Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

2

Al Muirhead: Northern Adventures

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
When you've been a musician as long as Al Muirhead has, you not only earn many friends in the business, you also recognize who among them can play. For Northern Adventures, Muirhead's second album as leader of his own group, the eighty-one-year-old Canadian trumpeter assembled a who's who of the finest musicians his country has to offer and let them have a go, jam-session style. The result is an album whose fun quotient almost eclipses its virtuosity. "Our only plan," Muirhead writes in the liner notes, "was to go into the studio and have a great time doing what we do best: play!"

A dozen musicians take part in the enterprise, with Muirhead the only one clocking in on every track. He plays trumpet on five numbers, bass trumpet (shades of Cy Touff) on six, flugelhorn on Antonio Carlos Jobim's "How Insensitive." Group sizes vary (usually four or five), with Muirhead escorted along the way by such Canadian standouts as flugel Guido Basso, saxophonists Mike Murley and Campbell Ryga, guitarist Reg Schwager and pianists Tommy Banks and Don Thompson (who doubles on bass on "Softly as in a Morning Sunrise"). Kodi Hutchinson plays bass on three numbers, Chris Andrew (piano) and Mike Rud (guitar) sit in on two apiece, and Ben Wittman is the percussionist on Cole Porter's "Night and Day" (the first of two vocals by Laila Biali who also plays piano on that track). Everyone carries out his assignments so well that the absence of a drummer is barely noticed.

Muirhead, who came of age listening to the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis and Clifford Brown, straddles the fence between bop and trad, calling to mind past masters Ruby Braff and Warren Vache, among others, on such warhorses as, for example, "Come Rain or Come Shine" or "They Can't Take That Away from Me." Elsewhere, the vibe is rather more modern, as on "Morning Sunrise" and the sunny opener, "Love Me or Leave Me." Basso ("They Can't Take That Away," "Emily," "You'll Never Know"), another near-octogenarian (and Boss Brass veteran), is always a pleasure to hear, as are Thompson, Schwager and the dynamic saxophone duo, Murley and Ryga. If there's a weak link in the chain it's Biali, but as everyone else is so splendid we'll let that pass and profess that Muirhead's Northern Adventures (according to the album's jacket, Volume 1 with, presumably, more to come) are well worth seeking out and sharing.

Track Listing: Love Me or Leave Me; They Can’t Take That Away from Me; Night & Day; I’ve Never Been in Love Before; Come Rain or Come Shine; Emily; Softly as in a Morning Sunrise; The Nearness of You; How Insensitive; You’ll Never Know; All the Things You Are; Nice Work If You Can Get it.

Personnel: Al Muirhead: trumpet (2, 3, 5-7), bass trumpet (1, 4, 8, 10-12), flugelhorn (9); Guido Basso: flugelhorn (2, 6, 10); Campbell Ryga: soprano sax (5), alto sax (11); Mike Murley: tenor sax (4, 9); Reg Schwager: guitar (1, 7, 12); Mike Rud: guitar (5, 11); Tommy Banks: piano (2, 6, 10); Don Thompson: piano (1, 12), bass (7); Kodi Hutchinson: bass (1, 3, 8); Laila Biali: vocals (3, 8), piano (3); Ben Wittman: percussion (3).

Title: Northern Adventures | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Chronograph Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Undertones

Undertones

Chronograph Records
2018

buy
It's About Time

It's About Time

Chronograph Records
2018

buy
Northern Adventures

Northern Adventures

Chronograph Records
2017

buy
Top!

Top!

Chronograph Records
2016

buy

Related Articles

Read Live At Moods CD/LP/Track Review
Live At Moods
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 16, 2018
Read Everything's OK CD/LP/Track Review
Everything's OK
by Doug Collette
Published: December 16, 2018
Read Making Bones, Taking Draughts, Bearing Unstable Millstones Pridefully, Idiotically, Prosaically CD/LP/Track Review
Making Bones, Taking Draughts, Bearing Unstable Millstones...
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 16, 2018
Read Legacy CD/LP/Track Review
Legacy
by Doug Collette
Published: December 16, 2018
Read Other Life Forms CD/LP/Track Review
Other Life Forms
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 16, 2018
Read Runner in the Rain CD/LP/Track Review
Runner in the Rain
by Troy Dostert
Published: December 15, 2018
Read "Oporo" CD/LP/Track Review Oporo
by James Fleming
Published: November 20, 2018
Read "Blue Fantasia" CD/LP/Track Review Blue Fantasia
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 25, 2017
Read "Sheroes" CD/LP/Track Review Sheroes
by Jim Worsley
Published: July 6, 2018
Read "Flaneur" CD/LP/Track Review Flaneur
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: January 16, 2018
Read "Sparse" CD/LP/Track Review Sparse
by Don Phipps
Published: January 12, 2018
Read "Reaching Out" CD/LP/Track Review Reaching Out
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 18, 2018