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Disguises, The (Thomson / Caloia / Charuest / Hood / Tanguay): Songs 7 Dances from The Muted Note (Ambiances Magnetiques)

Eleven songs by Montreal trombonist Scott Thomson, settings of poems by P.K. Page (1916-2010), one of Canada's distinguished literary figures, in a band with Pierre Tanguay on drums, Yves Charuest on sax, Nicolas Caloia on double bass, and Susanna Hood on vocals.

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product information:

UPC: 771028122721

Label: Ambiances Magnetiques
Catalog ID: AM 227
Squidco Product Code: 21678

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2015
Country: Canada
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold w/Booklet
Recorded at Hotel2Tango, in Montreal, Canada, in January 2915, by Theirry Amar.


Nicolas Caloia-doublebass

Yves Charuest-alto saxophone

Susanna Hood-voice

Pierre Tanguay-drums

Scott Thomson-trombone, composer

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track listing:

1. As Ten, As Twenty 4:23

2. The Understatement 5:56

3. Star-Gazer 5:59

4. The Disguises / The Masks 6:05

5. Preparation 5:58

6. The Metal and the Flower 5:44

7. Picking Daffodils 3:21

8. The Mole 10:07

9. This Heavy Craft 6:22

10. Blue 4:22

11. As Ten, As Twenty (Solo) 1:36
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Improvised Music
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sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"Songs 7 Dances from The Muted Note is a 2015 studio recording of a suite of eleven songs by Scott Thomson, settings of poems by P.K. Page (1916-2010), one of Canada's distinguished literary figures. They are performed by The Disguises, Scott's quintet with Susanna Hood (voice), Yves Charuest (alto saxophone), Nicolas Caloia (double bass), and Pierre Tanguay (drums). The suite is the basis of The Muted Note, a 2014 stage work featuring Susanna's choreography with fellow dancers, Ellen Furey, Alanna Kraaijeveld, and Bernard Martin; live music by The Disguises; and lighting design by Paul Chambers. The dances, like the songs, are made to be animated by solo and group improvisation, and to activate the poems, which speak (sing) of Page's loving attention to the nuances and delights of the world around her. In addition to the stage work, The Disguises have had numerous quintet performances of this material - typically in a club context - which feature Susanna's dance improvisations in addition to her vocal contribution."-Ambiences Magnetiques

Scott Thomson's notes on the songs:

"As Ten, As Twenty" is a secular hymn about love's infinity. It is dedicated to Christine Duncan.

"The Understatement" is a breezy quasi-samba that I wrote with the elegantly understated Toronto musician, Doug Tielli, in mind.

"Star-Gazer" is a nocturne that is now indelibly linked to Ellen Furey, who danced to this song so soulfully. It is dedicated to the sculptor and painter Jeff Schlanger who, as a boy growing up in East Manhattan, would grind his own telescope lenses so that he could watch the night sky. Bernard Martin danced The Disguises and his solo aptly embodies the poem in its combination of restless searching and wonder. The song is dedicated to Gordon Allen.

"The Masks are Made by Hand and Show" is a brilliantly concise poem offering an eternal wisdom in simple, almost folksy language. The song is dedicated to Richard Marsella, with whom I have shared many delightful masquerades.

"Preparation" is a breathtaking poem that 'pares' the self down to its essence, likely a product of Page's deep engagement with Sufism. The song is dedicated to Ken Aldcroft. With The Metal and the Flower, I sought to evoke the stillness of a garden where both love and longing grow, silently and in abundance. It is dedicated to Rob Clutton.

"Picking Daffodils" is dedicated to choreographer Holly Small, who tends to her garden with a dancer's grace and to her dances with the nurturing passion of a horticulturalist. The dance/drum duo of Alanna Kraaijeveld and Pierre Tanguay on this one has been a showstopper every time.

"The Mole" starts down low, thanks to Nic Caloia's peerless expertise in the domain of the profound. The song is dedicated to drummer Jack Vorvis, whose brilliant work is underground in more ways than one.

"This Heavy Craft" is a gem of a poem and was the first song in the suite that I wrote. It gave me the sense of what may be possible as this project unfolded (including, and not necessarily despite, the occasional crash to the ground). It is dedicated to Joane Hétu, who has been so generous with and steadfast in her support.

"Blue" is surely the only blues to contain the word "delphinium." It is dedicated to Julia Hambleton, who inadvertently reintroduced me to P.K. Page's poetry in 2010, and whose grandfather Ronald - unbeknownst to me when I wrote the song - edited the first volume to include Page's verse, in 1944.

Artist Biographies:

"Nicolas Caloia. Born Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, 1968. Residence: Montréal, Québec. Performer (double bass).

Since 1990 Nicolas Caloia has worked at creating a contemporary music generated by using accurately composed textures to channel collective improvisation. The goal is a music that erases the lines between improvised and composed, pop and avant-garde, good and bad. He hopes this music will satisfy the body, the mind and, above all, the heart. He has worked as a performer, composer, and organizer in Montréal and has toured in North America, Europe, and Asia. He has performed and recorded in a vast array of contexts with the most important members of Montréal's creative music community as well as with internationally renowned musicians like the ICP orchestra, Marshall Allen, John Butcher, Joe McPhee, Steve Lacy, William Parker, Hassan Hakmoun, Tristan Honsinger and Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia. His concerts and numerous recordings have been critically acclaimed both at home and abroad. Currently, the majority of his work as a composer and improviser finds a voice in: The Ratchet Orchestra - a 30-piece big band; Tilting - the Nicolas Caloia Quartet, Ring - a sextet, Spell - a 10-piece marching band, Trephining - a quintet, Mercury - a duet Lori Freedman as well in solo performances."

-ActuelleCD (
"Scott Thomson is a trombonist and composer who lives in Montréal, having moved from Toronto in 2010. He plays in established groups in many styles, and prizes ad hoc improvising as a way to meet many creative people. He has studied with Roswell Rudd, Jean Derome, Eddie Prévost, and John Oswald. Scott is one of the founders of the Association of Improvising Musicians in Toronto (AIMToronto), and co-directs the AIMToronto Orchestra, which was formed for a project with Anthony Braxton in September 2007. While in Toronto, Scott was the artistic director of Somewhere There, a venue for live creative music that he founded in 2007. Scott has composed a series of site-specific pieces that he calls 'cartographic compositions' for mobile musicians and audiences in unconventional performance contexts, including works for the galleries and corridors of the National Gallery of Canada and the Art Gallery of Ontario."-Bug Incision (

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