Carn Davidson 9: The History Of Us

Canadian group inevitably - at this point in jazz history - draws on jazz past but pretty much avoids stating the obvious

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This Canadian group, perhaps in line with how many people are viewing the fraught era we’re living through, offers music that’s contemplative and reflective, yet not meditative. Each composition is given a measured treatment of an order that doesn’t necessarily provoke the listener into wishing for the ensemble to cut loose, and the arrangements are free of clichés.

The opening Finding Home Suite comes in three parts, and the work of the soloist in each part – trumpeter Kevin Turcotte, a slightly rambunctious William Carn on trombone and Shirantha Beddage on baritone sax – keeps within the overall contours of the music. In every case the obvious is avoided, no mean feat given the historical weight of the music still known as jazz, while at the same time echoes of a number of precedents can be heard, albeit distantly.

There’s nothing inherently wrong in this. In a number of ways, and for a number of reasons, it was a lot easier to be original half a century ago and beyond, and it sometimes feels as though the crowded jazz marketplace of today, if indeed such a term can be realistically used, has long since passed the point where it started feeding upon itself, at least for this writer.

In view of this, in titular terms anyway, Goodbye Old Friend might well address an era now passed. As it is, this brief, wholly composed piece has about it an elegiac air which again resonates in terms of where this world appears to be heading.

Suite 1985 also comes in three parts, with Turcotte loosening up solo-wise on The Epitaph – For Mom over voicings which again suggest a desire to avoid the obvious, while Swept Out To Sea – For Dad is marked by a measure of turbulence, and the closing Wisely If Sincerely is marked by a Tara Davison solo displaying an approach to the soprano sax which deftly sidesteps any suspicions of noodling.

Discography
Finding Home Suite: i. A New Life; ii A Mother’s Song; iii Home; Goodbye Old Friend; Suite 1985: i The Epitaph – For Mom; ii Swept Out To Sea – For Dad; iii Wisely If Sincerely (52.00)
Jason Logue, Kevin Turcotte (t, flh); William Carn (tb, btb); Christian Overton (btb); Tara Davidson (as, ss, cl, f, picc); Kelly Jefferson (ts, ss, cl); Shirantha Beddage (bs, bcl); Andrew Downing (b); Ernesto Cervini (d, pc). Toronto, 20/21 July 2021.
Three Pines Records TPR-005