Summer-Fall, 2004

CD REVIEW: Planet Jazz Magazine

by Neil Henden

Let's face it: jazz is suffering economically and is probably not the wisest career choice for a young person these days. However, talented young people in their twenties continue to emerge from cities outside the center of jazz activity in New York to create intriguing music. Cities like Toronto, for example, produce exciting new players like pianist and composer David Braid. Braid has recently released an excellent CD, recorded live at The Top 'O the Senator in Toronto in 2003.

Braid's sextet is essentially an all-star team of Canadian jazz musicians that includes drummer Terry Clarke, a veteran of groups led by legendary guitarist Jim Hall; bass player Steve Wallace, an Oscar Peterson alumnus; saxophonist Mike Murley, a current member of the neo-fusion band Metalwood; trombonist Gene Smith and flugelhornist John MacLeod. The group possesses a fat, punchy, highly structured sound that suggests a big band. Althoough very dynamic, it retains an underlying feeling of relaxed confidence and easy swing. It also boasts several excellent improvisers, but Murley and MacLeod particularly stand out without their combination of passionate lyricism and controlled aggression.

Vivid's greatest strength comes from Braid's compositional abilities. He covers an impressive range of mood and style, from the laid-back blues of "Mister Wallace" to the carefully textured ballad "Seraphim," to "What is This" and "The Call," compositions that seem to be inspired by artists like Thelonious Monk and Wayne Shorter.

I like this recording very much and I'm looking forward to the future when Braid produces more challenging, bold and forward-thinking music.

- Neil Henden