350

David Braid Sextet: Zhen: David Braid Sextet Live Volume II

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
In the two years since Vivid: The David Braid Sextet Live, the pianist has been involved in an increasing number of projects. This year has been particularly busy, with the release of the Murley/Braid Quartet's Mnemosyne's March (Cornerstone, 2006) and Beginnings (Nimmons 'n' Music, 2006), a spontaneous series of improvisations with Canadian clarinet legend Phil Nimmons. But it's Braid's sextet that manages to pull out all the stops in terms of energy and excitement, making Zhen: David Braid Sextet Live Volume II a terrific way to finish out the year.

Recorded at the same Toronto, Canada venue as Vivid, Zhen also sports a consistent lineup. While everyone in this five-year-old group is extremely busy—especially saxophonist Mike Murley and drummer Terry Clarke—the appeal of Braid's intelligent and increasingly compelling writing clearly makes the sextet a priority.

"Fishers of Men begins the set with an in-the-gut solo from bassist Steve Wallace, an auspicious intro to Braid's brand of blues. While the piece adheres to the form, it's reharmonized enough to make it more than simply a solo vehicle. That said, everyone gets the chance to burn on this seven-song set of mostly Braid originals. Throughout, the front-line horns are propelled by a rhythm section so powerful that one can only hope for a trio record from Braid, Wallace and Clarke at some point.

The complex and evocative "Temptress, understated "Andalusia and metrically mercurial "Sai Kung reflect Braid's growing interest in things Middle Eastern and Oriental. More inherently orchestral than bassist Dave Holland's flagship quintet, Braid's group nevertheless demonstrates a similarity in his ability to write knotty tunes that only reveal their idiosyncrasies on closer inspection. Braid's writing, which is never self-conscious, continues to refine itself, feeling more natural with each outing.

If Vivid was most notable for Braid the writer, Zhen finds his strength as an improvising pianist catching up. While the majority of the set is firmly entrenched in the mainstream, there are glimpses of more open-ended free play that are also indicative of the sextet's members' growing confidence in functioning with less of a safety net.

A radically reharmonized look at John Coltrane's classic "Giant Steps is further evidence of Braid's sophistication. Despite the familiar melody, Braid's reductionist approach to the changes turns this performance from mere interpretation into virtually a new composition, also featuring one of Braid's most potent solos of the set.

Braid has accomplished much for someone still in the early stages of a career. He has been evolving so quickly that he doesn't just need to be watched—he needs to be watched closely.


Track Listing: Fishers of Men; Lydian Sky; Temptress; Dance of the Zinfadels; Andalusia; Sai Kung; Giant Steps.

Personnel: David Braid: piano; Gene Smith: trombone; John McLeod: flugelhorn, cornet; Mike Murley: tenor and soprano saxophones; Steve Wallace: bass; Terry Clarke: drums.

Title: Zhen: David Braid Sextet Live Volume II | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: David Braid


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Slægt CD/LP/Track Review Slægt
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 24, 2017
Read An Eye on the Future CD/LP/Track Review An Eye on the Future
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 24, 2017
Read Cherry ‎– Sakura CD/LP/Track Review Cherry ‎– Sakura
by John Sharpe
Published: September 24, 2017
Read Blow, Strike & Touch CD/LP/Track Review Blow, Strike & Touch
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 24, 2017
Read Elusive CD/LP/Track Review Elusive
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 23, 2017
Read Transitions CD/LP/Track Review Transitions
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: September 23, 2017
Read "Yellow Red Blue" CD/LP/Track Review Yellow Red Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 2, 2016
Read "In Layers" CD/LP/Track Review In Layers
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 13, 2017
Read "Music Box Music" CD/LP/Track Review Music Box Music
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 8, 2017
Read "Known-Unknown" CD/LP/Track Review Known-Unknown
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: January 22, 2017
Read "Life and Other Transient Storms" CD/LP/Track Review Life and Other Transient Storms
by John Sharpe
Published: November 21, 2016
Read "Prototype" CD/LP/Track Review Prototype
by Jeff Winbush
Published: April 13, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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