Amazon.com Widgets

Chet Doxas: Big Sky (2010)

By Published: | 4,188 views
Chet Doxas: Big Sky How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

As much as a recent Ottawa, Canada performance was an intimate opportunity for local fans to see John Abercrombie
John Abercrombie
John Abercrombie
b.1944
guitar
, it was equally noteworthy for the two brothers who brought the veteran guitarist and bassist John Menegon, both from Upstate New York, for a short tour of Toronto, Kingston, Ottawa and Montreal. Saxophonist Chet Doxas and drummer Jim Doxas are no strangers to Ottawa—especially Jim, a regular at local bassist John Geggie
John Geggie
John Geggie
b.1960
bass
's annual Geggie Concert Series. Chet—who has recorded and/or toured with artists including Dave Douglas
Dave Douglas
Dave Douglas
b.1963
trumpet
, Jason Moran
Jason Moran
Jason Moran
b.1975
piano
, David Binney
David Binney
David Binney
b.1961
saxophone
and Oliver Jones
Oliver Jones
Oliver Jones
b.1934
piano
—the latter, Jim's regular gig—released his debut as a leader, Sidewalk Etiquette (Justin Time), in 2006; four years later, Big Sky expands on its predecessor's many strengths, bringing back the same quartet, with the exception of guitarist Ben Charest, who replaces pianist John Roney.

Switching to a guitar-based group alters the overall complexion of a group which also features Jim, and longtime friend/musical cohort, bassist Zack Lober. But beyond the obvious, it creates a sense of air that allows the dark, brooding, title track—paradoxically introspective, given its name—to breathe in a different way than it had it featured a piano's denser voicings. Charest—best known, perhaps, for his Grammy- and Academy-nominated soundtrack to The Triplets of Belleville (2003), on which Chet can also be heard—joins a warm, ambiguous harmonic approach with the kind of contemporary melodism heard from guitarists like Kurt Rosenwinkel
Kurt Rosenwinkel
Kurt Rosenwinkel
b.1970
guitar
, favoring a rich, thick tone that fills up a lot of space without ever weighing it down.

As before, Chet is the primary writer, with the exception of Lober's angularly swinging "Blue 23," and an a capella saxophone reading of clarinetist Benny Goodman
Benny Goodman
Benny Goodman
1909 - 1986
clarinet
's well-known theme song, "Goodbye," which—understated though it may be—demonstrates unfailing respect for composer/arranger Gordon Jenkins' memorable melody while, at the same time, pushing it into the 21st Century with a broader purview. The rest of Big Sky's eight tunes are Chet's, and demonstrate the same blend of head and heart as Sidewalk Etiquette. As much informed by 20th Century classical composers like Charles Ives
Charles Ives
Charles Ives
1874 - 1954
composer/conductor
and Gustav Mahler as he is jazz underdogs like Jimmy Giuffre
Jimmy Giuffre
Jimmy Giuffre
1921 - 2008
clarinet
, Doxas combines knotty structures with plenty of room to move, but Big Sky shifts towards greater lyricism, despite quirky arrangements like the closing "Blumen," with its seemingly endless series of stops and starts.

Continuing to grow as a player, Chet's tone is refreshingly not from the Chris Potter
Chris Potter
Chris Potter
b.1971
reeds
school—no disrespect intended, but the American saxophonist's influence has simply become far too pervasive. Jim continues to build on his remarkable abilities to twist and turn a pulse without ever losing it, quickly respond to the subtlest motif, and play with an often thrilling blend of restraint and abandon. A significant step forward—not just for leader Chet Doxas, but for everyone in the group—Big Sky shines a light on a fine group of players from a city that has one of the most diverse and, on the strength of albums like this, underappreciated scenes in North America, outside of New York.

Track Listing: For Jim; Big Sky; L'Acadie; Sideshow; Goodbye; The Walk Will Do You Good; Blue 23; Blumen.

Personnel: Chet Doxas: tenor saxophone; Ben Charest: guitar; Zack Lober: bass; Jim Doxas: drums.

Record Label: Justin Time Records


comments powered by Disqus
Support All About Jazz Through Amazon

Weekly Giveaways

Carmen Lundy

Carmen Lundy

About | Enter

Wadada Leo Smith

Wadada Leo Smith

About | Enter

Mort Weiss

Mort Weiss

About | Enter

Rotem Sivan

Rotem Sivan

About | Enter

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW

Enter it twice.
To the weekly jazz events calendar

Enter the numbers in the graphic
Enter the code in this picture

Log in

One moment, you will be redirected shortly.