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Various: Sax Summit

Jerry D'Souza By

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When the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) recorded a concert at their Glenn Gould studio earlier this year, it was to become an historical fact. This was the first jazz album that they released and a welcome precursor of their leap into jazz.

The concert featured some of Canada’s best saxophone players. Each has carved a niche as an innovative and creative musician, and with a rhythm section that fits in with the comfort of a warm glove, the music works like a charm. Credit can not be denied Dwyer, who wrote the charts. He gives players room to breathe and manoeuvre, and the ensemble sections are tight knit. He also wrote the only original song on the program, “Appearing Nightly”, a bouncing happy tune on which he swings strongly, complemented by a smooth Rieu before they spar and jab a tad and expand the perimeter.

Swing characterizes other tracks as well. “Blues Up and Down” is incendiary with Murley and Dwyer providing the hottest moments. Rieu is again the tempered man of steel bringing in a balance that boosts the progression. The blues are etched deep on “Work Song”, the emotion ripe and bursting with feel, Ryga cutting edge and feeding the pulse laid down by Clarke.

Of the ballads, Ellington’s “Warm Valley” sees Perry get in to the métier of the melody with a controlled passion, the line taken up in the same rich vein by White. The fluency of Eisenman, steeped in melodic goodness, the groove textured with slight twists in the line by Ryga and Perry, make “Emily/Wendy” a perfect pair. Here’s looking for more from the CBC!

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