Maiden Voyage

Miranda Sage
Standards and Originals in a Jazz Key








Artists: Miranda Sage (vocals), Hugh Fraser (piano and trombone), Rick Kilburn (bass), Blaine Wikjord (drums)

Monik Nordine
not just to but over the moon

Style: Jazz
Released: 1998
Producers: Monik Nordine & Zografos Caramanos
Recorded: Studio Karisma, Studio Tempo, Montreal

What qualities define the jazz musician? Is it simply love for the music, an adventuresome spirit or obsession? Or is it a strong work ethic and a firm set of goals? It's likely that the best players have an abundance of all of these characteristics.

Since she left Salt Spring some 15 years ago as a budding jazz saxophonist, Monik Nordine has immersed herself in the jazz life, studying at UBC and then at McGill in Montreal, putting in the requisite thousands of hours of practice, and playing hundreds of gigs. She is now a brilliant, seasoned musician and has produced her debut recording called Not Just To But Over The Moon.

From the free-swinging modal piece Fives, which opens this collection, to the lively calypso Mary Lou, which winds it up, Monik Nordine has assembled a varied set of tunes, which she composed and arranged, music very strongly in the unique and distinctive tradition of original Canadian jazz which has emerged in the last couple of decades, developed and nurtured by such people as Kenny Wheeler and Hugh Fraser.

While the bittersweet sound of Monik's soprano sax permeates this recording, it is in fact a very democratic affair, which amply features each of her very capable sidemen. Because of You opens with a bluesy, soulful duo with string bassist Tommy Babin, segueing into a brief, gently swinging ensemble statement, followed by a succinct solo by Aron Doyle on flugelhorn, then a finely-developed improvisation by Monik, showing strong hints of John Coltrane, one of her prime influences. A short bass solo and the out chorus ends this fine piece, inspired by another of Monik's favourite saxophonists, Sam Rivers.

On first hearing, the colourfully-titled Free a Madcap Stoner, Lord, does sound like free jazz, but on closer listening we hear that it is mostly tonal, starting with solo bass, moving to a pulse-less conversation between the instruments (no piano on this track), then going to a straight-ahead swing feel, sounding a lot like some of the early Ornette Coleman releases (also pianoless). There's great rhythm section interaction here, first-rate drumming by Claude Lavergne and some surprising twists. This one grows on you.

There's a lot of music on this CD. Some of the other tunes are the lyrical lilting waltz Not Just To But Over the Moon, featuring a pensive solo by pianist Alex Clements, the lovely ballad Just for B, the beboppish How It Is, and Coming Home, which comes as close to a pop tune as you'd find on a purely jazz album.

A good criterion of a musician's ability is the kind of musicians she gathers around her, and here Monik has surrounded herself with some of the best young players on the hot Montreal jazz scene. These guys obviously enjoy playing this music, which Monik has spent years developing and it shows in their spirited, imaginative playing. For all the variety on this set, it remains remarkably consistent in its artistic intention and execution, and is what every jazz recording should be: a great collection of tunes, serving as perfect improvisational vehicles for a superior group of like-minded musicians.

I should also add that the packaging is superb: the art work is extremely attractive, and the liner notes are engaging and complete. There's a wealth of listening pleasure here and, based on the quality of the work on this CD, Monik Nordine does have everything it takes to be a superior jazz musician and is bound to have a long, rich career, both as composer and player.

Reprinted from the Gulf Islands Driftwood


Narissa Young
...so far...

Debut Album Now Available!!!

Narissa Young is an adept and talented singer, songwriter and musician who was raised, and continues to explore her creative aspirations, in Nanaimo, BC. She is part of a burgeoning arts scene in this picturesque coastal city that has produced the likes of Juno and Grammy award-winner Diana Krall as well as David Gogo and Allison Crowe. Narissa is carving out her own niche, however, and is now poised to let loose, on discerning music lovers far and wide, her own brand of distinctive artwork 

As an artist, Narissa’s myriad musical talents have been expressed through the saxophone, bass, flute, piano, acoustic guitar and her most prominent talent, her voice. “It’s the most natural for me,” she says. Narissa utilizes her gifted voice to deliver the essence of her own poignant songs.  

An active member of a local songwriter’s circle, Narissa’s original compositions reflect catchy, yet moody sensibilities. Her lyrics draw on personal experiences that convey strong emotional content. With her first CD due out this year, Narissa’s career continues to develop and grow with a more focussed attention on writing and the performance of original material. 

