David Dacks, Eye Magazine, February 2011
Four things you need to know about... Ken Aldcroft
If you’re still in the dark about Toronto’s burgeoning free-jazz improvisation scene, guitarist, label boss and live impresario Ken Aldcroft is celebrating his decade as a key driver of this community with a multimedia, tribute-heavy, five-concert "In-Re-tro-Spective.".
1. He’s a part of the untold Torontopia Aldcroft noted a shift in Toronto music around the same time that Wavelength got going. "I think a lot of people relocated or came on the scene around 2000. There was this big influx of musicians, not just in jazz and improvised music, but in all styles," he says. This spurred him to co-found a weekly live showcase in 2003, and a jazz-related community organization, The Association of Improvising Musicians in Toronto.
2. DIY = Do Improvisation Yourself Aldcroft has released all his own music on his Trio Records label. Thanks to his and other artist-run labels Rat Drifting, Oval Window and Barnyard, the local indie-jazz scene has never been better-documented. As you might expect, "CD sales are pretty miniscule," he admits. "But I think the process (of recording albums) is still 100 per cent needed."
3. Improvisation is inclusive The Convergence Ensemble is Aldcroft's best-known band. Unlike a lot of freaky sounding free-jazz improvisation, Convergence dives into folk forms, blues, jazz and abstraction with equal gusto. "I try not to put those restrictions on myself," he explains. "I try to embrace a beautiful melody or scratchy, piercing sounds—all are possibilities."
4. He understands the value of special events Nuit Blanche has proven that context is everything for adventurous music. In-Re-tro-spective features two live film soundtracks, plus tributes to Duke Ellington, Miles Davis and Captain Beefheart. "It's the epitome of the Toronto scene: people making creative music in any form."
"In-Re-tro-Spective" begins Feb 26 at Somewhere There (227 Sterling Rd., Unit 112).