Sunday, April 28, 2013


Jones retired a few years back, supposedly to go play golf.  That didn't take, thankfully.  And since his un-retirement, he's been re-energized, playing with a fire that not only belies his age (79), but puts any discussion of age out the door.  There's simply no questioning his verve or dexterity, nor his continued artistic achievement.  This latest work finds him exploding into new territory, as his trio is joined by a savvy, swinging violinist, Josée Aidans.  Thus inspired, Jones has delivered six originals and six interpretations, with a mind to showcasing and incorporating Adams into the club.

So away we go with foursome, of various ages, gender, and mother tongue, speaking in synch on these melody-rich, shimmering pieces, typical of Jones.  His music is just so bright and alive, absolutely ear-pleasing.  While it may be still rooted in the 40's swing, there's jazz challenge here;  he and the trio (Eric Lagacé on bass, drummer Jim Doxas) can cut anyone.  Lagacé's solo in You Look Good To Me, well over a minute long at a nearly psychotic pace, should be knighted.  Doxas is as lyric as the rest, the young gun with a ton of ideas that surprise you.  Aidans is all over the songs, not just a guest, but diving fully into each track, sometimes weaving luxurious lines, other times ripping jazz licks, playful lilting solos that mirror the cascade of notes that come from Jones.  He's always there of course, ready to burst into flurry. Although it never feels like Oliver's show, the other three know they have to keep up with the Jones.

There's a lovely suite of three songs for Saskatchewan, of all places, but why not?  Inspired by nature, The Saskatchewan Suite honours Prince Albert's sunrise, Regina's sky and Saskatoon's spirit, traveling from ballad to swinging blues to be-bop.  It recalls the thematic compositions of Ellington and of course, Oscar Peterson, and sits as a centerpiece highlight in the collection.  Such grace.  A national treasure?  Oh yeah.

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