February 2007

The Davidson / Murley / Braid Quintet
February 7, 2007 The Rex Toronto
by Paul J. Youngman with photos by Mike Colyer
David Braid had better watch out, piano tuning could become a sideline, for over fifteen minutes Mr. Braid tuned the club’s piano. A Juno award winner in 2005 and a Juno nominated pianist this year, tuning the piano — by ear no less. The other members of the band — Tara Davidson, alto and soprano saxophones, Mike Murley, tenor and soprano saxophones, Jim Vivian, acoustic bass and Ian Froman on drums, visiting from his current home base of New York, warmed up, chatted, reminisced and accepted the fact that the piano had to be in tune before they could start. Mike Murley would check the time, at 9:45 he picked up a microphone and welcomed the audience, thanking us for coming out. He introduced his band mates and came up with the catchy D.M.B.Q title for the band, checking with Mr. Braid to make sure he got it right. Murley jokingly made mention of David Braid’s skill as a piano tuner and piano assembler, as Braid was busy putting pieces of the piano back together.
Tara Davidson has a new recording, the album is entitled Code Breaking, and part of her band consists of Murley and Braid. The show opened with the Davidson composition, “Reason, Seasons, Lifetime” from her new album. A duet of saxophones introduces a swinging rhythm and leads into more harmonious saxophone melody with Ms. Davidson playing soprano and Mr. Murley playing tenor. Murley would jump off with the first break, producing a deep, bold tone with lyrical lines. The soprano of Tara Davidson flows in on the next break and in a classical manner proceeds to create a sophisticated, lucid, yet passionate statement. We were treated to one more Davidson composition in the first set, “Battle Scars” another well-written song, this one from her first CD The Tara Davidson Quartet, a very melodic tune in a moderato form with Ms. Davidson playing alto saxophone amoroso (lovingly).

Mike Murley and David Braid have a new album, Mnemosyne’s March. Released in early 2006, it is up for a Juno award in the category of Traditional Jazz Album at the upcoming Canadian version of the Grammys scheduled for April in Saskatoon. In a win-win situation for David Braid, the Murley/Braid CD will be going up against David Braid’s 2006 release Zhen, The David Braid Sextet Live, Volume II (on which Murley also plays), as well as CDs released by Jake Langley, Movin & Groovin, Jon Ballantyne, Avenue Standard and William Carn, Other Stories. David Braid just happens to be the pianist on the William Carn CD as well. A congratulation to all the nominees, just being nominated is a win, especially for jazz.

The D.M.B.Q would flow through some great compositions. By Mike Murley, there was “Tide Line,” and “Sheep Walking” based on the standard “Ewe Stepped Out Of A Dream” Murley introduced one of the songs as being 'entitled', then asked the audience if that sounded correct, or should he say, 'called' or 'named'. There were compositions by David Braid, “Wash Away” and “The Call.” The Braid composition “The Call”, (this is where entitled works well) played at a moderate tempo, had Davidson and Murley both playing soprano saxophone, Davidson in the high register and Murley in the middle register. The band’s dynamism was forefront, pushed to the limit by Jim Vivian’s driving bass lines and Ian Froman’s free spirited drumming.

The piano playing of David Braid is fantastic, he takes time to pick his notes, his playing is captivating, his chord choices sumptuous. A delicate, classically trained pianist, who plays with the heart of a jazz legend and composes songs that will someday be jazz standards. This was the final tune of the evening, I could only catch one set, this song was all about excitement and enchantment. This band is all about excitement and enchantment, I’m a fan of the D.M.B.Q and Mike Murley is entitled to anything he wants, as far as I’m concerned.

Tara Davidson

Mike Murley

David Braid
We welcome your comments and feedback
Paul J. Youngman
• • • • • •
Mike Colyer
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The Live Music Report

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