December 2007

Alex Goodman John Galt Suite
December 14, 2007 Dominion on Queen Toronto
"... their enthusiasm knew no bounds"
by David Fujino with photos by Mike Colyer
This trio of young jazz lions took a real romp (!) right through Alex Goodman's new 5-part, John Galt Suite.
They were debuting the suite at Dominion on Queen Street East — but spurred on by the addition this evening of Quinsin Nachoff's high tenor cries — they quickly got personal and their enthusiasm knew no bounds.

Even Goodman was amused, and he made the observation that perhaps, at this 60-minute plus mark, they should take a break and, stop playing!

The five tunes' overall sound was that of a Wayne Shorter/Coltrane 1965 modal tune, but a closer listen revealed an artfully varied series of starkly simple scales that ran within each of the 5 tunes. As with Philip Glass, the tunes were based on (almost crystalline) repeating scale cycles and repeating single notes played on the piano and the acoustic bass.

But hey, this stuff was funky, and trance-y, and it was jazz.

The funk came from Justin Gray's precise, syncopated, plucked, turning bass ostinatos working with the light dance of Josh Park's drums, while the trance-y parts found Nachoff going briefly 'Spanish', or later — as in "A is A" (from the John Galt Suite) — Nachoff would rise high into Trane-like ecstasies and cries, and lastly, the jazz part came out of the guys knowing what to do when they're handed tones and scales and cycles and rhythms and drones.

I'm saying, these guys can play.

Alex Goodman demonstrated that he's a fine pianist and composer, and a screamin' electric guitarist. The guest tenor saxophonist, Quinsin Nachoff, took the music's grooves into the modal sound worlds of travel, inner state, and yearning, just as Justin Gray kept reminding us of his presence as a bass note winked out, or a 12-note figure caught your attention and held you in its travel. And drummer Josh Park yes struck us as a person who listens and looks and works to be a committed and contributing part of things.

The leader Alex Goodman was a centred and pleasant young professional; and clearly, he and his associates are accomplished musicians who improvise because they love it.

But finally, the music I'd say was sophisticated modern mainstream (to me), cast in the form of trance music with a jazz mentality.

I liked it.

Alex Goodman

Quinsin Nachoff
The musicians
Alex Goodman — piano and guitar
Quinsin Nachoff — tenor saxophone
Justin Gray — acoustic bass
Josh Park — drums


We welcome your comments and feedback
David Fujino
• • • • • •
Mike Colyer
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The Live Music Report

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