Friday, August 07, 2009

Good review of Banjo Hockey that I found today in Exclaim Magazine:

Tim Posgate Horn Band Featuring Howard Johnson
Banjo Hockey
By David Ryshpan

Tim Posgate's Hornband are a vehicle for strong tunes and solid playing, not just a group anchored by novel instrumentation. Guitarist/banjoist Posgate surrounds himself with two of Toronto's finest players: Quinsin Nachoff on saxophone and clarinet, and Lina Allemano on trumpet, with special guest Howard Johnson providing the low end on tuba and baritone saxophone. Posgate has been collaborating with Johnson for some years now, though this is their first recorded outing, and their shared sense of propulsive levity is apparent. The blend of tuba, clarinet and banjo gives tunes like "Stolen Ice Cream Truck" and "Big Top Blues" an off-kilter, yet jolly, swing. Perhaps Posgate's greatest feat here is the compositional cohesion, effortlessly moving from the bluesy groove of "Banjo Z" to the ominous foundation of "The Big Push," with its three-part horn chorale and inspired interplay between Nachoff and Johnson, and then to the soulful tenderness of "Eco." Allemano's trumpet is a clarion call throughout these miniatures (the longest running only five-and-a-half minutes), and the band get a percussive boost courtesy of Julie and Jean Martin on the wonky rumba of "Spike's New Altitude." (Black Hen)


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