Extended Play - AIMToronto
Barely four years since its founding, The Association of Improvising Musicians Toronto (AIMToronto), has raised the profile of local improvisers, while nurturing the scene. This almost 200-member, non-profit collective helps find venues in which to hear improvised music - most prominently Somewhere There in Parkdale - presents concerts featuring visiting musicians interacting with locals, and has organized a large improvisers orchestra. One of AIMToronto's highest profile gigs took place at the Guelph Jazz Festival in 2007, where 18 AIMToronto members played the music of the American improv guru Anthony Braxton with the composer on soprano saxophone. The result is Creative Orchestra (Guelph) 2007 (Spool Line SPL 130). It showcases the AIMToronto members following the ever-shifting tonal centres in five Braxton compositions. Throughout these sequences and intervals it's evident that overtones and undertones are as audible as the melodies, so the aural coloration takes on a 3-D-like effect. Germane to these tracks are the bravura contribution of vocalist Christine Duncan, who personifies the program not only with guttural or bel canto warbling plus inflated or truncated syllables, but also with parlando declarations. Another connecting thread is percussive - with strokes, vibrations and rattles apparent in varied pitches and pressures from Nick Fraser's and Joe Sorbara's drums and Brandon Valdivia's clattering xylophone. Most characteristic of the pieces is Composition 307, a variation of sprechstimme, with Duncan's falsetto dramatics sharing space with antiphonal vamps from the horns or gong-ringing and rim shots from the percussion. As the resonance arranges itself architecturally, slurs, syllables and sequences peep from the layering, with particularly note-worthy contributions from tenor saxophonist Colin Fisher, growls from Ronda Rindone's clarinet and Scott Thomson's shaggy trombone triplets.