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Solon McDade: Murals

Anya Wassenberg By

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An inventive sense of composition characterizes Murals by Toronto-based jazz bassist and composer Solon McDade. As a composer, McDade possesses a dramatic sense of structure that is always multi-layered, and constantly shifting in mood and tone.

"He's A Problem In The Locker Room" intertwines tenor and alto sax over a driving drum and busy bass line. It's alternately dissonant and melodic, always rhythmic. The piano dances in, then bass and drums take their turn in an interesting and melodic track. Each musician is allowed to shine without a whiff of self indulgence.

The ensemble McDade has brought together includes Donny Kennedy on alto sax, Jeremiah McDade on tenor sax, Paul Shrofel on piano and Richard Irwin on drums. As a group, they create an expansive kind of energy, something like a big band might sound like in the modern era. "Buy The Tractor" begins with bass and saxophones weaving in and out of each other, with McDade's bass providing one of the main threads in the texture of the piece. Piano and drums throw in a curveball, and the track turns into a groovy, ultra-modern, jazz-lounge tune.

"Do Airplanes Scratch The Sky?" is apparently a contemplative philosophical question. It's a laid back, moody track that tips the hat to the classic jazz of yore with sweeping chord changes and a languid groove. "The Ballad of Sir William Ormerod" is a highlight of the release, beginning with a slow, almost plaintive section that then swells into a full band, dressed up with electronics and a glittering piano line. It slips in and out of several different moods.

"Blues For Sebastian" showcases Solon McDade's playing, with an extended bass solo that begins the piece. Piano and drums follow to add the swing, then the alto and tenor saxophones. "Ali's Second Line" is another highlight, bright and up-tempo, forging ahead with an uptown groove.

There's a nice balance of virtuosity to please the jazz cats, with a sweeping sense of drama and intriguing momentum to the tracks to hook even a casual listener.

Track Listing: He's A Problem In The Locker Room; Buy The Tractor; Do Airplanes Scratch The Sky; Whatever Whatever; The Ballad Of Sir William Ormerod; Off The Bed Rose; Blues For Sebastian; Ali's Seconed Line; A Shorter Thing.

Personnel: Solon McDade: bass; Donny Kennedy: alto saxophone; Jeremiah McDade: tenor saxophone; Paul Shrofel: piano; Rich Irwin: drums.

Title: Murals | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Solon McDade

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