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PJ Perry: No Hugs

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PJ Perry: No Hugs
PJ Perry is a survivor. Now, in 2022, eighty-one years old, he has been playing saxophone since he was fourteen, when he joined his father's dance band as a baritone saxophonist. During the course of his lengthy career, he has lived in Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto and a couple of European cities, before settling in Edmonton, Alberta. As a technically accomplished and eloquent alto saxophonist, he has played with the likes of Rob McConnell's Boss Brass, Dizzy Gillespie, Slide Hampton and Woody Shaw where he epitomized the best of the bop style along the lines of Phil Woods.

Over the course of the pandemic lockdown, Perry and the Toronto bassist Neil Swainson worked separately and remotely to craft the eight charts which are presented on No Hugs. Joining Perry on this session were several longtime colleagues including trumpeter Bob Tildesley, pianist Chris Andrew and a couple of Montreal transplants, bassist Paul Johnston and drummer Dave Laing.

The first track, "Too Soon Gone," opens with some brisk unison playing between Perry and Tildesley. Perry then settles in with a long solo filled with of ideas. Tildesley picks up the line on muted trumpet and the number swings along at full tilt. FinallyAndrew shows his authoritative touch through a bristling single note interjection before the number closes out. On the following cut "Agoraphobia" the band is joined by trombonist Brad Shigata, although he is not given much to do except add some depth to the unison playing by the front line on the opening theme.

The title track opens with a thoughful piano intro from Andrew and is the perfect prelude to the balance of the number. Perry is in an introspective frame of mind which is picked up by both Tildesley and Andrew. The ballad arrangement by Perry and Swainson is filled with grace and simplicity. As the disc spins out with the remaining tracks, it is evident that the players have found a sense of belonging, grounded in shared musical values.

Track Listing

Too Soon Gone; Agoraphobia; So Long; March Of The Covidians; No Hugs; The Kestrel; Scaredy Cat; Gring's Dilemma.

Personnel

Album information

Title: No Hugs | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: Cellar Music Group


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