With one foot in the Toronto jazz scene and the other in the New York scene, saxophonist Quinsin Nachoff manages to showcase the best of both worlds with his latest release, Forward Motion. The band is also split between Toronto natives, Adrean Farrugia (Rhodes) and Mark Kelso (drums) and New York trumpeter Russ Johnson, with Nachoff acting as the glue between the members.
Influences and conceptual ideas are so seamlessly worked into this project that it’s difficult to say what it actually sounds like. Although there are clear rock and fusion elements, this is definitely not a fusion record in the original sense of the word – even though the extensive use of the Rhodes may suggest otherwise. This is modern jazz, as you have never heard it played before. Everything – from the compositions to the unique band format – expands what has so far been classified as modern jazz. It was only about somewhere in the midst of the second tune that I realized how much I didn’t miss the bass player. Farrugia does a fantastic job on the Rhodes, alone covering the immense ground so often handled by a bass and a piano. With no bass player, the sound altogether attains a sort of light, floating quality, all anchored down by the often jagged and downbeat heavy rock grooves, courtesy of Mark Kelso. The ideas are fresh and extremely musical, which make this record a great listen for both musicians, as well as casual listeners.
Although the record is clearly graced by some fantastic instrumentalists, what truly stands out are the compositions. Owing to the fact that Nachoff keeps a rather low profile on the record, it is sometimes easy to forget that he is in fact the mastermind behind this wonderful sound. In this it becomes apparent that Nachoff truly possesses the mark of a master musician and composer. Listening, one can almost imagine Nachoff standing back and allowing the music to develop on its own, with the outmost trust and confidence in all the parts involved. His playing and arrangement approach makes apparent a deep and sincere love for the compositions; the kind of love that allows for art to develop free of ego and with the outmost sincerity.
I have to add, another one of the great things about this record is Adrean Farrugia’s playing. Ricochet is awesome – especially live – but if I somehow had to choose between the two in one night, I would probably have to catch this show instead. At the start of every tune, I find myself looking forward to the Rhodes solo to hear what comes out this time. Honestly, I think I could listen to a full record of Farrugia accompanied just by drums, and thoroughly enjoy it. On the side, I strongly encourage such a release.
All in all, this is definitely a record you will want to listen to straight from beginning to end. Forward Motion is bursting at the seams with musical surprises throughout, constantly keeping you on the edge of your seat, anticipating the next note. After the first two or three songs, I guarantee you won’t want to turn this off!
Recommended Tracks: Odyssic, Three Trees
Please read more about Quinsin Nachoff at: www.quinsin.com
The Purple Cabbage