Narissa’s destiny became apparent at an early age…and it’s a path that has had virtually everything to do with music. “I’ve had a love for music all my life,” she says, “And it’s always been there for me”.    

Narissa started her musical career when she joined her Grade 6 band class in school. Fate played a part in the instrument she would ultimately choose…didn’t pass the drum test, arms too short for trombone, saxophone seemed like a good fit. She later went on to learn the electric bass and then develop her voice. “My band teachers were instrumental in fostering my deep appreciation for music which I believe had always existed in me,” she says.  

Jazz is what really inspired Narissa, but rock and the blues were no strangers to her mix of musical preferences either. Playing the bass, she formed her first rock band at the age of 16. She later went on to front several more rock bands during high school, but she craved what formal education could give her, a more promising way to keep playing music. She enrolled in the jazz program at Malaspina College, and following a year of training and a renewed confidence in what she could accomplish, Narissa toured Canada with rock band Tanya Hyde. 

 Narissa’s impact on the Nanaimo music scene is felt not only in her original work and performances as a solo artist and as a duo, but also through her involvement in musical events such as the annual AngelFest (a charity benefit showcasing local female singer/ songwriters). Narissa is excited and optimistic about the future and she continues to write new songs, perform, and record her life’s work.

Nelly Furtado Folklore

CD (November 25, 2003)
Original Release Date November 25, 2003
On her second album, Nelly Furtado takes a hard left turn. The colorful but incomplete fusion of her debut, Whoa, Nelly!, gives way on the tellingly titled Folklore to an approach that lets in some acoustic sounds that take the music in an entirely different, richer direction. At times sounding like a dead ringer for singer-writer Sam Phillips (whose work colors each episode of the TV series "Gilmore Girls"), Furtado aims for more rock-oriented ground without losing the Brazilian influences that are so much a part of her identity. Her voice and tunes are strong, and both words and music paint a young woman still very much in movement, change, flux. It’s an intriguing sound, and one that thoughtful listeners will cherish. --Rickey Wright

Norbury & Finch Tease For Two

This charismatic and quirky duo, offer a unique performing style with their evocative and adventurous songs.

Norbury & Finch swing easily through an astonishingly wide range of styles and encompass numbers in a folk tradition bordering on medieval madrigal, a capella, blues, jazz and rock, all delivered in an easy and unselfconscious manner.
The obvious rapport between Judy and Joanna is a reflection of their mutual admiration and affection for each other. One seems to inspire the other to take risks in their music as well as their personal lives. Finch accompanies Norbury's guitar and dulcimer on a variety of instruments - including the almost famous invisible nose-cornet - and Norbury has mastered the art of 'playing her face' to excellent effect. They create a relaxed atmosphere and easy rapport with their audiences, making even the biggest venue seem intimate and friendly.

Born in India and raised in Vancouver, BC, Canada, Judy spent much of early adult life participating in the west-coast music scene. She has played at concerts and folk festivals throughout British Columbia, Canada, primarily on Vancouver Island where she has made her home for the past 25 years. With two albums, and a vast repertoire of original songs ranging from bluegrass to folk-rock, Judy is an established and respected artist throughout Vancouver Island.

Judy Norbury is a blithe spirit that knows no limitations. Through her songs she extols the abundance of love, laughter and whimsy that has propelled her along her journey of life. Judy plays guitar and Appalachian mountain dulcimer and sings, with a voice that is both rich and sweet, songs with humour, melancholy and courage. The lyrics in her songs document her personal experiences in a way that is both powerful and intimate.

Raised in Victoria, BC, Canada, Joanna Finch spent most of her life living in various B.C. coastal villages until she moved to the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island in 1990. A humorist by nature, Joanna enjoys playing with words and vocal mimicry to add a dramatic flair to her compositions. Trained in classical voice at the Victory Conservatory as a child, and in jazz as an adult, Joanna's broad range of styles is reflected in her music.

Inspired by Judy's provocative songs, Joanna first started performing seven years ago as an accompanist to Judy, adding harmony and rhythm with flute, viola, penny whistle, hand drum, and singing some of her own folk compositions. As the duo developed, Joanna's jazz background contributed to the duo's eclectic and unusual style. Her knack for creating harmony and interesting arrangements, coupled with the duo's blending of voices, make them renowned for their a capella songs. With a voice that moves from sultry blues and soothing Celtic, to the nasal whine of her own special nose cornet, Joanna's vocal gymnastics are an intriguing compliment to Judy's sure, clear voice.


