David Woodhead's Confabulation Confabulation

Woodhead is best known as a veteran A-list bassist who's performed with roots music stars such as Loreena McKennitt, Oliver Schroer and Stan Rogers. Taking centre stage as a composer and bandleader, he meshes jazz and roots elements in this fine, predominantly instrumental outing. His talent-heavy Confabulation band include guitar ace Christine Bougie, violinist Jaron Freeman-Fox, jazz saxophonists Richard Underhill and Colleen Allen, drummers Al Cross and Rich Greenspoon, and keyboardists Doug Wilde and Emilyn Stam. Along with his fluent fretless bass playing, Woodhead adds ukulele to a couple of tracks, including the jaunty "Goats in the Machine" and the Malagasy-inspired "Bozeny Parasy." He's an imaginative composer and producer who puts his supporting cast to work in interesting instrumental combinations. A revamped version of Schroer's funky "Dick and Homer" is a fun highlight, as is the sweetly melodic "X Revisited." He may have been best advised to keep it an instrumental album though, as the faux beatnik spoken word shtick of "Coffeehouse Days" is annoying. It's a minor flaw in an otherwise appealing album. (Independent)