by Noam Bronstein
Back in February I wrote about Ilios Steryannis‘s terrific concert here in Guelph – and I’m pleased to report that Ilios (and his ensemble) has released Babylonia Suite, a full album of the suite of songs the Toronto drummer/composer wrote in honour of his grandparents’ migratory journeys. As of this month, this release is on Bandcamp, Spotify, and Apple Music; and Ilios sent me a very nice CD copy for review (the CD is available through his website, see below).
It’s an excellent recording that sounds fresh and “live”. From the publicist: “Recorded in June of 2023 at the renowned Canterbury Music Company in Toronto, the album is a co-production between the leader and Juno-winning bassist Henry Heillig. Featuring ten original tracks that encompass Middle Eastern, Indo-jazz fusion, funk and hard bop styles, along with a traditional Iraqi Jewish song written by the Al-Kuwaiti brothers of Baghdad.”
If you love instrumental jazz and expressive, boisterous ‘world music’ sounds from far off lands, with great stories behind them, I highly recommend checking this out. Have a listen on Bandcamp, Spotify or Apple. If those services aren’t convenient, look at Ilios’s youtube channel for some examples. If you like what you hear, do consider ordering the CD from Ilios, attending a live performance, and spreading the word. Remember, artists of even the highest caliber earn very little income from streaming.
Kudos to Ilios and the entire ensemble of musicians on a great release!
CD’s are available at www.iliosjazz.com – just send him an email.
In a bit of serendipity, our friend Michael Oesch also sent me some exciting news recently: one of Indo-Canadian Slide Project‘s live shows from 2018 is now available as an official album release. Recall that Michael invited the Hindustani slide guitarist Rhitom Sarkar from India that year, and they collaborated with other fine Canadian musicians to record Delta Raga, a sort of fusion of blues and Indian classical styles. I continue to highly recommended that CD, that I reviewed some five years ago. It included a variety of guitar styles, with amazing contributions from players like Michael, Sean Pinchin, Guy Westbrook and Dan Walsh.
The current live release is simply titled “Live From The Small World Centre: 07.27.2018”. In addition to many of the pieces that would become Delta Raga, Rhitom leads on several classical raags that I think every music lover should hear. It’s impossible to listen and not recognize Rhitom’s mesmerizing genius.
This one is being released through the streaming services – at a glance, TIDAL, Apple Music, Spotify, and YouTube all have it. It’s currently available ad-free for everyone to listen to on YouTube. (link)
This was a concert that I wasn’t able to attend, and I’m so glad to have it now. The performance is superb, and the recorded sound quality is really good as well. Small World Centre is a beautiful and intimate theater stage in a downtown Toronto coop space. Have a listen, and if you like it, make sure to hit the “like” button! (yeesh, listen to me…)
Seriously though, I’m grateful for the opportunity to share with you about both of these projects.
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