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Alex Maksymiw: Without A Word

Glenn Astarita By

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Toronto native, guitarist Alex Maksymiw has lent his admirable faculties to ensembles such as the Village Vanguard Orchestra and with reedman Dick Oatts among many other notables. Here, Maksymiw realigns with all-star saxophonist Marcus Strickland for a multifaceted quartet date, brimming with ethereal motifs and many works that merit repeated listens.

Maksymiw is the pacesetter with his understated atmospheric chord voicings and subliminal ostinato grooves shrewdly mixed just enough in the background to provide a liquescent trancelike underpinning via bop, ballads and a cross pollination of assorted jazz vernaculars. He weaves in and out of matters amid a few fiery breakouts. But Maksymiw's resonating notes and colorful portraitures often generate a wide-open forum for Strickland's brazen solo spots atop more than enough pop instilled by the fine rhythm section.

The guitarist launches "Interlude / Fast" with a simple and reflective theme, heightened by Strickland's soul-induced jazz choruses, shaded with drifting qualities and drummer Frank Parker's pulsating beats. Other pieces are engineered with complex post-bop nomenclatures and briskly executed bump and grind jaunts. Whereas, "Patient" could be mistaken for a piece lifted from the ECM Records catalogue, mainly due to Maksymiw's mystical balladry that seemingly treads upon sacred ground.

The program clocks in at LP length —a little under 40- minutes. Of course this isn't a bad thing, especially when many artists regardless of genre feel obligated to max out the data capacity of CDs. Thus, Maksymiw prefers quality over quantity. He's a superb technician with vision and offers us modern jazz advocates a very timely breath of fresh air.

Track Listing: Flatbush & Lincoln; Without A Word; Interlude / Fast; Hand Shifts; Interlude / Slow; the Charmer; Patient; Flatbush & Lincoln / Alt.

Personnel: Alex Maksymiw: guitar; Marcus Strickland: tenor saxophone; Scott Kemp: bass; Frank Parker: drums.

Title: Without A Word | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Challenge Records

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