All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Live Reviews

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

611

John Abercrombie / John Menegon / Chet and Jim Doxas: Ottawa, Canada, September 18, 2010

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Menegon, best-known for his work with two now-departed and almost diametrically opposed saxophone greats in the latter parts of their careers—Dewey Redman, and David "Fathead" Newman, whose swan song, The Blessing (HighNote, 2010) came out earlier this year—was, perhaps, the biggest surprise of the evening, if only because of an audience familiar with Abercrombie (for obvious reasons), and with the Montreal-based Doxas brothers, because of their regular Ottawa appearances in a variety of contexts, together and alone. With a robust tone that supported deep, resonant low notes as much as it did lither excursions in the instrument's upper register, Menegon created both a pliant and unshakable foundation, and an equal extemporaneous partner who, as much as anyone else in the quartet, pushed and pulled the music to new and unexpected places.

Jim Doxas, whose most visible gig is with legendary Canadian pianist Oliver Jones, remains something of a hidden Canadian treasure. A drummer as charismatic to watch as he is to hear—so visibly engaged in the music, and as content to create a pulse with nothing more than a spare bass drum as he is with an inherently elastic dexterity and thorough command of every timbral and melodic nuance available from his drums and cymbals. While his various trade-off exchanges with Abercrombie and/or Chet were impressive, and his rare full solos even more so, it was his complete and committed interaction with the group that was his greatest, most definitive strength. Few drummers in Canada (or elsewhere, for that matter), can match Jim's set of ears, or his almost puckish playfulness, a characteristic shared with brother Chet, the two exchanging a lot of knowing smiles throughout the evening. If there's a drummer to whom Doxas can be compared, it's the more well-known Brian Blade. Not that the two share much in terms of personal style, but both approach their instrument beyond purely rhythmic terms; instead, both think on broader, musical terms, and share a common bond of absolute freedom within the confines of compositional form.

A characteristic that, in fact, was in great abundance at Café Paradiso on September 18, 2010. Abercrombie may have been playing with a bad back that was clearly bothering him between sets, but you'd never have known it once he was onstage playing. The fourth night of a five-night run that ended the following evening in Montreal, it was a brand-new quartet, having never played together before its two nights at The Rex in Toronto a couple nights prior. By the time they hit Ottawa, Abercrombie, Menegon, and Chet and Jim Doxas were already well in stride; the good news is that the Montreal gig was recorded for broadcast on CBC Radio, and filmed for a possible DVD release. The empathy and invention shared by this group is simply too good to go undocumented.

Photo Credit

All Photos: John R. Fowler

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Tallinn Music Week 2018 Live Reviews
Tallinn Music Week 2018
by Henning Bolte
Published: April 19, 2018
Read James Blood Ulmer and the Thing at Bochum Art Museum Live Reviews
James Blood Ulmer and the Thing at Bochum Art Museum
by Phillip Woolever
Published: April 17, 2018
Read Jocelyn Medina at Jazz at Kitano Live Reviews
Jocelyn Medina at Jazz at Kitano
by Tyran Grillo
Published: April 16, 2018
Read Marbin at The Firmament Live Reviews
Marbin at The Firmament
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 15, 2018
Read Big Ears Festival 2018 Live Reviews
Big Ears Festival 2018
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 13, 2018
Read Meg Morley Trio at 606 Club Live Reviews
Meg Morley Trio at 606 Club
by Gareth Thomas
Published: April 13, 2018
Read "Vivian Reed at Feinstein's/54 Below" Live Reviews Vivian Reed at Feinstein's/54 Below
by Tyran Grillo
Published: December 12, 2017
Read "Anat Cohen at Davidson College" Live Reviews Anat Cohen at Davidson College
by Perry Tannenbaum
Published: April 27, 2017
Read "Gary Peacock Trio at the Regattabar Jazz Club" Live Reviews Gary Peacock Trio at the Regattabar Jazz Club
by Nat Seelen
Published: December 27, 2017
Read "Stick Men at Havana" Live Reviews Stick Men at Havana
by Geno Thackara
Published: August 25, 2017