Dave Young has had a long career as a classical music and jazz bassist. Before he found his niche in jazz, Young was the principal bassist with the Winnipeg and Edmonton Symphony Orchestras as well as the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra. As a jazz musician, he brought his sense of rhythm and intuition to groups led by Oscar Peterson
and Oliver Jones
, among a host of others. Though he has had a prolific career as a sideman over the last 40 years, Young has been less of a presence as a leader. Mean What You Say
is only his third album at the helm.
The title tune is gorgeous, made all the more so by the innate power of understatement instilled by trumpeter Kevin Turcotte. His tone embraces emotion without reserve, but he has his roots firmly grounded and does not slip into melancholy. Pianist Robi Botos changes the pulse, getting lithe with an undercurrent of swing which then becomes Turcotte's domain. The other distinctive voice comes from Young, who is temperate yet flexed and gives the body resilient support.
The empathy and the interaction between the band members are topnotch and contribute a great deal to giving the music its creative focus. "Bohemia After Dark" is another track that captures the essence. The bop beat driven by drummer Frank Botos sees Turcotte get brassy as he rides high on the sentiment of the rhythm in a cascade of bold phrases and tangy ideas. The pace is edged up with Robi Botos unfurling a rich lode, leading in to the voice of Young, who balances a rumbling clutch of notes with pulsing single-note runs.
"Morning Star" is stellar, the arrangement casting the piano and the bass as intimate conversationalists, two companions reminiscing in quiet and peaceful harmony, while igniting a radiant glow. Young shows his talent as a composer with three diverse tunes that move from the hymnal "Sandu," on which he essays the melody with gentle grace, to the up-tempo gush of the bopping "Minor 101" and the lush ballad "Last Time I Saw Her."
Mean What You Say is a fine summation of Young, the player and the writer, an impressive and welcome return which proves just why he is one of the best.
Personnel: Dave Young: bass; Kevin Turcotte: trumpet; Robi Botos: piano; Frank Botos: drums.