Joel Miller dazzles
- "Joel who?" should not be a question. Swim is as fine an album as I've heard so far this year. It's honest, direct and refined at a time noted for its lack of refinement. Moreover it's the Montreal saxophonist's sixth solo effort in a 14-year period during which he nabbed just about every Quebec musical award available.
So we must assume that his lack of profile is entirely due to the kind of music he makes: seamless, elegantly shaped jazz yet with hooks worthy of the pop charts. Then there's his own fluid, lyrical playing bolstered by a band that's entirely on his wave length with Geoffrey Keezer on piano, drummer Greg Ritchie and Fraser Hollins on bass. These are smooth operators. Tunes such as "Afternoon Off" or "Drop Off"--both ready-made for lines from some sympathetic lyricist--have inner workings as smoothly operational as precision machine parts and surfaces as sleek as Brancusi sculpture.