How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
There's more marvelous young jazz talent out there than you can shake a sax at. Like byproduct, for example... three young Montrealers: Chet Doxas on reeds; Zack Lober on double bass; and Jim Doxas on drums. All are alumni of the prestigious (and apparently very successful) McGill University Music program, having chosen the name "byproduct" to reflect the numerous musical styles that have influenced them.
The tunes are all penned by either bassist Lober or sax man Chet D., and the deepest and foremost influence seems to be mainstream jazz, leaning toward the edge. "Appalachian Theme" features unpretentious blowing, that forthright Dexter Gordon approach, full of introspection; while "Scooby Snax" sounds like the musings of Sonny Rollins, from that mid-sixties period when the Tenor Colossus was recording for Impulse Records. Then there's "Lana". Ah, Lana. Must have been an affair of the heart. The tunewhich opens with some lovely, melancholy bowed bass worksounds like a forgotten gem out of The Great American Songbook, the melody shaded with tints of the classic "My Foolish Heart".
Then the highlight: "88," "a very candid conversation" that starts out with a James Brown riff (throw in some slashing metallic guitar chords and you can see The Godfather cutting a rug) that leads into a partial decontruction to ponder the opening theme that leads back into a reconstruction. And of special note and interest, the song opens with a too-brief (taped?) undercurrent of a rhythmic chitter-chat girl talk monologue with the band swirling around.
Byproduct is a great new group, harboring deep roots in the jazz tradition, sending shoots and branches stretching into a new age.