The Alex Goodman Quintet: Bridges (2012)
Canadian guitarist Alex Goodman builds bridges between mainstream and modern jazz. On Bridges, the artist shuns convention while merging disparate forces into a harmonious union. Unlike similar ventures that wind up in the dreaded oil and water milieu, Goodman produces an au naturel feel.
A superb technician, Goodman fuses difficult time signatures into bop and swing vamps amid curvy abstractions and linear progressions, and his band follows suit. Contrasts abound throughout as the leader projects an effervescent soundscape in concert with numerous re-engineering processes constructed on a rhythmically divergent musical architecture.
The band often kicks matters into high gear, an excellent example is when they morph Bela Bartok's "Dance in Belgium Rhythm No.1" into a progressive jazz workout. Goodman's meticulous craftsmanship radiates a distinct methodology. With undulating currents, briskly woven detours and cool grooves, Goodman's comping is reminiscent of guitar great Pat Martino's peppery chop chords and zinging harmonics. Otherwise, Goodman's burning single note riffs and keen sense of the dynamic add to the pulsating schema.
Goodman provides a prismatic viewpoint of what it is to be a versatile technician, sporting a light touch or going off the radar via scalding leads. His humbling, whispery balladry on Chopin's "Nocturne in Eb Major, Op. 9, No. 2" transparently interconnects a jazzy emphasis with the primary melody. Lucid imagery prevails as the guitarist induces the image of a brilliant sunset atop pianist Darcy Myronuk's succinct phrasings. Goodman then proceeds to juxtapose the blues with a classical approach during his buoyant solo spot.
It would be an injustice for this glimmering and artfully produced release to go unnoticed outside of Canada, where Goodman has garnered considerable accolades. Bridges is a significant jazz refresh that tenders a much needed respite from the present-day influx of kiddie bop and the eternal recycling of jazz standards.
Track Listing: Checklist; Spider Treaty Intro; Spider Treaty; Magic Bullet; Nocturne in Eb Major, Op. 9, No. 2; More Alike Than Different Intro; More Alike Than Different; Dance in Bulgarian Rhythm No. 1; Tristano Bach; Getting Dark Intro; Getting Dark; Changes; Song For Mendehlssohn.
Personnel: Alex Goodman: guitar; Nick Morgan: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet; Darcy Myronuk: piano, Rhodes; Dan Fortin: bass; Maxwell Roach: drums.