A Road To Remember
Artist: Tyler Hornby / Album: A Road To Remember / Jazz Instrumental
“Sometimes I think that it is important for the producer to say only a little bit and to let the musicians figure it out for themselves, because they are going to bring something that you may not have thought of and it will make the music that much better. Sometimes it can be a real hands on approach, but other times when you get the right people in place you really don’t need to say very much,” says drummer, composer and producer Tyler Hornby, while discussing his current album A Road To Remember on which he appears in all three roles.
Tyler Hornby hails from Calgary Alberta Canada and he has created a splendid Jazz instrumental album that evokes powerful emotions and demonstrates a lot of diversity in styles, without the appearance of being chaotic or unhinged. The album simply demonstrates the creative breadth of the musicians and more importantly the strength of Mr. Hornby as a producer.
Mr. Hornby places a great deal of trust in his musicians, most of whom he has known for several years and that allows him to record a collection of songs that offer, “some different looks, and usually I like to offer that to the listener. Not everything is the same tempo or the same structure.”
A Road To Remember appeals to a broad audience, with songs such as Tyler Hornby’s original “Choices,” that snuggles up to straight ahead jazz fans, without it being heavy and it gets cozy with the contemporary Jazz camp with songs that are uplifting, move well and fuse different genres, styles and tempos.
One of the more beautiful Jazz songs to come our way in a long time is Tyler Hornby’s composition “Visible Sorrows,” which showcases the plaintive trumpet of Bob Tildesley, elegant piano playing by Chris Andrew and an exquisite solo by one of this reviewer’s favorite guitarists Aaron Young, with whom Tyler Hornby appears in the Pop / Neo Soul band Sillan & Young. The band draws its name as you would guess from Aaron Young and singer – songwriter Johanna Sillanpaa, another rising star on the Canadian music scene.
“Visible Sorrows,” had a long journey before it found a home on this album. Mr. Hornby explains, “That piece came together when I was on tour in the northern part of Poland. I wasn’t feeling that great, because of a previous relationship that split. I had this elongated melody that crept into my head, as I was walking around feeling sorry for myself. It took a while to get that one onto paper, as I wrote part of the melody and then I came up with the counter line that the piano plays. It has a straight eights kind of feel and it is not necessarily a swing thing. It came from more of an emotional state and then figuring out the melodic and harmonic structure that I wanted to put to that.
The fifth song on A Road To Remember “Elevate,” another original composition by Mr. Hornby showcases his drumming and trumpeter Bob Tildesley and while this is modern jazz at its finest, in some of the earlier sections of the song there are subtle suggestions of R&B. This song is bright, cheery and moves well. Tyler Hornby is always generous with his fellow musicians, giving them ample opportunity to express themselves.
The sixth composition consists of three movements, “Broken,” in which the musicians play more freely, “Moment of Truth,” which is more of a somber piano solo and “Propel,” that is the most energetic of the three movements.
The album closes out with Aaron Young’s “Old World,” a pretty song introduced by Mr. Young’s guitar, then accompanied by Bob Tildesley’s trumpet and the subtle presence of Tyler Hornby’s drums, as his brushes lightly feather the cymbals. Gonzalo Teppa is incredible on bass and although he plays quietly, he does so passionately, evoking a strong response from the listener.
A Road To Remember by Tyler Hornby is well produced, the musicianship is impeccable and breathtaking, and as a producer and bandleader Mr. Hornby demonstrates far more imagination than many of his Jazz peers. We hear a lot about Canada’s fine Jazz vocalists, now it is time for the world to pay homage to an engaging drummer, composer and producer who has a bright future.
Downbeat Magazine Nov 2010 ( 3 Stars )
"...Tyler Hornby is a fluid player with a light touch and a penchant for writing wistful mid-tempo songs"
A journeyman performer and drum clinician from Western Canada, Tyler Hornby is a fluid player with a light touch and a penchant for writing wistful mid-tempo songs. A Road to Remember includes confident playing--particularly from trumpeter Bob Tildesley and guitarist Aaron Young--but doesn't contain much to make it stand out from the crowded field of post-bop quintets. All the references to Miles Davis, Brad Mehldau and Wynton Marsalis sound professional, but there's little that is left to change. Sometimes there's something to be said for not playing it safe.
Tyler Hornby - A Road to Remember
Published April 15, 2010 by Dennis Slater in CD Reviews
A Road to Remember will likely be remembered as one of the strongest albums from Calgary jazz drummer Tyler Hornby. All, and I mean all, the tracks are consistently good — you can't miss when you have some of the best ensemble playing by some of the finest Calgary jazz musicians. The CD features 10 tracks, each an original composition of tight, crisp contemporary jazz. The horn work from Bob Tildesley, the elegantly precise guitar of Aaron Young and the inspired piano work from Chris Andrew are right on. Hornby has hit a hell of a stride on his first album of 2010; be sure to watch for his next, Able to Fly, later this year.
Finding that perfect balance
Feb 11th, 2010 | By Sean-Paul Boynton
Photo courtesy of Lisa Saunders
Besides drumming for the Calgary group Sillian & Young, Tyler
Hornby has spent the past five years molding the next generation of
jazz drummers at Mount Royal University.
“I think you really need that combination of the academic and the practical. To spend time with the instrument, that creates a huge upside to teaching.”
