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February 7, 2006

Canadian Jazz CD Review

Written by
cindy mcleod

CD Review
Stu Loseby & Friends
With Love & Respect
Indie – 2005

Stu Loseby & Friends have released a superb collection of original composition with their mainstream jazz CD ‘With Love & Respect’. Tenor saxophonist Loseby leads the first-class quartet of Miles Black (piano), Russ Botten (bass), Don Fraser and Blaine Wikjord (drums). Special guests include vocalist Glenda Rae, and percussionists Tony Chamberlist and Themba Tana.

It’s clear Loseby has extensive knowledge about the idiom, with his influences speaking strongly through his approach to the individual tracks. Like the masters, his quotes are subtle and few, but paint enough of a picture to let the listener to grasp the concept. His sound is hearty, his technique adept, and he is a great songwriter. The ensemble offers a generosity of harmonic and rhythmic richness, eloquently developing the project’s theme, with each track paying tribute to Loseby’s personal and musical influences.

The moving first track, ’Lament for Mr. G.’ , pays homage to pianist Linton Garner, with whom the Loseby worked with for several years. Black’s quiet solo piano intro lays down the melancholy blues form, with the rhythm section joining in to play this mournful dirge in deeply passionate form. ’Early Stan’ tips the hat to jazzman Getz’ Early Autumn, with Loseby’s strong melody providing the perfect vehicle for his flawless technique to shine. Dexter’s broad tone and relaxed phrasing is delightfully proferred by Loseby in ‘Just a Simple Tune’, with its wide swing feel kicked off by a bass/tenor head. Black’s solo adds a tinge of Bud Powell, while bassist Botten takes a fluent, melodic solo. ’A Messenger for Blakey’ begins with Loseby’s solo tenor, and moves into a fiery bop solidly laid down by drummer Wikjord, capturing the drive of Blakey’s feel and building tension dynamically. ’Reflections on Soul honours John Coltrane, developing modal themes in a moody African/Celtic hybrid. The piece showcases African drums and bodhran in a powerful concoction with Loseby’s tenor, and builds to an hypnotic soundscape that resonates long after the track fades.

Stu Loseby & Friends have created a fine recording of genuine, highly melodic, deep-groove swing with this timeless gem. ‘With Love and Respect’ deserves attention, and is required listening for any lover of great mainstream jazz.

Cindy McLeod

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