Peripheral Vision is one of Toronto’s most promising Jazz groups, co-led by the dynamic tandem of Michael Herring (bass) and Don Scott (guitar). The group’s debut record features Toronto staples, Nick Fraser (drums) and Trevor Hogg (tenor saxophone). All of the compositions on the album are originals of Herring’s and Scott’s and feature a synthesis of many styles, from the classic sounds of Charles Mingus, to modern jazz players such as Chris Potter, Ben Monder, and Dave Holland. What I find most satisfying about Peripheral Vision is their ability to stretch far rhythmically and harmonically, while remaining rooted in beautiful, sing-able melodies.
Throughout, the interplay between Herring and Fraser is intoxicating. Herring definitely approaches the songs from more of a composer’s perspective, guiding the group with often simple, yet powerful bass lines, in turn allowing for Fraser to play a more dynamic role – establishing the groove with rhythmic complexity and using different sounds to achieve this. Fraser has always been a master of synthesizing styles, equally rooted in experimental music, modern swing, and rock. Don Scott weaves through solos with what seems like a heavy New York influence, much along the lines of players such as Adam Rogers and Ben Monder. His solos are exciting, and his guitar tones are nothing to mess with. This guy means business! Right by his side is tenor saxophonist, Trevor Hogg – an accomplished Toronto player, having earned his stripes playing with many of Canada’s finest players. He is an extremely melodic player, with a wide range on the horn, and intriguing rhythmic ideas. This is best demonstrated on track five “What Do You Think Happens…”
Peripheral Vision is an extremely exciting jazz group and this album is a clear demonstration of the talents of each player, and the strong group chemistry. The compositions of Herring and Scott allow the group to explore the music, all while retaining melodic sensibilities so often lost in modern jazz. I find the group at its best on tunes such as “Treehouse” and “Transcend-Include”. On songs such as “LBJ” I find the group falls just a little short of the mark, as the slow tempo and long solos can become a little redundant. Peripheral Vision truly excels when the compositions require more group interplay, proving a successful “group first, individuals second” approach to the whole record.
A very enjoyable listen.
Recommended Tracks: Treehouse, Transcend-Include
Please read more about Peripheral Vision at www.peripheralvisionmusic.com
The Purple Cabbage