|There seems to be a void of good vibe players coming out of Toronto. In fact, Im juggling my mind and I cant remember even one that would have thrilled me over the last couple of decades. Enter Dan McCarthy. A recent graduate of Berklee College of Music [by way of Torontos own Humber College], he moved down to NYC a couple of years back and now calls it his home. Having put together his trio, which is completed by New York natives, bassist Matt Wigton and percussionist Greg Ritchie, he went into the studio last June to record his debut Interwords.
The music is exclusively written by McCarthy, which is a welcome change from all debut records from freshmen who feel the need to cover Monk, Coltrane and Miles for the millionth time. For the most part, the tracks are rich in a melancholy feel, wrapped up in intimate interplay between all three members. Ritchies light percussive work makes a great partnership with McCarthys furiously wild and shimmering vibe melodies. When saxophonist Myron Walden guests on three pieces, his alto and soprano work colours the palette, but doesnt necessarily add a crucial layer to the work at hand.
In fact, the trio pieces are the stronger ones in the bunch. This is where the members have ample room to play their parts in a more intimate setting, to really stretch out. Sadly, the trio doesnt stretch out enough. Even though McCarthys bouncy vibe work is stunning and airy, I cant get a sense of all-out adventure. Its as if Dan McCarthy was purposefully holding his trio back. Perhaps too cautious to truly show off his improvisational muscle on a debut, Interwords is still a stunning first listen from a talent who is sure to make some noise south of the border or back in his home town.
Tom Sekowski May 06