tunes, mostly originals by leader and drummer Andre White. White is a well known figure on Canada's jazz education and performance scenes. Living in Montreal most of his life he teaches jazz studies at McGill University. His performing credits are just that, very credible. He's worked with many top jazz artists from both Canada and the US and was a member of progressive jazz guitarist Sonny Greenwich's group Panache. White is also a producer of some renown having been involved in the development of more than 30 releases.
The music on this album is hard bop at its most intense and exciting. The playing runs the gamut from dissonant musical travels on "By Invitation Only" to out and out swinging on "Farnsworth". In between we get treated to soulful romanticism as on "Goodbye Glen" and "The Saddest Waltz". "Monderful", a tribute to guitarist Ben Monder, is the closest it gets to straight ahead jazz featuring, naturally, Monder's swinging, clean lined guitar. The fine bassist Neil Swainson is allowed considerable solo time on this cut. Leader White is not satisfied to be a complacent, time keeping member of the rhythm section as he takes an active Elvin Jones like role in the proceedings with drum rolls, rim shots and other percussive devices to let you know he is there. But it is tenor man Kirk MacDonald, with whom White has recorded before, who is the major protagonist on this set. His is a saxophone clearly influenced by the Charlie Parker and the John Coltrane saxophone movements. He has that biting, intense tone that is the signature of this clan of saxophone players and it is apparent on both the up tempo and ballad pieces.
The country to the North continues to be a major source for fine jazz and Cornerstone Records should be applauded for recording the innovative work of this group. Highly recommended.