Ryan Mackstaller proves two things on Nice Day For A Swim : he has sound technique, and he can write a pretty good tune. The guitarist spins lines that fall nice and easy, with some octave runs adding bonus points to his ruminations. The mood here is largely mellow and laid back. He does open up a bit with the comparatively upbeat “So What”, and the Latin bounce of “No Bailamos” provides a balmy comfort. The latter is catchy and Mackstaller spins delightful circles of melodic improvisation.
On almost all the tracks, the drums are recorded upfront and vie with the guitar, a trait that proves distracting. The extended “So You’re Leaving” proves a welcome exception. The arrangement leaves room and scope for Kolton to have his say, digging in with passion in to the old world charm of the melody while Mackstaller expands his vocabulary, bending and stretching notes. The one non-original track is Dave Douglas’s “Sam Hill”, perfect room for Mackstaller to probe and then invent his own intricacies.
The first record I bought was Miles Smiles. Having been a drummer since age two, hearing a young Tony Williams opened up so many possibilities for a 14 year old church drummer. My life changed that day and I've never looked back!