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Various: Jazz to the Max

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P>With this sampler, Maximum Jazz label brings to the public's attention works of young, new Canadian jazz artists. This compilation not only introduces the players, but reflects the tasty smorgasbord of jazz available on the label. Mike Allen's tenor rendering of "Love Walked In" from his album Change Is definitely achieves the purpose of encouraging listeners to purchase the album. He gets a full, strong sound from the horn when he plays the melody straight and as he improvises. This cut also highlights the contributions of Allen's two playing mates Darren Radtke on bass and Dave Robbins on drums. In contrast to the bop work by Allen comes keyboardist Chris Gestrin's exotic Peace Eleven from Times That Do Not Belong to Us. Recalling the Miles Davis work of the 1960's on Seven Steps to Heaven and Miles Smiles, Gestrin and his young cohorts create some truly unique aural treats. They create a musical hypnotic trance with repetitious percussive beats supporting an array of musical sounds from the keyboards, bells and other assorted instruments of an Eastern derviation. There's more contrast highlighting the catholicity of Maximum Jazz's stable of artists with a ruminative, introspective, haunting "Waiting for" April showing another side of Chris Gestrin as he sets aside the electronic whiz band keyboards for the piano. Swinging, jagged bop rhythms come into play with Brad Turner's trumpet leading the way on "Calling Miss Khadija". And so it goes with nine tracks of exciting music from players who clearly are taking advantage of the platform provided by the label to display their wares. More indies should take the same tack by issuing samplers offering a menu of what they have to offer in order to whet the appetites of potential purchasers. The label's Internet address is www.maximumjazz.com.

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