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March 8, 2006

Canadian Jazz Pianist Andrew Glover CD Review

Written by
cindy mcleod


CD Release
Andrew Glover / Forward Motion
Indie / 2005

Jazz pianist/composer Andrew Glover adds another fine recording to his growing discography with the release of his 2005 Forward Motion, eleven original funk-fusion compositions played by a collective of western Canada’s leading instrumentalists.

Glover is a highly talented songsmith and an accomplished pianist, and for this project uses acoustic, electric and synthesized keyboards to express his distinctive works. As a player he is fluid and spontaneous, with a dexterous touch that never overstates. His compositions are bolstered by the strength of his melodies, balancing substance and space and lending themselves to the thoughtful arrangements, which he’s artfully meshed into one conceptual thought for this project.

Among the compliment of players featured are bassists Dave Chabot (elec), John Taylor (elec, fretless), Mike Lent (acoustic), and Doug Stephenson (acoustic); and drummer/percussionistsSteve Hoy and Sandro Dominelli. Guitarists Jack Semple (acoustic), Jake Langley (electric), and Robert Walsh (electric) make appearances, and the horns include Bob Tildesley (trumpet), and saxophonists Jean-Francois Picard (alto, tenor), and Dino Dominelli (tenor).

It is more than mastering skills that make this recording sound linear and consistent; it’s also the depth of communication between players, with the feel loose, the groove deep, and it’s chock-full of first-rate performances. The composition layers its lyrical quality over a crunchy bottom end, and leaves lots of room for improvisation and movement in the harmonic structure, allowing the individual voices to add to the colour.

The first cut and title track “Forward Motion” immediately describes space with its tasty funk/fusion feel driven by bassist Chabot and drummer Hoy. Glover’s keyboards create a dynamic momentum, with his acoustic piano solo burning up the form and Semple’s acoustic guitar adding a textural richness. The self-descriptive “Three Four Funk” sees the melody heavily punctuated by Glover’s piano, he adds a beautiful synthesizer line in unison with Walsh’s guitar in a chime-like, resonant tone. “Joe’s Party” layers Glover’s keyboards with Tildesley’s muted trumpet and Picard’s sax, with Glover and Picard trading lines and drummer Hoy contributing a crisp, imaginative solo. “Searching” features guitarist Langley and Picard’s alto for this contemporary fusion feel that moves into a rock beat where Picard and Langley trade ripping hard bop fours in the middle, building a tension that releases into Glover’s masterful electric piano solo. The uptown shuffle “Average Panic” brings an urban feel to the album with the head played over a funky half time feel and the horn section fattening up the sound. The rhythm section of Lent/Dominelli opens up and swings hard on the solos, bringing a hip mainstream sound into the divergence of feels for this superb track. The gentle “Momentary Peace” showcases Glover’s acoustic talent, with Stephenson’s acoustic bass and Dominelli’s brushwork lifting this lyrical ballad in the mainstream tradition.

Andrew Glover brings a unique and important voice to contemporary Canadian jazz music. “Forward Motion” offers a tasteful and articulate group of top-drawer musicians performing great songs in a relaxed setting. The result is a cut above.

Cindy McLeod

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