harris eisenstadt




**** Canada Day


Although native canadian drummer named this superb quintet canada day because they happened to form on that holiday, it might have been more accurate if he'd chosen a classic blue note title from the 60s for the ensemble. as he told writer clifford allen, the band's a "love letter to the 60s miles quintet filtered through 60s blue note records," and there's no missing the spirit of that label's most adventurous work rippling through the admirably loose themes the drummer has composed here. the bandleader is smart enough to allow the strong personalities of his combo to breathe. in fact, the entire group - trumpeter nate wooley, tenor saxophonist matt bauder, bassist eivind opsvik and the up-and-coming vibist chris dingman - are unapologetic vanguadrists who just happen to have a strong grasp of post-bop fundamentals. On the elegant yet lurching "After and Outdoor Bath," Wooley does an impressive balancing act between his mastery of unpitched, breathy squalls and high-velocity freebop flurries, while on "Ups and Downs" Bauder follows suit with post-Ben Webster plushness and polyphonic tiptoeing. "Every Day is Canada Day" is especially good, with Wooley and bauder braiding their improvised lines as if they shared a brain. across the whole album, dingman shapes elusive chords and shimmering lines that revel in atmospheric ambiguity, coloring and accenting the action without exerting heavy force. Opsvik is the rock, playing elegant lines with precision and warmth, while the drummer clings tightly to the pulse despite lots of acceleration and decceleration.

- peter margasak


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