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Quinsin Nachoff: Magic Numbers (2006)

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Quinsin Nachoff: Magic Numbers How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Quinsin Nachoff is an adventurer. He is not afraid of going into the unknown, making his way through the recesses and finding something new and interesting. His career has seen him in the company of musicians who are constantly looking out, far out, into the horizon for that speck they can enlarge into something meaningful. Among them are John Taylor, Kenny Wheeler, Ernst Reijseger and at home, in Canada, Tim Postgate. Put him in this situation and he is an innovator with unusual and startling ideas as he horns his way through a maze of his making. But Naschoff has another side, or sides, as he sails in the mainstream with a jazz orchestra or embraces classical music in close cleave for some remarkably beautiful results. The last is in abundant evidence on Magic Numbers.

The marriage of jazz and classical music is a continuing process. What makes the alliance believable and acceptable is the way the two are fused. Naschoff does it with a certain grace, and to give credit where it is due, his fine band has its own pulse ticking quite perfectly, both in and out of synchronicity. The latter is witnessed on "Branches, where time is distilled and dispelled by Jim Black. His timing is perfect, his rhythm runs and skitters fuelling the careening violins. Time does not conform, and neither does pulse or meter. Thought is formulated on the move, and only when Nachoff enters does that sound get pegged and become earthy, but the churn is constant and unpredictable.

The soothing strains of "October stand in stark contrast. Nachoff's saxophone snuggles in the cocoon of the strings, which makes for a charmingly orchestrated tune. The interaction between the string quartet and the jazz comes off strongly on "Sun-Day. The arrangement opens a revolving door through which the two move smoothly, and while each is profiled, with Nachoff bringing in particularly inventive narratives, the best moments rise when the ensemble plays, and composition and innovation become soulmates.

Track Listing: There & Back: To Solar Piazza; How Postmodern of Me; October; Branches; Circles & Waves; Whorls; Sun-Day.

Personnel: Quinsin Nachoff: tenor and soprano saxophone; Mark Helias: bass; Jim Black: drums; Nathalie Bonin: violin; Nomi Racine Gaudreault: violin; Jean Ren: viola; Julie Trudeau: cello.

Record Label: Songlines Recordings


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