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December 5, 2005

Canadian Jazz CD Release

Written by
cindy mcleod

CD Release / mainstream jazz
Iconoclast Trio / Hinterland
Indie/2005

Canadian jazz masters George McFetridge (piano),Sean Drabitt (bass) and James McRae (drums) have debuted their long awaited recording Hinterland, featuring seven tracks of original composition in the mainstream jazz tradition, along with two standards from Anthony Newley and Duke Ellington.

The independently released Hinterland features the compositions of pianist McFetridge and drummer McRae, and is a blend of free elements and scale forms in this intimate acoustic setting. Originally intended for demo purposes, the recording evolved when the musicians listened back to their work in the studio and were inspired to add more material and create a full-fledged CD.

The three west coast musicians have worked together for over two decades, and this recording is a fine example of the unity of sound they’ve formed throughout the years. Each one of these jazz artists boasts long lists of credits, with McFetridge being recognized as one of Canada’s premiere pianists and composers, and a co-founder of Unity Records. Drabitt is a multi-dimensional and highly skilled player, having spent several years living and performing in New York and New Orleans, where he recorded with such luminaries as Jason Marsalis and Harold Battiste. Drummer McRae is much sought after sideman and educator, and is an emotive and empathetic player. He also plays piano and uses the instrument to develop his compositional ideas, lending a strong musical voice the trio.

Hinterland takes a harmonic approach to these compositions, and ranges in feel from swing to Latin. Highlights among the nine tracks include January Sun (McFetridge), a spacious, organic work, with a lush bass solo featuring Drabitt’s technical and textural skills. Click Track (McFetridge) is based upon a straight eighth feel that builds tension under the dynamic drum performance by McRae, with McFetridge’s dramatic piano runs adding suspense. The Latin based Tune for Marty (McRae) is a funky delivery of this piano based offering, with McFetridge’s left hand breaking up the chords and rhythm, showcasing his unique style. Bell’s Blues (McRae) a playful, quirky piece, with the players trading eights and presenting their individual voices in a delightful dialogue.

Iconoclast Trio and Hinterland are a great example of the identifiable sound of Canadian jazz. The trio has headed out this week on a western tour to celebrate the release of this debut recording, so check your local listings for performance dates and plan for an evening of creative, original jazz from three of our nation’s finest.

for more information visit www.theiconoclast.ca

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