Surefire Sweat, a Toronto-based ensemble, have released their self-titled debut album. Primarily led by first time band-leader Larry Graves, this eight-piece group of musicians present a project which includes eight original works by Graves.
They say on their website “Despite being dominantly instrumental in nature, each of the group’s unique pieces is propelled by a narrative: colourful journeys that emote real time metaphors of the human condition”. Surefire Sweat also includes vocal passages which add to the overall ambience. The arrangements are tailored towards giving a platform for musicians to share their improvisational thoughts and abilities.
The band describe their collection of compositions as influenced by others. For example, Scoffle Strut is centred towards the funky and driven style of guitarist John Scofield. Number Nine, the penultimate track, is a concept based on the Nigerian rhythms of Tony Allen.
A Tale of Two Times features the project’s only composition where vocal lines are included and these provide another warming texture. This piece was composed in the back of a tour van; one could say that the tenor saxophone takes us on a journey through a spell of musical brilliance. Kapeleris’s avant-garde style sound on tenor saxophone is a great addition to the piece’s vibe.
Surefire Sweat characterise themselves as an ensemble that “forges ahead with an old-school music-making approach” in an “age of electronic dance music and digital wizardry”. An album that provides toe-tapping rhythms and powerful melodic lines delivered by a strong horn section, Surefire Sweat is a worthy addition to the world of world beats.
Threshold; For All the Times I Never Came to See You; Sunshine Interference; A Tale of Two Times; RH Factor; On the Phrynge; Number Nine; Scoffle Strut (43.43)
Larry Graves (d, pc, h clap, v); Dave Chan (pc, h clap, h org, v); Liam Smith (elb, Rhodes, v); Paul MacDougall (g, v); Brad Eaton (t); Elena Kapeleris (ts, v); Rob Neal Christian (f); Paul Metcalfe (bar). Canada, 2019.