Providence's Alternative Source!

On the records
New discs by Gauvin, Colonies, and the Ravers

Marcelle Gauvin

With spring now pretty much sprung, the air feels more conducive to new blooms, new ideas, new habits, new people, and new music. Here are some great new records to help you find your way into the great wide open.

Marcelle Gauvin: The Edge of the Pond (Whaling City Sound,

The lovely Marcelle Gauvin returns to compact disc with The Edge of the Pond, a collection of jazz standards and other classics pivoting on the singer's considerable talent and supported by a stellar cast of musicians. Covers of chestnuts like Frank Loesser's "I Believe in You" and Sammy Cahn's "Dedicated to You" showcase Gauvin's tuneful romance, while Jobim's "Double Rainbow," Horace Silver's "Doodlin'," and Thelonious Monk's brilliant "Monk's Dream" demonstrate Gauvin's tastefulness in material, and also provide her band enthusiastic opportunities to step forward. Brian Torff and drummer Alan Hall can veer from funk to finery in no time flat. Pianist John Harrison lays down ivory filigree for Gauvin to send her poignant notes through and around, while tenor saxophonist Dino Govoni knows how to turn a plain passage into pretty prose with just a few select notes.

Like other terrific jazz vocalists, including Rachelle Ferrell, Nancy Wilson, and Claire Martin, Gauvin is a passionate interpreter who seems to feel her material from the inside out. "You Stepped Out of a Dream" features, amid Govoni's fleet sax runs, a singer who obviously believes strongly in true love. Gauvin's voice is pure and poignant, vivacious and tactile. In short, it's absolutely everything it needs to be, including beautiful.

Gauvin returns to Chan's (267 Main Street, Woonsocket) for her CD release party this Saturday, April 20 at 8 p.m. Call 765-1900 for reservations.

The Jason Colonies Band: Bitter Sweet (

On-the-rise locals the Jason Colonies Band finally squeezed out their debut recently and the results are excellent. The band -- a trio with Jeff Moffitt on bass, Felix Guiffra on drums, and Colonies on acoustic guitar and vox -- has a nice low-key swagger to accompany its vigorous tunes. Led by Colonies's impassioned singing and his casual melodies, the band has a Dave Matthews/Grateful Dead sort of rubbery acoustic sound, with lots of personality ("This One," "Kine's Song"), some sexiness ("Plead"), and enough earnest sentiment ("Deny") to make the girls swoon.

Recorded and mixed at Boo Recording Studio in Kingston, engineered and mixed by Dave Prout and produced by Colonies, the album has a rootsy feel and an organic sound. Though they've left behind some high-end along the way on drums and vocals, the arrangements are good, with Colonies's guitar taking over much of the mix. His playing is buttressed by the presence of various guest lead players, including Dale Dejoy, Jeff Shea, and Clay Chipman, all of whom are given lots of lead breaks in which to explore. (Chipman seems to be the man onstage.) In fact, lots of Bitter Sweet contains moments built for jamming, which makes the Colonies Band an exciting prospect live.

As a songwriter, Colonies takes his cues from guys like David Crosby, Robbie Robertson, Gregg Allman, Matthews, Bob Weir, and a slew of other largely acoustic-based melodicists. He could work a bit on the strength and clarity of his melodies -- many of the hooks don't work as effectively as they should -- but with experience and practice, that kink should work itself out naturally. The other thing is that the tempos of many of these songs run too closely together. It's good to have a cohesive listen that stems from one man's imagination, which this is; it's another to run the songs together without sufficiently distinguishing one from the next by virtue of style or tone. Still, it's a terrific album, one that goes a long way in explaining why the band is one of the hottest new outfits on the local circuit.

The Jason Colonies Band plays on Saturday, April 20 at Champions at the Towers on the corner of routes 1 and 138.

The Ravers

They may not look like a real ska-rock steady-reggae band, but the Ravers sure sound like one. Carey Bowman doesn't exactly fit the classic profile for a Jamaican-style front man either, but if you close your eyes, you'd think he grew up in Trenchtown, for Pete's sake. Either that or he's listened to a lot of Bob Marley. I mean, a lot. "Come and Get It" sounds so much like Marley it'd almost be enough to jumpstart "Marley lives" rumors. Comparisons aside, though, the Ravers flip through a wide and excellent range of entertaining styles, from Skatalites-Treasure Isle style ska ("Stuck In the Middle," "Hot Knives,") to lover rock ballads ("Cold Cold Day"), and even a nice pop-reggae sound, complete with Adam Aleicho's fuzzed out guitar solo ("Real World").

The band, which also includes Steve Cerilli on keys, Doug Ernest on drums, Ray Gennari on bass and horn, singer Michele Smith, and Scott Brown on sax, works together beautifully; they sound like studio vets, given the polished and professional sound of this debut.

And speaking of sound, the recording was facilitated by Scott Rancourt over at Dream Edit Studio in Newport, mixed by Gennari, and mastered by Steve Rizzo at Stable Sounds in Portsmouth. Everyone did a terrific job putting this package together. In the end, it sounds to me like one of the premier reggae issues of the year.

WANDERING EYE. Grandevolution plays at Cats in Pawtucket on Friday night (the 12th). Doors are at 8 p.m., and it's free, 21-plus show. The lineup also includes Heretic Fork, Shake Dog Shake, and the Curtain Society. Grandevolution ( will certainly play their new single "Away," from their debut. And speaking of that debut, it'll be released officially on April 23. There's a serious show at the Met on Saturday (the 13th), with Suicide Liquors, Motormags, and a band called Chubby. I can't vouch for the latter, but the two former groups are boss. Over at the Blackstone you can catch up with Becky Chace and her fine band. Better Kind sets the stage for Ms. Chace; the show starts at 9 and will cost you a fin. And to complete the weekend trifecta, your best bet is to head over to the Met Café to see an early punk and old school show with the Krays, the Midnight Creeps, and Citizens Unrest. New York Rel-X headlines. The gig starts at 7 p.m. and costs $7, and you can be of any age to enter, which means it'll be nuts 'cuz there ain't many of those shows going on anymore.

E-mail me with music news at

Issue Date: April 12 - 18, 2002