Stewart Goodyear serves a spicy Callaloo

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One hesitates as to what to call Stewart Goodyear’s brilliantly inventive Callaloo. I would venture Tone Poem. Goodyear calls a Suite in his insightful and candid liner notes.

But if a label is not needed, let us just celebrate Goodyear’s new musical facet: that of composer, and enjoy his constant enterprising vitality and his proud celebration of his Caribbean roots.

The spicy 26-plus minute composition is a five-movement musical fantasy in which snippets of Trinidad’s Calypso melodic and rhythmic strains vie for the listener’s attention with a heady mix of Jamaican Mento, afro-Cuban Guaguancó, Son, Conga and Guaracha, and the inter-island Soca.

The music ebbs and flows from moments of happily frantic activity to stretches of the indolently laid-back dolce far niente that we Caribbean people lapse into after hours of hip swaying  in 90 degrees in the shade.

The superbly hip Chineke Orchestra is beautifully conducted by Wayne Marshall, and while all of its rank and file is to be saluted for their playing, a solo bow must be given to the terrific percussion section for its temperature-raising Latin drumming-on-steroids.

Callaloo is, in addition to being a lot of fun, an important composition from an immensely gifted young Canadian musician we have long associated with the long-hair repertoire he chooses for his piano concerts.

The ORCHID CLASSICS CD (ORC 100 100) includes an earlier composition by Goodyear: a youthful piano sonata into which by his own admission the 18-year young artist threw everything he could with surprisingly enticing results.

The CD’s hour long running time is partially occupied by the original band version of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. Goodyear and his friends give it an energetic reading at a good clip. But for me, the main event here remains what I assume may be Stewart Goodyear’s record debut as a composer to be reckoned with.

Cause for celebration!

Rafael de Acha    http://www.RafaelMusicNotes.com

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