Exclaim!'s Top 10 Improv & Avant-Garde Albums Best of 2016



 
Paul Newman
Duo Compositions
(Independent)
 
Let's face it: Things are getting intense. And intensity has a tendency to wear you down. So in 2016, where can one find a patch of consideration and craft that simply expresses doggedly intelligent conversation?
 
The answer is on Duo Compositions, the latest from Toronto musician and composer Paul Newman. His compositions on this release are brought to full realization in duet with Karen Ng on tenor saxophone and Heather Saumer on trombone. Newman joins on tenor saxophone.
 
Each track here is measured and thoughtful, taking its time getting to the point. The listener is asked neither to brace themselves or prepare for a tiring commitment; rather, they're presented with music that has both the confident framing of baroque and the modern erudition of jazz lineage.
 
Duo Compositions is at once easily received and, yet, does not insult the listener's intelligence with arcane simplicity. Make no mistake: This is graceful, sophisticated music — and beautiful, at that.
Nilan Perera