Jeremy Strachan The Heart Of The Matter

Capital "J” jazz fans will say that no one has any business recording solo if they don’t have decades of hard-won experience behind them. But contemporary improvisers need not follow such implied rules. Jeremy Strachan’s first "solo” record in fact has two not so silent partners. The first is the purpose of the recording: a response to a series of images by Kate Bond Pretti, whose work graced the cover of Goodbye Lucille by Strachan’s sax and bucket project Feuermusik. Pretti’s line drawings are the inspiration for the shapes traced by Strachan in an audio fashion. The other dominant force on this disc is the physical space of the Power Plant art gallery in Toronto, where this disc was recorded. The natural echo produced by the soaring space is effectively a duet partner for Strachan, magnifying even the tiniest trills into rippling menace. Overblown and split-tone notes gain additional lustre. There are times, such as the legato opening to "The Heart Of The Matter #4,” where Strachan seems to be holding notes just to get certain effects from the reverb, but he never gets carried away with trying to sound too majestic. His playing is assured, if not overwhelming, with new and exciting technical developments for the saxophone. This isn’t to suggest that it’s uninspired; on the contrary, this is a well executed and ultimately, very listenable solo set that fulfils exactly what Strachan intended in his artist’s statement, which is included in the liner notes. (Standard Form)