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Barry Elmes Quintet: Night Flight

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Barry Elmes Quintet: Night Flight
Barry Elmes is a drummer and composer who, over the years, has made notable contributions to the Canadian jazz scene. On the release Night Flight, he pays tribute to several iconic composers such as Charles Mingus, Cedar Walton, Keith Jarrett, Bill Evans and Hank Mobley each of whom had made a deep musical impression on Elmes. He showcases this through his creative voice, using their compositions as the framework.

Joining Elmes for this pianoless release are several first-rate players, namely, Brian O'Kane on trumpet, Chris Gale on tenor saxophone, Lorne Lofsky on guitar and Pat Collins on bass. The group leads with Elmes' original and title track, "Night Flight." Reverberating with echoes of collaboration, the front line of O'Kane and Gale is grounded in a textured exploration of the theme brimming with ideas and energy. The Mingus chart "Opus 3" is from his 1973 release Mingus Moves; it swings along with tireless precision. Filled with shifting instrumental textures, Lofsky, O'Kane, and Gale show a devotion to gregarious grooves which are swift and purposeful.

"Hindsight" by Cedar Walton has been covered by many bands since its first release in 1981. With Elmes' dynamic and expressive drumming setting the pace, the band captures the composition's defining essence, including a nuanced solo from guitarist Lorne Lofsky, whose technical proficiency and melodic sensibility are often under-appreciated. However, it is worth noting that these capabilities were duly recognized early by Oscar Peterson who, in the late '70s, brought Lofsky into his band.

Two of jazz's most revered pianists Keith Jarrett and Bill Evans each composed a piece on this session, respectively "Spiral Dance" and "Turn Out The Stars." The former number is engaged by a unique selection of timbre and texture from Elmes' drumming as the melody is established. In this fertile ground for improvisation, bassist Collins delivers his distinctive approach to the bass with a solo marked by a deep, resonant tone and impeccable technique. Evans' composition was consistently included in his live performances and offered in a reflective and pensive mood. The band adheres to this construct and provides lots of interior room in the chart for the players' improvisations.

The final track, "Funk In Deep Freeze," is by hard bop tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley. It opens with unison playing between O'Kane and Gale as they state the theme in bop attack mode, setting the frame for the following solos; O'Kane, Gale, Lofsky and Collins all deliver lucid solos with a structural perspective which keeps the material at a distance but eventually returns to the frame.

Track Listing

Night Flight; Morning Star; Opus 3; Sandino; Hindsight; Azure Te; Spiral Dance; Turn Out The Stars; Funk In Deep Freeze.

Personnel

Brian O'Kane
trumpet
Chris Gale
saxophone, tenor
Pat Collins
bass, acoustic

Album information

Title: Night Flight | Year Released: 2024 | Record Label: Cornerstone Records Inc.

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