Family figures squarely into The Circle
. For tenor saxophonist Chet Doxas
and drummer Jim Doxas
, brotherhood is both a literal and figurative tie. These siblings have been playing music together in various configurations from their earliest days, so their bonds truly extend from blood to bandstand. And with their father manning the board for this quartet session recorded at the family homestead in Pointe Claire, QC, it's all Doxases on deck.
This album's title references the crescent at the front of the house where these sessions took place. Walks around "the circle," as it came to be known long ago, offered comfort and counsel to the Doxas brothers during their formative years and beyond, so it's no surprise that they return to this spacein real and imagined termsto find a hospitable zone within which to create and explore. In concept, image and name, this entire project is a testament to the inextricable nature of family and music.
Joining forces with pianist Marc Copland
, whose powers of inventions help to frame and color these performances, and bassist Adrian Vedady
, a rhythmic buoy and harmonically-adept linchpin, the Doxas brothers delve deep into the music. The straight-time sway of opener "Uno a la Vez," while giving off a marked sense of development and offering occasional feelings of longing, belies the sophistication at play here. So too does "Temporal," providing variable heat; "Old Sport," supported by a spirited swing; and "A Word From The Wise," an easy-time affair with carefree charms.
Whether probing the recesses of a song's implications, leaning on pathos, offering a singsong line with a touch of humor, diving headfirst into danger or playing straight from the heart, these men find a way to connect on a purely human level with their music. That's made clear on the slate of eight originals up front, but also on the lone standard which closes out the program. Putting Gordon Jenkins
' "Goodbye" in its proper place and leveraging its sentiments and structural gifts, this band leaves the room with as much integrity and class as it entered with. There's a reason that Chet and Jim Doxas have developed such a sterling reputation within and beyond the confines of Canada. One need only hear The Circle
Uno A La Vez; Temporal; Fourteen Daughters; Old Sport; A Word From The Wise;
Objets Nécessaires; Joan's Song; Another Soap Box; Goodbye.