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Richard Underhill: Kensington Suite (2007)

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Richard Underhill: Kensington Suite How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Alto saxophonist Richard Underhill fires up a tribute to Kensington Market, his trendy Toronto neighborhood, on this set of ten tunes. Kensington Suite finds Underhill in inspired form, as he goes across a wide band of styles and settles them into the mainstream with finesse. With a band that is tight and creative, the CD is another notch in Underhill's impressive output.

Underhill has the versatility to move in different directions and bring them together in one seamless flow. In doing this, he creates several effective spells. They do it right from the get-go with the beckoning "Meet Me in the Market.

Underhill gets up front with Chris Gale (tenor saxophone) to blow some swing in neat ensemble lines. The mood is bright and sunny, with the added plus of Scott Good punctuating with his trombone. Underhill underlines swing and bounce with slight careens away from his line, and draws Dave Restivo (organ) and Eric St-Laurent (guitar) into the grain for an inspired and lyrical conversation.

"Fire Dance has a shifting pulse, making surprise the key element. Underhill probes the melody and adds fertile extensions while drummer Joe Poole edges the beat. As the progression becomes intense, Underhill breaks loose of fetters; blowing hard, whirling lines. St-Laurent captures the dynamic and gives it his own impelling thrust.

"Canção de Villa offers a contrast in style. It delves into the nectar of Brazilian jazz, and with the band defining the music, succinctly this tune casts an indelible spell.

Track Listing: Meet Me in the Market; Bike Lane; In the Shadows; A Day in the Park; Cano de Villa; Green Shift; The Things That You Need; Fire Dance; When I Miss You; Dreaming Big Dreams.

Personnel: Richard Underhill: alto sax; Joe Poole: drums; Reg Schwager: guitar (3-7, 9); Artie Roth: bass (2-7, 9, 10); Chris Gale: tenor sax (1, 6-8, 10); Perry White: tenor sax (2, 3); Eric St-Laurent: guitar (1, 2, 8, 10); Brandi Disterheft: bass (1, 8); Dave Restivo: organ (1, 3, 4, 7); Aline Morales: percussion (5); Scott Good: trombone (1); Mafata Lemphane: Percussion (1, 3, 5, 8, 10).

Record Label: Stubby Records

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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