CD Review: Quinsin Nachoff: Flux

Flux, Mythology Records

Canadian tenor saxophonist Quinsin Nachoff is the kind of musician that stands out from the pack: His technical prowess and original musical vision make an immediate and sustained impact.

The good news is that in the more than a dozen years since we first heard him at a dark & cavernous bar on Ontario St. E., Nachoff, who divides his time between Toronto and New York City, has grown and developed.

“High and mighty” comes to mind in summarizing Nachoff’s writing, chops, and leadership in six pieces on his latest CD, Flux, four of them based on commissions. We heard the group play from this album at Montreal’s Résonance Café in the fall. Listening to the CD at home reinforced my conviction that these compositions, the individual improvisational excursions and communication among the players, constitute essential and nourishing food for mind and body.

This is music that demands your attention and rewards with your full entry into its pathways. How could it be otherwise, with the crew – Americans all — that Nachoff has gathered on this project? They are pianist and keyboardist, Matt Mitchell, a discovery, aptly described by former New York Times critic Nate Chinen as “a pianist of burrowing focus;” alto saxophonist, David Binney, always impressive with the intensity of his playing and harmonic inventiveness; and percussionist Kenny Wollesen who underscores and punctuates even as he adds varied rhythmic dimensions to the musical flow.

Yes, what we call “jazz” that once was known as “jass” is in a state of flux: this superb outing – call it jazz-contemporary, or avant-jazz, or musique actuelle – is all about discovery and new horizons.

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