"Don't look back, something may be gaining on you." So said Satchel Paige, former MLB pitcher and social sage. Pianist Bernie Senensky probably did not have that quotation in mind when choosing Don't Look Back as the title of his album. He may have been more wistful as he checked the date of the recording (December 1989) and that all the participants were still here, including that marvel of longevity, trumpeter Sam Noto, who in January 2022 is 92 years old. In any event, it is a welcomed resurrection of many well known names who were important and active on the jazz scene in Toronto, Canada circa 1989. In addition to those previously mentioned, the roll call includes alto saxophonist Bob Mover, bassist Neil Swainson and drummer Barry Elmes.
The session opens with the Senensky original and title track. The band takes the number at full throttle with layers of rhythmic and tonal harmony. While each player cascades and swirls throughout their interjections, they understand that they are engaging with the other musicians to build a shared artistic experience. The first of the American Songbook standards is "I Hear A Rhapsody"and it is a quartet offering. Mover plays in a sparing manner with control and subtle dynamics. Senensky has an emphatic touch. As the number closes, there are some lively exchanges between Swainson and Elmes.
It is evident that this group of versatile musicians understands the need to develop their ideas organically during the excursions they undertake while running through the charts, whether it be "Floating" or the Mover original "May In June" or Hank Mobley's bop burner "The Latest." The final track is the George Gershwin standard "Who Cares." In this quartet up-tempo version, Mover is in straight ahead Charlie Parker attack mode, with Senensky showing aggressive expressivity. Both Swainson and Elmes demonstrate rhythmic solidarity in propelling the number forward.
Don't Look Back; I Hear A Rhapsody; Floating; Together; May In June; The Mover; Jump For Joe;
The Latest; Danse Encore; One Is Enough; Who Cares.