Patricia Svats Brenan
Thee and Me

Traditional Folk(A Capella), Alternative-relaxation
Patricia grew up in Saint John New Brunswick and make her solo singing debut at six years of age. She sang throughout her school years and in Nursing School where she was nicknamed 'Songbird'. Upon becomming a Registered Nurse singing was put aside. Fifteen years ago she recognized what would not be denied and pursued music. She won a two year scholarship for vocal studies and is an Associate of the Victoria Conservatory of Music. Though her studies concentrated on Baroque, Classical and Romantic music periods with Italinan, German and French repertoire, her first love has always been the song of the people. She exhibits the beautiful, but rare, pairing of a classically trained voice and the Folk Song. She has sung solos with Chamber Orchestras, quartet work with Symphony. She is a church soloist and Choir Conductor and continues to immerse herself in folk music singing at various folk clubs on lower Vancouver Island, garden parties, private functions, conferences -wherever beautiful, intimate music can enhance ambiance or provide light entertainment. She won first prize at the 2001 Vancouver Island Exhibition Songbird Contest in Nanaimo.

"Everyone talked about the magic of coming up the driveway and hearing your lovely voice all through the garden. You really made the event very special."

"I listen to Pat's CD whenever I need to quiet and center myself, which in today's world is just about every day."

"Her voice doesn't need any other instrument - it is the essence of music."

Robyn Jesson
Bluegrass and Beyond

First reaction…How can someone just 11-years-old hold her own with seasoned musicians through 15 songs in a mix of bluegrass, old time fiddle and Celtic? Robyn Jesson in her first CD does just that and does it with great style. “Bluegrass and Beyond” is a collection of songs that reveals the talent of a rising star on one of the most difficult instruments, the fiddle. This CD is proof that music knows no boundaries such as age or gender…rather desire, talent and persistence are the only requirements.

Robyn teams up with some of the best musicians on the west coast; Craig Korth - banjo and guitar (Craig is a mainstay of Jerusalem Ridge from Edmonton), Rod Backman on bass, (Rod is a veteran bassist from Seattle), John Reischman – mandolinist (songwriter, producer and veteran of many West Coast bands), Robyn’s Dad, Jim Jesson – guitar, (Jim also produced the album)
Recording crew included Michael Donegani from Nanoose Bay near Nanaimo B.C., along with excellent mixing and mastering by Bruce Harvie.

From the opening tune Big Bear to the closing of Wheel Hoss, this is an album to cherish. Big Bear sets the stage…a rollicking fun tune where the musicians cook along in an almost jam session style, lots of innovation and drive. Lead breaks by Robyn, John and Craig are tasty and fun. Sally Anne continues the bluegrass flavour with the musicians getting down and gritty. Ashokan Farewell is a soulful and emotional civil war tune where Robyn’s fiddle delivers passion and emotion. Rod’s bow work on the bass adds a beautiful touch and John’s mandolin is sensitive and supportive. And so it goes…excellent work on each of the 15 well selected tunes, which demonstrates the talent of this rising star.

Being a Canadian fiddler, Robyn is working hard on the old time fiddle which is different style of fiddling than that of American bluegrass fiddling. The first demonstration of her award winning style is heard in the Medley tune and it is easy to understand why Robyn is winning awards in the fiddle contests where ever she competes.

Robyn’s treatment on the Celtic flavored tunes is beautiful. Memories of Shetland and Flowers of Edinborough will stir the hearts of the Scots for sure. Two waltzes get great treatment by Robyn and the band…Tennessee Waltz and Golden Memories.

A strong opening deserves an equally strong finish and this happens with the powerful presentation of the Bill Monroe classic, Wheel Hoss …talk about getting down! Robyn kicks it off with authority and the rest of the band gets up and goes. This tune is hot with gutsy picking from John and Craig. It would make old Bill proud.

