Juno Award Nominee for "Best Contemporary Jazz Album of the Year"
Toronto Jazz musician Allison Au makes a formidable impression with her debut release, “The Sky Was Pale Blue, Then Grey.”
Featuring seven of her original compositions, “The Sky...” provides a fresh perspective from an emerging Canadian modern Jazz composer and performer.
After several years of performing in Toronto's major Jazz venues, as well as conducting three Creative Music residencies at the renowned Banff Centre, it is clear that The Allison Au Quartet harnesses the strengths of each of its members to create a refined and poignant sound of a unique collective.
The opening track, “Birdy”, sets the tone as a mid-tempo exploration of varying instrumental textures. Latin-influenced “The Bridge at Night” and “What Went With The Wind” provide engaging up-tempo rhythmic contrast amongst the album's repertoire. The featured ballads, “La-Da-Dee”, “Tired Face” and “The Orchid” are integrated in intervals throughout the recording, serving as a form of musical pause; each piece gently invites the audience to embrace a new melody with rich accompanying harmonies. Finally, the title track, “The Sky Was Pale Blue, Then Grey”, is a comprehensive experiment of mixed mediums. Combining textures of the human voice with ambient sound effects and a funkier quartet instrumentation breathes a freshness into the ensemble that instantly sounds open and free. The astute, interactive playing dynamic between band members creates truly distinguishing musical narratives in each of the compositions.
Supporting Allison Au on alto saxophone are pianist Todd Pentney, bassist Jon Maharaj and drummer Fabio Ragnelli.
“The Sky Was Pale Blue, Then Grey” is a promising debut that Au has released with confidence and poise.
released October 28, 2014
Allison Au: Alto saxophone
Todd Pentney: Piano, Rhodes (Track 1), Hammond B3 (Track 7)
Jon Maharaj: Acoustic Bass, Electric Bass (Track 7)
Fabio Ragnelli: Drums, Auxiliary Percussion (Track 4)
Felicity Williams: Voice (Track 7)
All compositions by Allison Au (SOCAN), except "Tired Face" by Allison Au and Todd Pentney
Excerpts from John Cage and Morton Feldman In Conversation, Radio Happening I of V recorded at WBAI New York City, 1966-1967 (July 9, 1966), edited by Todd Pentney (Track 7)
Used with the permission of the John Cage Trust (www.johncage.org
Produced by Todd Pentney
Co-produced by Allison Au
This recording was made possible through the generous support of The Ontario Arts Council
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