Friday, February 10, 2017

Andrew Downing, Otterville

Canadian cellist Andrew Downing scores with a euphonious 2-CD set of his compositions and arrangements for octet, Otterville (self-released AD00105). It features some very well put-together charts for cello (Andrew), alto saxophone (Tara Davidson), vibes (Michael Davidson), lap steel guitar (Christine Bougie), bass guitar (Paul Mathew), drums (Nick Fraser), trumpet (Rebecca Hennessy) and trombone (William Carn).

Start with his treatment of Duke's "Take the 'A' Train" to hear what new breadth he brings to the familiar classic, adding interesting harmonic touches and stretching out the melody in striking ways. And altogether he gives us a very contemporary modern take on the jazz of today, with the scoring at times really ravishing.

He is a musical mind that has chosen his instrumentation with a clear idea of the roles he wishes to assign each instrument and a singularity of multiple lining inventions that work exceptionally well together.

This is jazz that has an accessible naturalness yet satisfies critical ears as well. Excellent job!

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