Bluegrass and Beyond is a wonderful statement that Canadians are producing good music. This CD is first class, from the music presentation, recording, mixing, album layout and pictures. Robyn Jesson is just 11-years-old and has delivered up a mighty fine project. She is a credit to herself, her family and to the music she plays so well. Thank you Robyn!

by George McKnight - Bluegrass Canada Magazine

Rose Reiter
What I Don't Get

Artist description

Rose Reiter - Singer/Songwriter from Vancouver, BC, Canada. She Captures her audience with her passionate edgy blend of pop, soul and rock. She started playing piano by ear at the age of 3 and started lessons at 4. Although her dad had to sell the piano a few years later and couldn't afford lessons, she continued to play and write music any time she could find a piano. Her natural voice and performing instinct grew after many years of exposure to music, theater and dance. She started playing guitar at the age of 16 and continued her vocal lessons.She released her first album, "What I Don't Get" on her own indie label, Lion Records.
*Rose has been aquiring alot of attention on the internet, Liveartists.com featured her and she is recieving many reviews from a growing fan base, check out her reviews at u-g-a.com, ryze.com, audiosurge.com and a great review at www.musicgiveaway.com (favorites)to name a few.

Music style

Musical influences
Sting, Sarah McLachlan, Paula Cole, Annie Lennox

Similar Artists
Paula Cole and Sara McLachlan

Piano, Guitar, Bass, Drums and various Percussion Instruments

What I Don't Get

Press reviews:

This Rose, a song on Reiter's debut CD, is catching lots of attention by Paul Andrew, The Pique Magazine.
WHO: Rose Reiter WHERE: AlpenRock House WHEN: Feb.19

Why is it that almost every time a singer/song writer recommends a song of theirs, in order to get a good idea of their talent, it isn't the song you think is the best on the CD?

"If you're out of time, please take a quick listen to tracks 3, 5, 6 and 7..." was the message from Vancouver's Rose Reiter when she e-mailed some additions to an interview I had with her a couple weeks back.

Fortunately, I wasn't out of time and discovered a couple other tracks on the CD that probably impressed AlpenRock's management and confirmed a booking for the 25 year old musician. Not that the songs she mentioned weren't good because most of the 13 trackson Reiter's debut CD, called What I Don't Get, are solid compositions for a debut album. But she may not have heard the pseudo Eastern rhythms in HeavenKnows, the disc's second track, or realized the strong harmonies on 8 of Hearts near the end of the CD.

But like any of the arts, beauty is in the(ear) of the beholder."I basically got the gig at AlpenRock House myself, after Gordon Barkerheard the CD, he called and booked our band, "Reiter said on the phone from Vancouver "So it was footwork, I guess."Perhaps. But a few of the songs on what I Don't Get are much more dance-like and energetic than tunes by some of the young Canadian female crooners looking for a major record label. Heaven help any female singer who relies solely on her voice and good looks to break into the music market. The odds are stacked against them. Reiter uses some edgy arrangements behind her strong vocals to give listeners some variety. As a result, it creates energy and a few good tunes."

I had an opportunity to do this with another band, see the world, that kind of thing. And Gordon (Barker) compared me to Ivana Santili, which is nice. I'm really flattered by that. But song writing is my number one gift - and I write a lot of songs. It's a whole different animal. I really want to get recognized as a song writer. Some people think that female song writers all write their own stuff.. but many depend on other writer's material."Although Reiter's voice isn't as much pop music as someone such as Santili,she should be grateful. Her unpolished pipes, and to an extent gritty contemporary arrangements, distinguish her from a swarm of up and comers who all sound like they were all cast from the same cookie cutter. And people have noticed.

CBC's Coastal Grooves interviewed Reiter on the radio and played a few of her songs, and even the harder edged CFOX radio in Vancouver gave the disc limited spins.Reiter says she's a full-time professional musician who, on the side, "works as a software consultant and trainer" for a few companies in Vancouver.There are much worse positions to be in when trying to make the transition from one lifestyle to another."Plus, I've owned LionEye Records in Vancouver for two years. And my CD is on the label.

"Reiter is no stranger to Whistler but has never performed here. AlpenRockHouse is a large venue for any established band to fill, never mind an upwardly mobile indie artist from the city, but she seems confident about her chances of a good show."I know DJ Morgan at The Beagle and my stuff has been played in there," Reiter said. "Actually, I dropped off the CD at AlpenRock and Gordon said he'd listen to it. "Two days later he said he called me at 9:15 in the morning, said that he listened to it all day, and when could I come up and play in the nightclub."

Brilliant Blue