André White

Signal

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A clutch of swinging hard boppers, this group attacks and conquers a play list of eight tunes, mostly originals by leader and drummer André White. White is an established staple on Canada's jazz education and performance scenes. Living in Montréal most of his life, he is an Assistant Professor in Jazz Studies at McGill University. His performing credits are just that, very credible. He's worked with many top jazz artists from both Canada and the U.S., and was a member of progressive jazz guitar player Sonny Greenwich's group Panache. White is also a producer of some renown, having been involved in the development of more than 30 releases. The music on this album is hard bop at its most intense and exciting. The playing runs the gamut from dissonant musical travels on "By Invitation Only" to out and out swinging on "Farnsworth." In between there's soulful romanticism on "Goodbye Glen" and "The Saddest Waltz." "Monderful," a tribute to guitarist Ben Monder by White, is about the closest the CD gets to straight-ahead jazz, featuring (naturally) Monder's swinging, clean-lined guitar. The fine bass player Neil Swainson is allowed considerable solo time on this cut. Leader White is not satisfied to be a complacent, timekeeping member of the rhythm section; he takes an active Elvin Jones-like role in the proceedings, with drum rolls, rim shots, and other percussive devices letting the listener know that he is there. But tenor man Kirk MacDonald, with whom White has recorded before, is the major protagonist on this set. His playing is clearly influenced by the Charlie Parker and the John Coltrane saxophone schools -- he has that biting, intense tone that is the signature of this clan of saxophone players. And it is apparent on both the up-tempo and ballad pieces. Canada continues to be a major source for fine jazz and Cornerstone Records should be applauded for recording the innovative work of this group. Highly recommended.

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