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In the recent months I've enjoyed a few recordings from Canada's thriving jazz scene: Francois Marcaurelle's Opus No. 6 - Mode d'emploi and the Francois Bourassa Quartet Indefinite Time. So it comes as no surprise with the latest release by drummer Sandro Dominelli that more talent is revealed from north of the border. Dominelli's extensive academic background has been solidified by performances in varied settings and bands in Canada and the US, and the very palatable Meet Me in the Alley is a fine introduction to an artist with sound drumming and leadership savvy.
As far as jazz drummers go, Dominelli is a solid technician who proves his rhythm and soloing abilitiesyet the real focus is on his band, which has recorded together over time. These guys gel nicely and it shows. Particular notice goes to the core members: Chris Andrew, who impresses on either acoustic piano or electronic keyboards, and bassist Mike Lent, with whom Dominelli has recorded with in past trio settings.
The mood is a mix of mainstream and contemporary, and it's quite accessible, with different variations like the heavy swing action on the opening selection and the hip B3 organ-like groove on Quiet, which includes nifty piano work and closes with a heated drum and bass solo exchange. There's also some fine horn play on the title piece as Bob Tildesley's flugelhorn provides the afterglow to the breezy melody. On the hard bop grinder "What, saxophonist Dino Dominelli takes center stage with Coltranean antics, that opens up to Sandro delivering an intense drum solo that culminates with electronic delay effects which express classic and current jazz idioms.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.