Daniel Fortin: Brinks

Dave Wayne BY

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Daniel Fortin: Brinks
Toronto-based bassist Daniel Fortin is best known for his work in Myriad3, a dynamic, forward-looking piano trio whose work superficially resembles that of The Bad Plus and the Esbjorn Svensson in that they're young guys in a piano trio who don't play jazz the way most piano trios play jazz. Fortin's solo debut, Brinks is just as forward-looking as MYRIAD3, though his musical persona seems a quite a bit more introspective. Sort of in the ECM mold, but not quite, Brinks brims with brainy 21st Century jazz content. Drummer Fabio Ragnelli plays fast and loose with the rhythms, breaking them up and constantly subverting the flow in interesting ways, much like Nasheet Waits or Marcus Gilmore. He doesn't so much lock in with Fortin's probing bass as dance around it. Fortin's manages something similar throughout Brinks, breaking up his basslines and avoiding walking patterns whenever possible, playing contrapuntally and occasionally acting as a lead voice.

Melodic and harmonic duties are shared by vibraphonist Michael Davidson and tenor saxophonist David French. Davidson is an extraordinarily gifted musician. Like Tyler Blanton, Matt Moran and Jason Adasiewicz, he's developed a distinctive voice on the vibraphone; one that's quite unlike Gary Burton's or Bobby Hutcherson's. He gets a big sound out of the vibes, using the vibrato sparingly, but to great effect. French, who gigs regularly with both Ragnelli and Davidson, is an interesting player. He has a light, breathy tone that suits this music's cerebral nature. While not an ecstatic, expressive sort of player, his solos are full of abstract, unpredictable lines and interesting phrases, rather like Joe Henderson.

Fortin's original compositions, are generally pretty interesting, even unpredictable. "Verona" seems to gather a set of phrases and repeat them in different ways to generate subtly shifting harmonies. Thus, the solos develop in different ways. On "Mince," Fortin's electric bass weaves in and out of the melody, played by French, as Davidson ad libs and Ragnelli's subtly funky drums provide forward motion. The set's two ballads, "Flecks" and "Progress Bar" are quite gripping. The former has an unexpected, up-tempo coda at the end, while the latter settles into a funky, down-tempo line that slowly gathers steam under French's solo. Anchored by a slippery, mutable ostinato, the trance-like "So As To" almost gets into M-BASE territory, though the quartet's airy sound is quite different from anything Steve Coleman has done in a while.

Track Listing

Verona; Ends; I Don't Know; Flecks; So as To; Smithereen; Adldmbdld; Mince; Progress Bar; But Still and Yet.


David French: tenor saxophone; Michael Davidson: vibraphone; Daniel Fortin: contrabass, electric bass; Fabio Ragnelli: drums.

Album information

Title: Brinks | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Fresh Sound New Talent

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