In the realm of modern jazz, the big band is making a resurgence. Powerhouse ensembles led by the likes of Chris Walden and Alex Budman have been gaining ground steadily. Enter Daniel Jamieson's Toronto rendition of the modern big band, with some exploration built into every track. The sound is always reaching for something in Sudden Appearance, his debut album. Big-band jazz is normally based around tightly packed arrangements, keeping a large ensemble in line to avoid unnecessary clashing. Jamieson holds to that line up to a point, but also introduces the exploration and sheer improvisation of Albert Ayler's and Sun Ra's experimentations with large ensembles -- just enough slack to wander around the range, but not enough to destroy the arrangement as a whole. As a result, the sound is sometimes dense and bouncing, and sometimes darker and punctuated by slow solos and off-kilter rhythms. Though the slower, searching moments can be interesting (such as Anna Webber's flute solo in "Song for Anna"), it's when the players get room to stretch out on more extended pieces of straightforward jazz that the album picks up -- witness Andrew Gould's long solo in the title track. Actually, that's the success of Sudden Appearance as a whole: solid, straight-ahead jazz is what makes the set. The arrangements contribute fairly basic ideas to the proceedings, but the playing redeems anything that seems already familiar and transforms it into an enjoyable romp.