Mike Field Ashes

Toronto, ON-based composer/trumpeter/bandleader Field is a classically trained musician who's also studied with jazz great Warren Vache. He has played in rock, funk (Jay Spectre), reggae (High Plains Drifter) and bossanova (New Zealand group the Inverts) outfits, but he concentrates skilfully on instrumental jazz on Ashes. He leads a classic quintet configuration, featuring upright bass (Carlie Howell), drums (Dave Chan), piano (Matt Newton) and tenor saxophone (Paul Metcalfe), giving his band plenty of room to stretch out. The interplay between Field's fluent trumpet and the saxophone of Metcalfe especially catches the ear. The nine Field originals cover a nice range of tempos and tone, with a strong sense of melody a common thread. Some numbers hint at melancholy, but most possess a playful feel. The reflective "Unwanted" is a highlight and Ashes ends on a high note with the nimble "Volcano Waltz," followed by the gently lyrical "Gotu Kola," featuring the fine piano work of Matt Newton. This is a musical field worth exploring. (Independent)