To say that Tyler Hornby practices what he preaches would be an understatement. An instructor in the jazz program at Mount Royal University, in which he teaches drum set as well as jazz history and theory, the Calgary native is also a full-time musician outside the classroom.
A prominent jazz drummer, Hornby has only recently spent time in the studio working on his third solo album, A Road to Remember (“or fourth,” he says, suggesting that Hornby himself has a hard time keeping track of all that’s on his plate). He also travelled to Europe to record and tour with a duo of Polish musicians and, for the past two years, held the drummer’s stool in local collective Sillian & Young.
That group has done the most to raise Hornby’s profile, as Sillian & Young have recently been nominated for Group of the Year at the Canadian Smooth Jazz Awards, and have been picked to play the Alberta House in Vancouver during this month’s Olympic Games.
“It just feels great to be getting recognized,” says Hornby of the group’s growing success. “It’s been interesting to see a western group getting noticed for following a traditionally eastern influence and I’m just happy to be a part of it.”
With so many sides to his life as a musician, it’s a wonder that Hornby doesn’t show the inevitable stress that can come with such multitasking. In fact, he exudes confidence and calm at all times and even excitement when talking about any given project he has going on, including teaching. That aspect, much like his other interests, came about rather naturally.
“I really feel like teaching finds you and I can attest to that,” says Hornby. “To see the progress that the students are making as you teach them, to watch them grow, it’s extremely satisfying to me – to know that you’ve been part of someone’s evolution as a musician and that you made a difference. That’s what I enjoy.”
Besides teaching at Mount Royal, Hornby is also frequently called up for private lessons and festival workshops. His commitment to fostering his own musical journey, rather than have it become a distraction, is meant as an enhancement towards his teaching and finding a balance between the two only seems to excite him all the more.
“Ultimately, it’s about always trying to improve my skills as a musician, which in turn improves my skills as a teacher,” says Hornby. “Post-secondary music education, as I know first-hand, is very intensive. You have to be versed in the history and the theory, but you also have to have the practical side and that only comes by going out there and playing as much as possible, with as many people as possible.
“Jazz musicians are some of the best musicians in the world, because the music is built primarily on improvisation. Whoever you’re playing with, you have to adapt to that particular sound and no matter what situation they find themselves in, jazz musicians will still be technically proficient and plugged in to the other players and be able to hit their marks and move with the rest of the band. You can’t possibly reach that mark without actual experience on the instrument.”
Hornby has undoubtedly proven his worth as an instrumentalist, especially through his work with Sillian & Young. On the group’s latest album, Under My Feet, he stays far enough back to let the melodies soar but also props them up so that they can hit with their desired impact.
The fact that Hornby can hardly be seen in the group photo on the back cover of the album reflects the drummer’s modest approach to his craft.
“I feel that if someone says, ‘Hey, Sillian & Young has a great drummer,’ then I’m not doing my job,” says Hornby. “In my mind, maybe I shouldn’t be noticed as a drummer. I should just be noticed as another member of the band.”
With all that he is doing, it’ll be hard for Hornby to remain unnoticed, yet he maintains that he will continue to pursue all his disparate avenues – teaching, recording, performing, writing – for as long as he can. But how will he find time to take on more projects now that he’s in the throes of the winter semester?
“That’s what May and June are for,” laughs Hornby.
Jazz Forum Magazine - July 2007
Forces Within review by Robert Buczek
To be perfectly honest, it seems as if the amount of excellent jazz groups appearing practically every year now throughout the world, including in Poland, is enough to make fans dizzy ( - and where's this 'death of jazz' one hears about?!), while that of reviewers - particularly those who constantly strive to stay on top of it all, as well as the ever more rancorous ones - is capable of causing states of depressive anxiety. Not only is there not enough time in a lifetime to listen to all of the music out there that's worth listening to - from time to time, at least, one would like to get a hold of something that deserves a solid panning and pan it, but there's nothing of the sort here!
A group that doesn't by any means deserve panning is the quartet of guitarist Maciek Grzywacz. The album's character is conveyed well by its title - the music is impressive in its boldness, energy and clarity. Its communicative power comes from a mastery of those elements that are specific to jazz, primarily a rhythmic unity among all of the musicians, that specific sort of togetherness in time that isn't present in European art music or in rock. Besides that there are the dynamics, sound, phrasing - everything on a high level of quality.
It's difficult to praise any of the musicians specifically - they all work together excellently, and shine in their improvisations. It's hard not to point out, however, that it's good that Tyler Hornby - as opposed to anyone else - was in the drummer's chair. I don't recall having had the occasion to hear this drummer prior to this, so a natural question that came to my mind was - why was an imported musician brought into the quartet for this project? After all, Poland has a few drummers now that aren't bad at all. The issue was clarified for me immediately at the beginning of the album, after which I only became more and more convinced that the line-up was ideal for this project. Hornby performs the fundamental tasks of a jazz drummer perfectly, maintaining the rhythmic nucleus of the music with an iron hand, while being constantly active, supportive, and filling out the background with sensitivity and imagination. In tandem with Lemańczyk, Tyler Hornby creates a stable and powerful fundament for Grzywacz and Sikała, leaving them free and unfettered to build their improvisational tales. "Forces Within" is an excellent album, worthy of recommendation to all mainstream jazz lovers.