In the spirit that jazz is increasingly an international language, this month’s collection of CDs emphasizes that dialogue, from American guests turning up on Canadian musicians’ CDs to Canadian expatriates who are members of a global community.
Lama + Chris Speed – Lamaçal (CF 275)
Drummer Greg Smith went to Europe with Toronto’s Shuffle Demons in the mid-90s and decided to stay there, taking up residence in Holland. Among his current projects is a Rotterdam-based band called Lama with Portuguese trumpeter Susana Santos Silva and bassist Gonçalo Almeida. The group expands to Lama + Chris Speed with the addition of the New York saxophonist and clarinettist for Lamaçal (Clean Feed CF 275 cleanfeed-records.com), a live performance from the Portalegre Jazz Festival. This is lively creative music that delights in detailed close interaction amid a mix of unusual sonic textures: suggestions of village brass bands, Middle-Eastern scales, electronic loops and whale sounds abound. It even combines old-fashioned New Orleans polyphony with atonality. Smith’s boppish composition Cachalote is highlighted by a duet between the drummer and the mercurial Speed.
Eric Revis – City of Asylum (CF 277)
Pianist Kris Davis has followed a path from Calgary to Toronto and on to Brooklyn where she has established herself as one of the most creative improvisers of her generation. She appears on bassist Eric Revis’ City of Asylum (Clean Feed CF 277 cleanfeed-records.com) in a piano trio completed by the veteran drummer Andrew Cyrille. The studio session marked the first meeting of the three musicians, but there’s no sense that they’re feeling one another out. There’s aggressive creative interplay in the freely improvised pieces, with a special attention to momentum, the three sometimes developing tremendous swing while pursuing independent rhythms. A playful approach to Thelonious Monk’s Gallop’s Gallop and a reverent one to Keith Jarrett’s Prayer reveal something of the trio’s range and affinities.