On his fourth album for Cellar Music, western Canada-based tenor saxophonist Steve Kaldestad plays "Con Alma." He also plays con almain English, "with soul"not only on Dizzy Gillespie's paean to human life's animating principle but throughout a more than hour-long concert at Frankie's Jazz Club in Vancouver, wherein he leads an exemplary quartet whose members are among the most accomplished jazz musicians in that lovely British Columbia province and beyond.
Kaldestad's partners in the onstage enterprise are pianist Chris Gestrin, bassist Conrad Good and drummer Jesse Cahill, each of whom more than pulls his weight. Kaldestad appreciates that, and takes full advantage of the wide comfort zone they provide. His phrasing is sure, his creative power strong, his solos models of invention and dexterity. That is no less true of his teammates who not only comp with sagacity and stamina but add unfaltering solo voices whenever Kaldestad pauses to catch his breath and prepare for the next sortie.
As if that weren't enough to please almost any audience, the quartet's choice of material is impeccable, ranging from the aforementioned "Con Alma" to masterworks by Harold Mabern ("A Few Miles from Memphis"), Horace Silver ("Barbara"), Tadd Dameron ("If You Could See Me Now") and Cedar Walton ("Bolivia") to Bronislau Kaper's film classic "Invitation" and a pair of dynamic originals by Kaldestad ("Equestrian Prelude," "Garden Hand Blues").
The audience at Frankie's must have been spellbound, as nary a sound can be heard save following some solos and at the close of each number, when enthusiastic applause expresses its unreserved approval. While that audience was indeed fortunate, the sound quality on Live at Frankie's is so clean that it's the next best thing to actually being there. A well-drawn and solidly impressive concert performance.
A Few Miles from Memphis; Barbara; Equestrian Interlude; Con Alma; If You Could See Me
Now; Invitation; Garden Hand Blues; Bolivia.