5

Andrew Downing: Otterville

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
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 A Night Walking Through Mirrors CD/LP/Track Review A Night Walking Through Mirrors
by Barry Witherden
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Jondo CD/LP/Track Review Jondo
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Jazz Flute Traditions CD/LP/Track Review Jazz Flute Traditions
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Nerve Dance CD/LP/Track Review Nerve Dance
by John Sharpe
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Déjà Vu CD/LP/Track Review Déjà Vu
by Troy Dostert
Published: September 20, 2017
Read Woody Guthrie - The Tribute Concerts CD/LP/Track Review Woody Guthrie - The Tribute Concerts
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 20, 2017
Read "BACHanalia" CD/LP/Track Review BACHanalia
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 24, 2017
Read "Ida Y Vuelta" CD/LP/Track Review Ida Y Vuelta
by James Nadal
Published: December 30, 2016
Read "Disappeared Behind the Sun" CD/LP/Track Review Disappeared Behind the Sun
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 29, 2017
Read "The Book of Transfigurations" CD/LP/Track Review The Book of Transfigurations
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: May 8, 2017
Read "Obnoxius" CD/LP/Track Review Obnoxius
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: November 20, 2016
Read "Books On Tape, Vol. 2 - Standard Edition" CD/LP/Track Review Books On Tape, Vol. 2 - Standard Edition
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 17, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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