True to its name, Brodie West Quintet’s new disc opens with a clipped, stuttering saxophone. Stop-and-start drums add to the effect, resulting in an introduction with more than its share of nervous energy.
The eight pieces that follow confirm what fans of West and Co. already understand: any disc with his name on it deserves an attentive listen. The musicianship is that good.
Clips features West on alto saxophone, Tania Gill on piano, Josh Cole on bass and a pair of drummers: Nick Fraser and Evan Cartwright. Their leader is an increasingly accomplished player who is celebrating his lucky 13th release at centrestage.
The band behind him defines the album’s feel as much as West’s saxophone does. It’s the kind of disc that will strike some as discordant – each player off doing his or her own thing. In fact, the opposite is true. The connection between the players runs to the kind of depth required to accommodate great jazz performances.
“Tumbling In” is an instant modern jazz classic. Absolutely world class. “Prel and Fug” pushes us a bit further. West’s high-energy performance sounds like it’s ready to burst at the seams.
Even the gorgeously paced ballad “Emerald Green,” which could pass for dinner jazz at more than a few tables, offers up beautifully detailed percussion and an inspired minimalist piano performance by Gill.
West splits his time between Eucalyptus, Ways, The Ex and Getatchew Mekuria, The Lina Allemano 4 and The Ryan Driver Sextet. He also played a hand in Broken Social Scene’s You Forgot It in People.