Title: Another Time AroundAnother Time Around
Artist(s): Nick La Riviere, vocals/trombone/conch shell
Genre: Mixed/Jazz
Label: Independent
Sample: Woohoo

What’s there not to love about Nick La Riviere? He’s cool, plays killer trombone, and sings. He’s from Victoria too! Well, nobody’s perfect.

The release of Another Time Around, released in July, contains a host of original pieces in mixed styles—all delivered with a kid-like kinetic frenzy and unrelenting optimism. “Woohoo” is insanely upbeat and exemplary of not only Nick’s smooth vocals but also his use of a multi-tracked chorus of trombones—with great solos from electric guitar (Alpha Yaya Diallo) and trombone (Nick, of course).

Nick has an reputation for embracing new technologies, such as using the TC Helicon Voicelive 2 (a programmable vocal harmonizer) on the trombone to great effect. Although not on Another Time Around, you have to check out his multi-recorded (and multi-videoed) version of the Van Halen cover “Jump” to get an idea of what makes Nick tick…hey wait a second, did he slip a quote from Mozart’s “Rondo alla Turka” into Van Halen? Really? -JH


Title: Bamboo Shoots in SpringBamboo Shoots in Spring
Artist(s): BC Chinese Music Ensemble (incl. Mei Han, zheng, Randy Raine-Reusch, zheng; Mark Armanini, composer)
Genre: Traditional Chinese/jazz
Label: Independent
Sample: Dragon Dog" (track 4)

I chose “Dragon Dog” if for no other reason than it disturbs pretty much any concept of what traditional Chinese music is. And so it should; it reaches so far—from gentle ancient Chinese folk song to contemporary Classical Western music to 1940’s Big Band jazz—it’s a spectacle for the ears. The original, a duet for zhengs (a plucked string zither-like instrument with moveable bridges). While Bamboo Shoots in Spring is a great treatise on the various influences traditional Chinese music is undergoing in Vancouver, its range of expression makes the album best for serious listening rather than, say, casual enjoyment. If you’re the former type, check out the cameos by other Vancouver musicians including clarinettist François Houle and composer John Oliver. -JH