Mike Janzen Trio | Beginnings

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CANADA - Ontario

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Jazz: Acid Jazz Jazz: Piano Jazz Moods: Type: Improvisational
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Beginnings

by Mike Janzen Trio

An energetic and creative piano jazz/funk trio that is both beautiful and sizzling in its musical approach
Genre: Jazz: Acid Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Squint Blues
5:00 $0.99
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2. I Have Decided
5:27 $0.99
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3. If I Were a Rich Man
6:48 $0.99
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4. Funky Rhodes
6:33 $0.99
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5. Fragile
6:59 $0.99
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6. Ride On
3:59 $0.99
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7. Honeysuckle Rose
7:25 $0.99
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8. Pale
6:04 $0.99
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9. Beautiful Love
6:14 $0.99
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10. Poverty
5:27 $0.99
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11. Somewhere Over the Rainbow
15:46 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Mike Janzen is a piano playing puzzle. On the one hand (perhaps his left), Mike is a well trained classical musician with strong technical and music theory skills including a Bachelor of Music degree from Brandon University and a Masters of Composition from the University of Toronto. On the other, his musical journey includes forays into the worlds of rock, funk, folk and jazz.

For the past fourteen years, Mike has elected to make playing and improvising jazz a personal and professional priority. He has studied jazz with Dave Restivo, Mark Eisenman, Jim McNeely, Paul Read, Wayne Bowman, and David Braid. He has played with such luminaries as Hugh and Fergus Marsh, Ben Riley, George Koller, Andrew Downing, Frank Botos, Steve Bell, Pat Collins, Jacob Moon, Jennit Burke Miracle Quartet, SMJ Quartet, Ciara Adams and his own band, the pennymerchants.

Now living in Toronto with his wife Jodi, Mike is a regular on the Toronto music scene. Current projects include symphony arrangements for the Winnipeg Symphony, a film scoring project, studio work, live touring, and his brand new trio album Beginnings, with drummer Ben Riley (Bruce Cockburn, Michael Kaeshammer), renowned bassist George Koller (Holly Cole), Andrew Downing, and Frank Botos.

Two time JUNO award winner Steve Bell says, "Mike's extraordinary improvisational intuition and skill sets songs ablaze with virtuosity. And...he's just a great guy!"

"The longest journey begins with a single step" - so the saying goes. Of his jazz debut, Beginnings, Mike Janzen says the first step was the hardest.

From his own beginnings as a talented prairie kid through his increasingly noteworthy contributions to the Canadian independent music scene, Mike has retained a genuine humility that sometimes makes it hard for him to recognize the scope of his own talent. It took years of requests from his fans, friends and family, and ultimately the coercion of Jacob Moon to convice him to make this album at all.

Recorded live, this piano trio project draws on a combinatiion of original tunes, well loved songs from Mike's past, and jazz standards. Part high-wire improvisation, part solid groove, part inspired lullaby, Beginnings sparkles throughout with musical passion and wit.

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Reviews


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Garth Friesen


Excellent jazz cd and done in the format jazz was meant to be heard - LIVE! Mike is not only a talented keys player but an amazing composer and singer. Buy this CD and spin it loud!
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Garth Friesen


Excellent jazz cd and done in the format jazz was meant to be heard - LIVE! Mike is not only a talented keys player but an amazing composer and singer. Buy this CD and spin it loud!
Read more...

Garth Friesen


Excellent jazz cd and done in the format jazz was meant to be heard - LIVE! Mike is not only a talented keys player but an amazing composer and singer. Buy this CD and spin it loud!
Read more...

Sean Rixon

Beguiling Beginnings
When the Penny Merchants, a Toronto-based gospel/rock outfit helmed
by Mike Janzen, decided to call it a day in 2005, it was only a matter of
time before Janzen - a versatile and affable musician/composer who
is one of Hogtown's best-kept secrets - released a jazz album. After
all, he had won considerable acclaim for the beguiling improvisational
flourishes he made as a longtime pianist/keyboardist in Steve Bell's
touring band.

"Beginnings" was recorded live to highlight the dynamic interplay among
Janzen (on piano and rhodes), bassist George Koeller and drummer Ben
Riley (although on three of the tracks, Andrew Downing and Frank Botos
stand in for Koeller and Riley). The album features notable originals
by Janzen such as the alternately funky-and-pensive "Squint Blues"
and the laid-back "Funky Roads", as well as covers of classic spirituals
("I Have Decided" and "Ride On King Jesus"), jazz standards ("Honeysuckle
Rose" and "Beautiful Love") and movie songs ("If I Were A Rich Man" and
"Over the Rainbow"). It is on many of these covers where Janzen
and company truly shine, for even though they initially provide listeners
with familiar melody-lines, it doesn't take long for the trio to nimbly
segue into adventurous, freewheeling improvisational passages. Not only
does Janzen make quite an impression through these, but so do his fellow
players (for example, Riley's explosive drum workout in "I Have Decided"
is remarkable and Koeller's string bass segment in "If I Were A Rich Man"
is quite humourous.)

Perhaps the only slight drawback to the album is found on three songs -
two of which are a couple more Janzen originals ("Pale" and "Poverty")
- where Janzen's vocal is featured. Although Janzen's singing is
appealing in its everyman, Ben Folds-like quality, it shows up unexpectedly
and therefore produces a somewhat jarring effect in the context of a
mostly instrumental album. But perhaps many iPod users - who decide to
shuffle randomly through these songs, and many others, on the now-ubiquitous
player - won't care all that much anyway.

"Beginnings" ends off memorably with the cover of "Over the Rainbow",
which starts off in a ruminative and moving fashion (bringing to mind
Keith Jarrett), but quickly shifts in and out of bebop territory (and
if this weren't enough to leave you dazzled by Janzen's eclecticism,
listen for the amusing surprise that follows a minute and ten seconds
after "Rainbow"'s conclusion).

All in all, "Beginnings" is an auspicious, even grand debut, and introduces Janzen as an exciting new addition to the Canadian jazz scene. Quite a "beginning" indeed.
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Leanne Reimer

very enjoyable and easy to listen to
Amazing CD very impressed with the scope of his talent enjoyed listening and found it very pleasant and relaxing too I am giving several people on my Christmas shopping list this CD for a gift your CD will be staying in my player as I will be listening to it often!
Read more...

Leanne Reimer

very enjoyable and easy to listen to
Amazing CD very impressed with the scope of his talent enjoyed listening and found it very pleasant and relaxing too I am giving several people on my Christmas shopping list this CD for a gift your CD will be staying in my player as I will be listening to it often! Hope you will be putting out more CD in the future!
Read more...

Leanne Reimer

very enjoyable and easy to listen to
Amazing CD very impressed with the scope of his talent enjoyed listening and found it very pleasant and relaxing too I am giving several people on my Christmas shopping list this CD for a gift your CD will be staying in my player as I will be listening to it often! Hope you will be putting out more CD in the future!
Read more...