June 2008

at the TD Canada Trust Toronto Jazz Festival
June 29, 2008Toronto Star StageToronto
Report by David Fujino
"Murphy's Law" kicked off the set from "DMBQ" — Davidson, Murley, Braid — a quintet which includes the bassist Jim Vivian and drummer Ian Froman.

This first tune, "Murphy's Law", by Tara Davidson, was a bluesy modal tribute featuring Davidson's tart alto, Arabic-flavored statements from pianist Braid, and a steadily uncoiling bass line. It was funny because Murley soloed all wary and suddenly explorative on tenor, just like the tune's namesake, Murphy, Davidson's cat.

In the case of "Minus Mist", this was Mike Murley's tribute tune; a composed tribute to Nova Scotia, his home, where deep fathom Celtic pipe drones inspired his extended tenor solo that eventually broke out into a series of structured free cries.

By way of contrast, "Interior Castles" by David Braid showed the defining influences of Gospel and classical music in its slow harmonic unfolding and its urgent, inner pulsation.

And then Davidson's "Code Breaking"; its intricate, driving bass pattern got Davidson out there on alto, loose and running and hitting favorite tones.

They're all great players.

And their compositions and solos are ripe with Coltrane, Rollins, bop, hard bop, classical music, free jazz, and Gospel as some of the most obvious influences.

But I just wish everything wasn't so tidy and so well organized.

I'm sure this is a minority opinion, but that's how it sounded, and that's how I felt.

Mike Murley
Tara Davidson — alto and soprano saxophones
Mike Murley — tenor and sopranino saxophones
David Braid — piano
Jim Vivian — bass
Ian Froman — drums
We welcome your comments and feedback
David Fujino
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