sees Australian guitarist/composer Quentin Bryan Angus
following up his two critically acclaimed outings, Retrieval Structure
(Self Produced, 2012) and Perception
(Self Produced, 2014) in a stripped back trio-setting, featuring Ari Hoenig
(dr) and Sam Anning
(b). Not only does Angus cut back on the instrumentation when compared to his previous efforts, but the youthful urgency, which left a mark on the quintet outings, seems to have evolved into a more mature energy as well, making for a more laid-back adventure comprised of half Angus originals and four covers, such as the 90s ballads "Iris"(Goo Goo Dolls) and the Oasis classic "Wonderwall."
There's no doubt this trio shares an incredibly tight chemistry. Embedded in a warm production, Angus's Lines are sprinkled across the speakers with a fluidity that adequately fits the arrangements and highlights his singular phraseology. Hoenig keeps a tight rhythmic foundation, which never strays too far from the main beat but adds just the right amount of syncopation. The unusually sparse employment of cymbal hits adds to the feeling of solidity in rhythmic base. In interplay with highly melodic bass-lines that guide the main thematic torrents, this trio presents itself dynamic and pleasant in sound and color.
In addition to the wonderful soundscape, Angus delivers refined compositions that burst with melody. The eponymous "In Stride" and "One For Bernie" are among the highlights of the album and display the best qualities of the three players. Not for one moment do the compositions stray too far from the main melodic thought. "In Stride" demonstrates how Angus combines a simple melodic line with a short and poignant harmonic progression and subsequently flourishes and extends the harmony with enticing improvisations. An obligatory ostinato gives Hoenig the spotlight for some energetic drum fills.
While some of the covers on "In Stride" start off with promising energy, it is the two above mentioned pop-covers that are obsolete in this collection of songs and disrupt the experience. On "Iris" nothing really happens with the composition. The main melody (which is indeed a pretty one), is repeated over and over by the guitar until a slightly more punchy middle-eight creates some momentum only to lead back to the melody shortly after. "Wonderwall" finds Angus strumming that one and only chord in that one and only pattern, introducing the song faithful to the original recording. Sam Anning handles the melodic duties during the verses while Angus takes over with a more driven punch on the chorus. Not that these tunes aren't worth covering anymorefor they are special compositions worth altering and experimenting withbut these renditions bring nothing new to the table.
The opening Montgomery original "Jingles" and the rendition of Charlie Parker
's "Segment" on the other hand demonstrate adequately why much critical praise surrounds Angus' output and especially his minimalistic and enchanting phraseology, which is responsible for a such easy yet blissful listen.
Apart from the two somewhat questionable choices of covers mentioned above, In Stride
finds an already well established master of his craft successfully stripping down his approach into more intimate spheres and giving the traditional guitar trio a modern twist.