“If Dizzy Gillespie were still with us, he would love CaneFire” Vancouver Sun
“CaneFire is sweeter than Caroni brown sugar and don’t doubt me” Trinidad Guardian
Toronto-based Caribbean jazz powerhouse CaneFire is NOT your grandfather’s jazz band. As one of the most explosive and energetic jazz ensembles on the planet, CaneFire delivers a rollicking, high-octane show combining the white-hot energy of Cuban rhythm, the blinding musicianship of modern jazz, and the unbridled joy of the music of the Caribbean.
CaneFire’s signature sound revolves around its unconventional use of the steelpan – the only petroleum byproduct in the world that is actually good for you. Led by Canadian pianist/composer Jeremy Ledbetter, CaneFire also features steelpan virtuoso Mark Mosca, Alexis Baro (trumpet), Braxton Hicks (saxophones), Chendy Leon (drums), Yoser Rodriguez (bass), and Alberto Suarez (percussion).
In recent years CaneFire has taken their unique brand of Caribbean Latin Jazz from BC to Newfoundland, to South America, and to the Caribbean, including three years in a row at the Trinidad and Tobago Jazz Festival. CaneFire celebrated their fifth birthday in 2010 with the release of their sophomore album, Pandemonium. The long-awaited follow-up to their 2005 debut, Kaiso Blue, Pandemonium embodies all the sizzle and twice the sophistication of its predecessor, and features guest performances by Trinidadian calypso superstar David Rudder and Brazilian jazz legend Hermeto Pascoal.
Pandemonium opens with “The Madman’s Jig”, an outrageously energetic Latin jazz piece written in 27/4 time. But in terms of pure explosive energy, there is hardly anything out there to rival “Baptism by Fire,” CaneFire’s take on a hybrid Trinidadian church music called “gospelypso”. The album includes some New York-style latin jazz (“Nothing by Mouth”), a touch of reggae (“Two Cousins”), and a meeting of calypso and be-bop on “Donna Lee (Goes South)”. Three pieces are inspired by the birth last spring of Ledbetter’s daughter Leila, to whom Pandemonium is dedicated: “Welcome Home,” a gentle ballad that combines Afro-Brazilian rhythm with Trinidad steelband; the playful “Little Bell”; and the bonus track, “If I Could Sing,” an astonishing singing debut by then five-month-old Leila. A final song of note is the distinctly CaneFire cover of “Trini to the Bone,” Trinidad’s unofficial national anthem, voiced by none other than David Rudder, the soca superstar behind the original.