Canadian bassist William Chernoff showcases his crisp, clever writing and musicianship on his exciting debut, Aim To Stay. Leading a quartet made up of fellow alumni from Capilano University, Chernoff interprets seven of his lyrical originals that draw upon his various influences.
For instance guitarist Bill Frisell serves as an inspiration for "Stop Me If You've Heard Enough," built on cinematic Americana motifs. Trumpeter Thad Bailey-Mai expands on the main theme with his warm and mellow phrases like warm floating clouds that are lined by a halo of sunlight. Chernoff's own solo is quite eloquent and intimate. Its acerbic sound is in keeping with the overall ambience.
Chenoff's mellifluous duet with pianist Jonny Tobin is at the core of the romantic "Sitting to Her Left." It bears definite hallmarks of western classical style and is also peppered with bluesy hints. Tobin's peeling and resonant notes bounce off Chernoff's simmering reverberations as the tune evolves into a poetic and engaging discourse. The pair show perfect synergy as they usher in the melancholic conclusion.
In contrast "Makie Elkino" is a funky piece that drummer Carson Tworow drives with his swaggering groove. Toobin builds his intricate improvisation with soulful chords while Chernoff's strings thump and dance while anchoring the interplay and Bailey-Mai blows burnished and brassy tones.
Another stand out composition is the two-part "Nomads." Opening with Tobin and Bailey-Mai's wistful intro, the effervescent track transforms into a relaxed swinger with elements reminiscent of the 1950s cool jazz movement. Drummer Bobby Wiens' rolling beats and splashing cymbals together with Chernoff's walking lines make up the loose rhythmic backdrop. Tobin's virtuosic embellishments to the main melody thrill and delight. Chernoff's own extemporization is charmingly lithe and agile.
With his first release as a leader Chernoff has made a solid artistic statement. His work is squarely in the mainstream yet has its own unique voice. Aim To Stay displays Chernoff's talents as an instrumentalist, composer and bandleader. The result is a refreshingly accessible music replete with elegant spontaneity and camaraderie.
Aim To Stay; Stop Me If You've Heard Enough; Nomads (Intro); Nomads; Being Bill; Ulla; Sitting To Her Left; Makie Elkino
A young artist exhibits his work for the first time. An art critic is in attendance. The critic says, "would you like my opinion on your work?" "Yes," says the artist. "It's worthless," says the critic. The artist replies "I know, but tell me anyway."