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MP3 Sea of Song Trio - Blue Boat

jazz guitar trio sweetly atonal

10 MP3 Songs
AVANT GARDE: Free Improvisation, JAZZ: Modern Creative Jazz


Geordie Haley’s Sea of Song Trio
Blue Boat
By Vish Khanna

Accomplished Toronto guitarist Geordie Haley leads bassist Rob Clutton and drummer Brandon Valdivia through a heady array of eclectic compositions and improvisation. For every hint of trad jazz, there’s wondrous freedom in this masterful trio’s playing that leads to some intense and exhilarating performances. A tribute to Canadian blues legend Dutch Mason, “Dutch” is a fiery display, with Haley’s thick, resonant tone augmenting the emotive guitar wailing, which blasts against the charged-up rhythm section. There’s a little bit of country floating within Blue Boat but it surfaces briefly before being submerged beneath more experimental fare. Though subtle, “Crashed Tanker” is such a piece, while “No Parsing” steps right up with its mournful slide guitar and finger picking, which Clutton and Valdivia nuzzle up to, gently ushering the song elsewhere. Myriad styles and avenues make Blue Boat an intriguingly open affair. (Verge)
Eye Weekly Review July 26th 2007

On Disc
**** 4/5 stars
Blue Boat
Like his namesake and East Delta Trios, Geordie Haley''s Sea of Song Trio compositions are perfectly tailored to the players, calling on Drumheller''s bass-anchor Rob Clutton and drummer Brandon Valdivia (I Have Eaten The City''s navigator of uncharted rhythms) for the sea-themed free-jazz fusion of Blue Boat. With Haley''s guitar work at the helm, they open with impressive restraint, exploring the sweetly atonal melody of “My Boat''s in Bayfield” wherein Clutton solos over the introspective abstraction of Valdivia''s cymbal spatters and Haley''s high harmonics. The shifting grooves and flurried guitar lines of “Dutch” and psychedelic chord changes of “C''est Bon Des Pop Tarts” hint at the Nels Cline Singers, while the three mid-album improv tracks stoke the smouldering intensity.


Geordie Haley’s Sea of Song Trio

Blue Boat

Geordie Haley’s East Delta Trio

Summer Garden Party

Because the best jazz demands particular chemistry, similar sessions result in variable results. That’s what happened on these two trio discs by Toronto guitarist Geordie Haley. While his East Delta Trio (EDT)’s Summer Garden Party is merely good, his Sea of Song (SOS) Trio’s Blue Boat is exceptional.

Haley who moved west from Fredericton, N.B. in 1997 is one of Toronto’s most versatile guitarists who works with many different-sized bands. It’s odd that Summer Garden Party isn’t better. All the players are Maritimers – alto saxophonist Evan Shaw is a Hartland, N.B. native and tabla player Vineet Vyas hails from Truro, N.S.; plus EDT’s unique instrumentation could open more musical vistas.

In contrast Blue Boat features standard jazz trio instruments; and – at the risk of highlighting regional disparities – the other players are Ontarians: Burlington bassist Rob Clutton and drummer Brandon Valdivia from Chatham. Much of Boat’s seaworthiness can be attributed to Clutton, who keeps the vessel on an even keel rhythmically while providing space for the guitarist’s rapid chromatic runs and the drummer’s rattles, snaps and rolls.

At Party’s best, as on “Minor Figure”, the title tune and “Ipperwash” unanticipated connections are made, as when funky guitar licks are superimposed on top of Carnatic-style beats or when false register asides from the saxophonist meet Haley’s ostinato lines. While the guitarist occasionally sounds sitar-like vamps to complement Vyas’ Indian concepts, on “Ipperwash” all three fittingly evoke Native Canadian music to reflect its theme.

Displaying slurred fingering and speedy note placement throughout, Haley appears more relaxed on the other CD. On “No Parsing”, he replicates tough bottleneck guitar runs, yet on the atmospheric, “Crashed Tanker”, suggests a variant of Country & Western picking that could win favor Down East. Maritime C&W fans may be puzzled by Valdivia’s Keith Moon-like smashes and whaps on that track though, not to mention Clutton’s sul ponticello sweeps that produce electronic-like drones.

