It is no secret that Canada is the home of some of the finest jazz musicins in the world and Toronto-based saxophonist Kirk MacDonald, a long-time active educator, is one of those established stars and veteran of the Canadian jazz scene. He has appeared on over fifty albums as both a sideman and leader and Symmetry, his eleventh album as leader, which had been previously unveiled in Canada only, is now available in the U.S. and internationally for audiences everywhere to savor.
After leading the Kirk MacDonald Jazz Orchestra in recording two big band albums, the saxophonist returns to a quintet format for this date convening an A-list cast of players all leaders in their own right. Trumpet master Tom Harrell shares the front line supported by MacDonald's long-time friend and band mate, pianist Brian Dickinson with renowned bassist Neil Swainson and drummer extraordinaire Dennis Mackrel rounding out a superb rhythm section.
Offering ten exciting and clever compositions, the music on this album is designed to please everyone from the casual listener to the avid aficionado. The title track starts the program with the saxophonist, trumpeter and pianist delivering standout phrases in an arrangement that presents the balance and harmonies the leader sets out to produce birthed in the concept of "symmetry." There are no fillers on this recording as every track can be considered a "keeper" worthy of repeated spins.
The tunes "Eleven," "Common Ground," and "Mackrel's Groove," follows the opening statement with each presenting engaging and propulsive statements of their own. As the title of the piece implies, "Brazil Like" provides a delicious taste of the Brazilian flair with the pianist and saxophonist marking the tune with solid solos. Other notable tracks include "Greenwich Time" and "Contemplation" with the finale "Bop Zone," closing out the session in sizzling boppish fashion marked by several torrid solo moments from the leader.
Boasting a superb cast of players and a selection of sensational tunes, Kirk MacDonald's Symmetry captures an arrangement of harmonies and grooves that make albums like this, a pleasure to hear often.
Track Listing: Symmetry; Eleven; Common Ground; Mackrel’s Groove; Shadows; Brazil Like; Labyrinth; Greenwich Time; Contemplation; Bop Zone.
Personnel: Kirk MacDonald: leader, composer, arranger, tenor saxophone; Tom Harrell: trumpet, flugelhorn; Brian Dickinson: piano; Neil Swainson: bass; Dennis Mackrel: drums.
Rhythm Abstraction: Azure is the first volume of new compositions created as a follow up to 2018’s
release Rhythm Kaleidoscope. As with that release, Brock Avery improvised drum and percussion
solos. Frank Macchia then composed music for woodwinds and orchestra to Brock’s creations. Azure
is the first of three extended play albums of 6-7 compositions which will be released starting in
January and followed up in April and July. In Azure we have a created a group of pieces that continue
our quest for honoring the art of improvisation with a “stream-of-consciousness” sense of
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