By Ric Bang
Buy CD: Dialectics
I enjoy reviewing all jazz artists and groups, old and new, but I’m particularly intrigued by releases that originate outside the United States. That’s the case with this album, which features Canadian musicians — or those influenced by Canadians — and is produced by Factor Canada, and released on British Columbia’s Cellar Live label.
I often yearn for the sounds and styles that originated during the big band years and, over time, I’ve noticed an interesting thing. Because international artists often develop their skills by listening to music that originated in the States, many of them wind up producing the kind of jazz that turned us on during that big band period.
Drummer Curtis Nowosad, who leads this quintet, was born in Winnipeg and has been a force in the Canadian jazz scene for years. He’s also a member of the New York jazz fraternity. His colleagues here are saxman Jimmy Greene and trumpeter Derrick Gardner, both Big Apple artists; and pianist Will Bonness and bassist Steve Kirby, who share jobs in both Canada and the States.
As often is the case when a drummer fronts a combo, the menu includes mostly mid- and up-tempo burners. Consider, as one example, that the standard “I Remember You” is done here at race-horse speed. Wayne Shorter’s “Speak No Evil” is a great swinger, and T. Monk’s “Bye-Ya” is given a smooth, Afro-Cuban reading. “Gleaning & Dreaming” emerges as a waltz, varying from 5 to 3 meters.
The solo work is uniformly excellent, including Nowosad’s obligatory drum passages.
Our Northern neighbors have produced some good stuff here, and I look forward to more of the same.