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Solon McDade: Murals

Dan McClenaghan By

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This all started with the washtub bass for Solon McDade, slipping into the switch to the more refined upright bass, and years of performance with the McDade Family Band, Canada's contribution to roots music. His career branched out and resulted in his playing bass on several recordings that won the coveted Juno Award, perhaps most notably with the Suzie Arioli Swing Band and The McDades.

But roots music isn't his only game. Murals finds the composer/bassist embracing mainstream jazz with a sharp sounding quintet that features a two saxophone frontline and polished rhythm section. The set of McDade originals opens with "He's A Problem In The Locker Room," inspired by the hockey player PK Subban—who is said to have been one of those problems. The tune, though, is problem-less, a smooth flowing cooker that features a compelling and spirited two sax conversation. The tune opens with a bright fanfare and slips into darker terrain—maybe there's some contention arising from the "problems" there—partially resolved when pianist Paul Shrofel steps in for a spare-but-succinct turn.

"Buy The Tractor" (maybe the McDade Family—the family unit, not the band—was involved in farming) opens with an eerie interlude on bass and wandering reeds. "Do Airplanes Scratch The Sky" includes some fiery and impassioned saxophone sounds, and "Whatever Whatever" swings fast and hard.

The set closes with "A Shorter Thing," saxophones sitting out until three and a half minutes in, and the leader taking the opportunity to strut his formidable take-a-bass-solo stuff in a temporary piano-trio format, before the emergence of the horns that gives off the vibe of tunes from saxophonist/composer Wayne Shorter, from the Miles Davis album Nefertiti (Columbia Records, 1967), to close out this highly-engaging jazz outing.

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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