David French Quartet Dance Of The Bees

This is the debut as a bandleader for Toronto, ON saxophonist/composer David French, and a highly impressive one. His bandmates have more name recognition, with guitarist Reg Schwager, bassist Andrew Downing and drummer Nick Fraser all being A-list players in the T.O. scene. Ace saxophonist Phil Dwyer contributes liner notes, proving French has earned peer respect. As well as shining with his typically understated fret fluency, Schwager contributes three compositions. French's seven compositions lose nothing in comparison and the tone of his tenor work also catches the ear, especially on "Solitaire" and "Caldo de Cana," His tunes were inspired by influences as diverse as Monk, the blues and Brazilian styles, while "Malarkey" is a playful sax and drums improvisation. The result is a pleasingly varied collection from an artist worth watching. (Cellar Live)