All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

457

Nimmons'n'Braid: Beginnings

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Phil Nimmons and David Braid are nearly 53 years apart in age, but by finding common ground on Beginnings, they prove that age doesn't necessarily determine one's personal voice or artistic viability. Braid, a thirty year-old pianist, has been generating considerable buzz in the Canadian jazz community for his stylistic maturity, which is all the more surprising considering he came to jazz only recently, and a compositional approach that masks deeper complexity in accessible veneer. Recent projects like Vivid: The David Braid Sextet Live (Independent, 2004) and the Murley/Braid Quartet, so impressive in its 2004 performance at the Ottawa International Jazz Festival, have quickly established Braid as someone to watch.

At 83, Nimmons, a clarinetist, is one of Canada's elder jazz statesmen, yet age doesn't seem to be slowing him down. Beginnings documents a 2004 duet concert performance with Braid featuring a completely spontaneous set of free improvisations that nevertheless bear a surprising sense of purpose.

Few can match pianist Keith Jarrett when it comes to inventively pulling form out of the ether. His improvisations may range from abstract to hymnal, but he's consistently able to create from a completely blank slate. Achieving the same result is harder for a duo because one player has to be constantly aware of what the other is doing, responding and instigating. Nimmons and Braid manage to successfully mine Jarrett's stream of consciousness turf, which is all the more impressive because it's not the insular experience of a single mind at work. Akin to an intimate conversation between friends so comfortable with each other that neither is afraid to go in unexpected directions, the album's seven spontaneous compositions are stunning for the apparent ease with which each player latches onto the other's thoughts.

That's not to say the music has any specific stylistic reference to Jarrett. But Nimmons and Braid's ability to effortlessly move from the lyrical and majestic beginning of "Ayy into free association—often with only the slightest of musical nods from one or the other and in the space of a few short moments—is testimony to just how open their ears are.

Not to mention their minds. One would expect an artist of Nimmons' vintage to be steeped in tradition, but he's capable of modernistic fancy, as on the frenetic "Dee, where the two seem to be in a humorously perpetual state of catch-up. Braid may be the youngster, but "Bee proves him comfortable with the blues tradition, while "Cee finds both evoking a curious combination of Bill Evans and George Gershwin. "Eeh begins with Braid echoing Nimmons' whimsical melody, taking a simple idea far.

The aptly titled Beginnings hopefully represents the start of a more permanent relationship. There's no clear leader here; while Braid can learn from Nimmons' wisdom and experience, Nimmons is just as much a student of Braid's youthful exposure and frames of reference.

Visit David Braid on the web.


Track Listing: Ayy; Bee; Cee; Dee; Eeh; Eff; Gee.

Personnel: Phil Nimmons: clarinet; David Braid: piano.

Title: Beginnings | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Nimmons'n'Music Ltd.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Beginnings

Beginnings

Nimmons'n'Music Ltd.
2006

buy

Related Articles

Read Dawn CD/LP/Track Review
Dawn
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 27, 2018
Read Life Of CD/LP/Track Review
Life Of
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 27, 2018
Read Downtown Castles Can Never Block The Sun CD/LP/Track Review
Downtown Castles Can Never Block The Sun
by Gareth Thompson
Published: May 27, 2018
Read Enso CD/LP/Track Review
Enso
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 27, 2018
Read Let Your Light Shine On CD/LP/Track Review
Let Your Light Shine On
by Chris May
Published: May 27, 2018
Read Dirt...And More Dirt CD/LP/Track Review
Dirt...And More Dirt
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 26, 2018
Read "Crossing Borders" CD/LP/Track Review Crossing Borders
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 28, 2018
Read "Green Man" CD/LP/Track Review Green Man
by Jim Olin
Published: October 6, 2017
Read "Organ Monk Blue" CD/LP/Track Review Organ Monk Blue
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: December 30, 2017
Read "Edge Detection" CD/LP/Track Review Edge Detection
by Doug Collette
Published: March 4, 2018
Read "Beautiful Liar" CD/LP/Track Review Beautiful Liar
by Patrick Burnette
Published: May 8, 2018
Read "Magnetic" CD/LP/Track Review Magnetic
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 27, 2017