Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Spring for a copy of this autumn act.

Not that Winnipeg doesn't have it's own great jazz scene, but Vancouver seems to be giving us here in Peg City a run for our money as a happenin' hot bed. From the more straight-ahead Cellar Live stuff to the avant-jazz of Fond Of Tigers and other Drip Audio artists, there's a lot going on in lotus-land.

It's actually through Fond Of Tigers that I became aware of The October Trio as both acts share a drummer in Dan Gaucher. The trio is rounded out by Josh Cole on double bass and Evan Arntzen on tenor and soprano saxophone as well as clarinet. While the three work best as a group, the strength of this act is Arntzen, who can really open up on his soprano saxophone ("Wide," which recalls some of Yusef Lateef's work) or pull back on tenor and let the rhythm section propel matters (the title track "New Dream"). Arntzen is versatile and talented without being showy, and he never loses sight of the melody. It's melody that lies at the heart of all eight songs on New Dream (I won't even call them "tracks" because they are really songs - you'll be hearing them in your head for days after listening to this record).

Apart from the aforementioned "Wide" and "New Dream," for me the album standout is the album's longest, "The Park," which features an ambling, bouncy line from Cole and a more meandering delivery from Arntzen that strikes a deft balance between purposeful forward motion and a relaxed, open approach to delivering the melody.

It may be spring going on summer, but I strongly encourage you to buy stocks in this autumn act (i.e. go pick up New Dream at Bandcamp).

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