the soloists and rhythm members in his group.    Chris Gale plays with a sense of soul and swing that is unmatched and Mark Cashion keeps time and groove with a succinct stability.    Hoping to hear more of this band in the future, but be sure to catch this trio at the Rex while you can.

Official REX Web Site: