February 12, 2004

CD REVIEW: Contemporary Jazz Thrills

By Geoff Chapman, The Toronto Star

The David Braid Sextet Live (Indie), recorded at The Senator a year ago, will assuredly be on 2004's best-of jazz lists.

The pianist-leader, already a major force in these parts, composed the eight tunes culled from the club session and they illuminate a prodigious writing talent as well as a talent for arranging.

His in-demand band is a hot one, with saxist Mike Murley, trumpeter John MacLeod, trombonist Gene Smith, bass Steve Wallace and drummer Terry Clarke buoyant and bristling through more than 70 minutes of thrilling, utterly contemporary music.

The players show tremendous verve on the opening "Reverence," Murley's tenor in full, surging flood over a pumped rhythm pulse and it's followed by spectacular flugelhorn work by MacLeod on "Seraphim" and a strong outing by the bassist on "Mr. Wallace" with lush riffs and booting trombone.

The high standards, with energy and tempos ebbing and flowing and dynamic shadings paramount, are maintained through the turbulent start and subsequent ecstasies of "The Golden Years" and continue to the closing "What Is This?" - almost 15 minutes of blazing improvisation.

The record is officially released next week when the sextet performs at The Senator, Tuesday through Feb. 22. To reserve: 416-364-7517.