Aldcroft / Shaw / Sorbara: Remnants
David Dacks, Exclaim!, August 26, 2006

   

These three talents have been important movers in the Association of Improvising Musicians of Toronto. Sorbara in particular has been an active force in organising concerts and supporting a record label, Oval Window. The line-up here is drums/alto/guitar. Sorbara wrote most of the pieces with Shaw contributing two and group improv generating three. Shaw is at his best playing strong melodic passages and can turn an otherwise static piece into something much more fluid. This is even more the case with his own material. "Somnabulistic" is one of the disc's highlights with a sleepy, melancholy theme that brings out some impassioned playing by Shaw, mirrored by Aldcroft's slowly spiralling guitar. Sorbara on the other hand, is a demon on cymbals especially, and the song is dominated by splashing metal in both ears. Nonetheless, Sorbara is equally adept at creating intriguing rhythms from isolated bits of small percussion or deconstructing his kit (literally) on the floor. Aldcroft's best moments are in the group improvs, where he deploys more effects and sonic embellishment; his rock stylings in certain tunes sound stylistically distant from everything else in play. Two near pop songs show off how well the ensemble can come together - the Ornette-inspired "Coleman Lantern" and their grinding version of Bob Marley's "Redemption Song," which could even garner them some airplay on commercial jazz radio stations. These are perhaps the most memorable tunes on the album, though the overall interplay keeps the disc fresh throughout

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