This new recording by bassist Michael Bates has pop music appeal. I’m not talking about saccharine-covered smooth jazz elevator music, but a jazz record that hooks you and draws you in, with not so much catchy tunes as engaging ideas.
Bates and his fellow Canadian bandmates, drummer Mark Timmermans and saxophonist Quinsin Nachoff, favor a world music meets classical music at the jazz market. Sure, this combination has been cooked up before, it’s just that the flavors chosen by Bates compositions are spot on.
Different spins of this disc find differing aspects that attract the listener.
The disc opens with the Middle-Eastern piece “Tunisia.” Nachoff’s clarinet flows over the muscular pulse Bates lays down with Timmermans' hand drumming. This simple attractive approach is repeated throughout. Two other tracks “Tradewinds” and “Tamarind,” play off the world music theme. The processional “Tamarind” sifts through India with a groove for walking, just not in a straight line. Nachoff picks up his saxophone here for a bit of extroverted expression.
The trio’s other passion is chamber jazz, or the intersection between classical and improvised music. The extended piece “Intervention/And Then There Was Luz” finds Bates with bow in hand and the trio negotiating four movements of his composition. The clarity of their sound here and on “Dmitri” for Shostakovich reminds you of the seriousness of fine music making.
The intersection of Bates’ principals can be found both in the two freely improvised pieces, “Freely” and “Derailing” and his overt tribute to Ornette Coleman on “Potassium.” “Freely" is subtle enough searching for connections between players, while “Derailing” offers a blues blast from the Ayler/Brötzmann blender set on frappe.
If jazz music had "hits" and its own Jazz Dick Clark, we would certainly see this disc on his list.
Personnel: Michael Bates - Bass; Quinsin Nachoff - Tenor Saxophone, Clarinet; Mark Timmermans - Drums.