The Romance of Improvisation in Canada is a collection of songs adapted from prolific NFB composer and musician, Eldon Rathburn. All of the songs on the album were taken from film scores written by Eldon Rathburn and then adapted into a full song and album format. This task and the full production of the album were performed by Allyson Rogers and Adrian Matte. For a more in-depth look at how this album came to be, take a look at this Carleton University Article. Alternatively, you can listen to the CBC interview about the album just prior to its release in November.
Back in February, I made an early morning trip to the National Film Board of Canada studio in Montreal. All that had really sunk in about the project was that a classic jazz album was being recorded and it was a pretty interesting shoot. Upon my arrival next to highway 40, with snow drifting around my feet, I was struck by the familiarity of the NFB building that I had driven by dozens of times over the decades but never really thought about. Entering the building brought back a lot of memories of old schools and government buildings that I have been in over the years. The floors are of the polished concrete variety and everything is utilitarian and heavy duty. This is where the NFB moved in 1956 after being in Ottawa since it originated in Ottawa in 1939. You can read about more of the history of the building here as the NFB plans to move in the near future.
The recording studio at the NFB is about as magical of a space as any that I have set foot in. Not because it’s filled with so much top-notch recording equipment (which it is) or because it has anything architecturally special to see, but because of the history. I have ever only seen rooms like this in photos of bands recording albums in 60s and 70s and I have seen a lot of those photos. Even more exciting was being in the control room and at times, in the studio while music was being recorded (not recommended by the way as it can annoy musicians :-)). Ironically, this is the very same studio where Eldon Rathburn recorded hundreds of scores for NFB films.
I consider myself extremely fortunate to have been given the opportunity to capture a collection of world-class musicians doing what they do best, in a historic location on a cold day in February. The photos below represent one slice of the experience. For another dimension, order or stream this album from anywhere where you might get your music and enjoy!
In these photos you can see:
Petr Cancura – Saxophones
Kevin Turcotte – Trumpet, flugelhorn
Marianne Trudel – Piano
Adrian Vedady – Double Bass
Jim Doxas – Drums
Adrian Matte – Producer
Allyson Rogers – Producer
Geoffrey Mitchell – Recording Engineer and Mixing
Album Cover artwork by Helen Rogers based on original NFB animation. Scanning and preparation of artwork by Andrew Van Beek.
Adrian Matte & Allyson Rogers – ProducersGeoffrey Mitchell – Recording Engineer and MixingMarianne Trudel – PianoKevin Turcotte – Trumpet, flugelhornAdrian Vedady – Double BassPetr Cancura – SaxophonesJim Doxas – Drums