After gigging and teaching in his native Canada for almost two decades, guitarist Alex Moxon has recorded the first album solely under his name, and it is a well-played, mostly middle-of-the-road studio session in which his quartet may not turn any heads but should not turn anyone off either. It is simply pleasant, non-unnerving musicmuch of it written by Moxoninto which the ensemble pours its collective talents to produce a bright and agreeable outcome.
Happily for prospective listeners, Moxon chooses to accentuate the melodious side of the guitar, never straying into its more dissonant or vexatious range, even on the album's lone barn-burner, "Scientology," wherein everyone has an enlivening chance to brandish his chops. Having said that, it should be noted that "Scientology" is the exception, not the rule, as Moxon and his colleagues seldom chart a course that is more impetuous than self-controlled and steady as she goes.
That stance is given weight from the outset on Woody Shaw's waltz-like "In a Capricornian Way," one of two themes not written by Moxon (the other is Chris Cornell's ethereal "Black Hole Sun"). There is a full measure of rhythmic variety on "Kaleidoscope," albeit still in the mid-tempo range, and the sunny "Mining for Gold" has its upbeat moments as well, before the introspection returns on "Piety in Crescent Park." Moxon's boppish "Wood Chop" moves at a lively clip, while "Melodramatic Minors" underlines the music's darker tones. Moxon's teammates are fully engaged here, as they are throughout, with deft solos by pianist Steve Boudreau and bassist John Geggie enhancing the mood. Drummer Michel Delage, whose touch can be a tad heavy at times, lends his earnest support as well.
In sum, a smooth and trouble-free maiden voyage for Moxon's quartet, one whose menu is invariably appetizing but lacks the sort of zestful seasoning that would set it apart from most other entrees.
In a Capricornian Way (W. Shaw)
Kaleidoscope (A. Moxon)
Mining for Gold (A. Moxon)
Wood Chop (A. Moxon)
Piety in Crescent Park (A. Moxon)
Wood Chop (A. Moxon)
Melodramatic Minors (A. Moxon)
Black Hole Sun (C. Cornell)
Scientology (A. Moxon)
Romantique (A. Moxon)
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