Saturday, May 30, 2015


In the 21st century, there is a tendency to see jazz leaving the consciousness of the millennial generation.   Thanks to YouTube, social media, downloading and streaming, various forms of music have been available and tend to cater to the top 40 crowd clamoring for a hit.

There are up and coming artists who still think that jazz is a cool thing that should be explored and expanded upon by the millennial generation.    Among those artists who are part of this millennial generation is the multi-talented tenor saxophonist and composer, Landen Vieira.

I first heard about him through a University of Toronto student and classmate of his who stated that his tone and attack is like a 1960’s Wayne Shorter.   Upon further evidence of what I experienced one Monday night at the Emmett Ray, we see that not only Wayne Shorter is echoed, but Joe Henderson and to a further degree John Coltrane.    As a result, I made it a point of myself to follow (and eventually jam) with this up and coming new talent.

In his set it was mostly a program of creative originals and a couple of standard chestnuts that swung like mad.    “Light Piece” is a fierce bebop number that sets the tone of a later day Rudy Van Gelder Blue Note session, an advanced post-bop number employing stop and go time, sheets of sound, and quartal harmonies in the solo passages of all involved (pianist Adrean Farrugia, bassist Julian Anderson-Bowes and drummer Ethan Ardelli).   “Do It” had the pizzazz and feel of an Art Blakey stomper that has a bluesy groove that is funky and makes you want to snap your fingers.   

One of the standard chestnuts, the Cedar Walton hard bopper “Bolivia”, employed a playful intro vamp that sets a groove and pace for the swing of the tune, which breaks into chord changes and modal interplay between Landen and the rhythm section.    Back to original territory, “Dove” is a beautiful ballad in which employs devices similar to two standards, the AABA format and keys of “Body and Soul” and a B section in which the melody borrows a part of “Like Someone in Love”.    Closing out the set is a quantum burner called “Double Vision”, in which Landen employs his Michael Brecker influences with a tune that is basically the chord changes to “Nothing Personal” which shifts from stop time to fast paced post-bop.

From what I heard that Monday night, I can rest assured that artists such as Landen Vieira give me
such hope that jazz has an enlightened and a secure future in Canada and beyond in the 21st century.


(Landen Vieira)

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