Patrick Boyle likes to think about music as well as play it. The versatile multi-instrumentalist plays not only trumpet and flugelhorn, but also guitar, dobro, electric bass, ukele and harmonica. On Hold Out, however, he sticks to the brass. He also composed most of the tunes, except Thelonious Monk's "Nutty" and a pop tune, "Always On My Mind," which he arranged.
While his writing about music can be an intensely serious affair (he has posted his thesis online), Boyle's recording has brightness and optimism. He has a way with a melody and generally keeps things simple when it comes to harmony or arrangements. Rather than going for a grand show of technique or intense brain-scratching dissonance, his music is meant to catch in your mind, set your foot tapping and allow you to spend some time away from the worries of the world.
For the most part this recording features a trio with unusual instrumentationBoyle (trumpet/flugelhorn), Curtis Andrews (drums/percussion) and Brian Way (Hammond organ)with the occasional addition of electric guitar and vibes. Combining this unique sound with a rather dry recording technique that employs no reverb, echo or other sonic enhancements, Hold Out takes on an intimacy that makes it sound fresh and unpretentious.
Upon hearing the opening track, "Mr. Jim's Reels," you might think this will be an album of musicological fusionhere between Irish music and jazz. The line twists and turns, never letting up, accompanied only by light percussion, giving Boyle quite a workout. But before its sound has settled in, "Big R" changes the feel entirely with a light take on the soul-jazz organ groove part of the jazz universe. "Nutty" gets a workout and features clear, swinging solos by Boyle, Way and Andrews, leading to "Lines," which adds vibes and develops a nice head of steam.
The title tune surprises with a low, single note organ intro, portending something ominous, but it changes into a light, jaunty tune and leads to "She Could Be Right," where Boyle again creates an attractive, dancing melody. "Fresh Duds" is a weird organ blues mutation, while "1 of 2 Things" adds some African instruments to the mix.
Entertaining without being predictable, Hold Out, which was nominated for the 2006 Canadian East Coast Music Award (ECMA) for Best Jazz Recording, is a fine debut for Patrick Boyle as a leader.