Joel Miller

Swim

origin 82613

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MUSIC REVIEW BY Doug Ramsey, Rifftides

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In his sixth album, his first for Origin, Montreal tenor saxophonist Joel Miller again makes music that melds intricacy and accessibility. This time out, he is aided greatly by pianist Geoffrey Keezer, asJoel Miller Swim virtuosic as Miller in bringing relaxation to the complex lines in many of the leader's compositions. The young veteran bassist Fraser Hollins and drummer Greg Ritchie provide Miller and Keezer strength and flexibility necessary to keep some of the challenging pieces afloat. In Gil Evans's "Time of the Barracudas," Hollins and Ritchie are also impressive as soloists. It is the album's only composition not written by Miller.

The pieces range from the rhythmic convolutions of "MarkAdamDrum" and "Step Into My Office" to the Caribbean flavor of "This and That" and the relaxed balladry of "Afternoon Off." Miller presents "Nos Etoiles" in two parts, a brief introduction with the character of an elegy and a section with an insistent beat that inspires Keezer and Miller to short solos of controlled daring. I found myself rewinding to the perfection of their unison line in the penultimate chorus. "Jobim," two minutes long, ends the album with lyricism, passion and a sense that its composition and performance may have taken place simultaneously.

Randy Cole's short film Grounded, screened in a 2011 Rifftides post, was largely about the making of this album. For Swim, Miller won Canada's 2013 Juno and East Coast Music awards for best jazz recording.








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