Glenn Buhr Thru The Wounded Sky

You probably know Glenn Buhr as a widely recognised composer of new music, conductor and professor (he teaches at Wilfred Laurier University in Waterloo). What you may not know is that he’s a pretty funky jazz piano player and tune writer. Thru The Wounded Sky is the product of a series of live performances that enabled Buhr and his seven-piece band to workshop his otherwise unrehearsed charts. The result is some truly affecting pieces featuring compelling solos from the likes of trombonist Scott Good, tenor saxophonist Chuck McClelland and viola player Richard Moody. Also on board is smoky-voiced poet Margaret Sweatman, who contributes sensual spoken word vocals to "Holding Pattern” and "Thru The Wounded Sky.” On the appropriately titled "Jackhammer,” with its bluntly pounded rhythms, and the inappropriately titled "Hay Island Hoedown” — it’s more Spanish/ Middle Eastern than country and western — Buhr’s charts sound like close relatives to George Russell’s Living Time Orchestra sessions. The generous leader gives his sidemen plenty of space to speak their piece. He gets particularly strong solos from baritone saxist Ken Gold, whose solo on "Hoedown” is a sonic standout, with its visceral multiphonics and growl-y low-end admonitions, and guitarist Greg Lowe, whose formidable chops add Grant Green-on-amphetamines licks to the same tune. Buhr’s piano could be more boisterous to meet the energy level of his colleagues but the composer’s alternate persona is well served by this release. (Marquis) (Marquis)