Often the three build up to contrapuntal linkages that encompass tempo and pitch changes. Favoring rim shots over ruffs, the drummer still propels “Dangling Manifesto”, which is also notable for bass licks so fluid they could come from an electric. Yet despite speedy note patterns and feedback expansions from Haley here, the trio’s cooperation prevents any one from lick overindulgence.

-- Ken Waxman

-- For Whole Note Vol. 13 #5

February 1, 2008

Sea Of Song Trio Bios

Geordie Haley (guitarist/composer/improviser)

Geordie Haley is a guitarist, composer and improviser living and playing music in Toronto. Geordie has established himself in Toronto as a group leader and performer since moving there from Fredericton, New Brunswick in 1997 where his regular bands Sameboat, the Exploding Meet and Ujamma were festival favourites,

Geordie Haley’s Everytime Band with Christine Duncan (vocals), Jean Martin (drums), Evan Shaw (sax), Paul Donat (bass), Eugene Martynec (computers) and Ryan Driver (flute and synth) was a featured act in 2007 at L’Off Festival in Montreal and in 2005 at the Toronto and Halifax jazz festivals. Most recently, the group performed at the Eddie Prevost Interface Series in October 2007, hosted by the Association of Improvising Musicians of Toronto (AIMToronto).

Geordie also leads a trio of trios with recent album releases: his East Delta Trio with Evan Shaw (sax) and Vineet Vyas (tabla); his Sea of Song Trio with Rob Clutton (bass) and Brandon Valdivia (drums) and the Geordie Haley Trio with Nick Fraser (drums) and Scott Thomson (trombone).

Other Toronto based groups Geordie performs with include the Liquidaires, the Bill Grove Quartet and the Eve Brown Quartet.

Geordie is currently a co-curator of the Leftover Daylight Series, a weekly, live music presentation with an emphasis on improvisation, and produced in association with AIMToronto and ArrayMusic. He has had the pleasure of playing with improvisers John Oswald, Rhonda Rindone, Lori Freedman, Marilyn Lerner and Roger Turner, dance artists Susie Burpee and Shannon Cooney and video artist June Pak.

Rob Clutton is a composer and double bassist who was born in Barrie, Ontario and has made his home in Toronto for the last twenty years. He earned a bachelor of music in performance at the University of Toronto in 1991, and is currently pursuing a masters degree in music composition at York University.

Rob is active in the creative and improvised music scenes in Toronto, with a solo project, group projects, and as a member of a burgeoning improvising community. Group projects include the Rob Clutton Band, Drumheller, The Steve Koven Trio, N.O.J.O., Jazzstory, The Ryan Driver Quartet, the David Buchbinder Ensemble and the David Mott Quintet. These groups have released numerous recordings, and touring with these groups has taken Rob across Canada, as well as to the U.S., Japan, Europe, Mexico and the Caribbean.

Rob is a founding member of the Association of Improvising Musicians Toronto, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting local creative improvising musicians, and to facilitating events in Toronto that bring international visiting artists together with local improvisers.

Brandon Valdivia is a percussionist/composer who lives in Toronto. He attended Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo and obtained a degree in composition studying with Peter Hatch, Glenn Buhr and Linda Catlin Smith. At Laurier, he studied percussion with Dave Campion and did a workshop with NEXUS, and studied drums privately with Jim Blackley.

In Toronto, Brandon has been playing music with different ensembles like the indie-rock band Picastro (who have done some touring in Canada, the US and various countries in Europe); the cabaret-rock band Dan Fournier and the Pill; the improvising trio I Have Eaten the City; the folky-rock band Loitering Heroes, a Javanese Gamelan Orchestra called GAMTOR; and has been active in the free-improv/noise/experimental scene with various wonderful musicians.

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