5

Andrew Downing: Otterville

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
Andrew Downing: Otterville Canada's Downing clan hails from the Ontario tobacco belt town, Otterville. Andrew Downing—bassist/cellist/composer—home-ported in Toronto now, celebrates the familial stomping grounds with a two CD set laid down by a sextet, plus guests, of an unusual instrumentation. It's an immersion into the simplicity and tranquility of the out-of-the-way, small town experience.

Each of the tunes takes the baton from one of the great American tune-smith's—Gershwin, Mercer, Dizzy Gillespie, Jerome Kern, and more—by borrowing bits from classic songs and re-imagining them, painting them in soft pastels, in superb arrangements that blur the instrumental tones into a dream-like luminescent whole. Central to the sound is Christine Bougie's lap steel guitar, with its soft metallic twang and endless sustain. Combine this with Michael Davidson's incandescent vibraphone, Downing's warm cello lines, and Tara Davidson's restrained, serve-the-music-to-perfection alto sax inside the subtle rhythm of Paul Matthew's bass guitar and Nick Frazier's drums, and the covert undertones of guests Rebecca Hennessy's trumpet and William Carn's, and you have a alluring listening experience.

All compositions are from Downing's pen, with the exceptions of "Family Portrait," written by saxophonist Davidson; and Duke Ellington's "Take The 'A' Train." Downing has fine-focused an original vision, a sound that draws from the country/folk genre, the chamber jazz moods of The Modern Jazz Quartet, the nostalgia of Bill Frisell's Americana, Daniel Lanois' atmospherics, tinted, perhaps, with classical stylings.

One of the joys of jazz appreciation is the discovery of talented and distinctive "underground" artists who haven't established big, New York-based profiles, fronting fine-tuned ensembles that create compelling musical worlds, like Andrew Downing and his Otterville.

Track Listing: CD 1: This Year's Fancies; Head Start; All Alone On the Mountain; I'm No Good Without You; Numbers You Know; A Pair Of Eyes; Family Portrait; Rhyme. CD 2: Fall In Line; Parade; Mooning About; Take The 'A' Train; Observatory; Wish; Leaving Me With A Memory.

Personnel: Andrew Downing: cello; Tara Davidson: alto saxophone; Christine Bougie: lap steel guitar; Michael Davidson: vibraphone; Paul Matthew: bass guitar; Nick Fraser: drums. With: Rebecca Hennessy: trumpet; William Carn: trombone.

Title: Otterville | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Self Produced


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Developing Story CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Lantern CD/LP/Track Review Lantern
by John Kelman
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall) CD/LP/Track Review Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)
by Phil Barnes
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Unification CD/LP/Track Review Unification
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Crossing CD/LP/Track Review Crossing
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Unit[e] CD/LP/Track Review Unit[e]
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 25, 2017
Read "Moving Still" CD/LP/Track Review Moving Still
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 12, 2016
Read "Black Art Jazz Collective - Presented By The Side Door Jazz Club" CD/LP/Track Review Black Art Jazz Collective - Presented By The Side Door Jazz...
by Budd Kopman
Published: August 28, 2016
Read "Upbeat And Sweet" CD/LP/Track Review Upbeat And Sweet
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 13, 2017
Read "Dreaming With Eyes Wide Awake" CD/LP/Track Review Dreaming With Eyes Wide Awake
by Roger Farbey
Published: December 5, 2016
Read "Transparent Water" CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Roger Farbey
Published: December 29, 2016
Read "Escape  from The Unhappy Society" CD/LP/Track Review Escape from The Unhappy Society
by Anthony Shaw
Published: February 1, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.