Published Oct 18, 2018Bassist/composer Rob Clutton's emergence as a bandleader is an example of the singular visions that have been blooming in Toronto over the last decade or two. The Cluttertones encompass such radically diverse movements as the jazz-noise scene, and the ornery ennui of the Rat Drifting movement.
What sets them apart is a gentle lyricism , reminiscent of some of Efterklang's best work, and Clutton's ability to showcase the individual voices of his band, which incorporates some of the most original virtuoso voices on the Canadian scene.
Leeways is a divergence from their last release, Ordinary Joy, as it incorporates pianist Lee Pui Ming in some remarkable forays into the world of harmonic grids. While "Gull" finds Lee occupying a more supportive role, she jumps to the forefront and occupies the free jazz spaces in "Leeways 1" to "Leeways 3," returning to the asymmetrical world of the Cluttertones in "Leeways 4" and "Leeways 5."
The other extraordinary and quite wonderful thing about this release and Clutton's oeuvre are the songs. They are beautiful, thoughtful and engaging, with instrumental support that goes far beyond mere accompaniment. Ryan Driver's voice is reflective and is set off wonderfully by sensitively played arrangements. Kudos to Tim Posgate (guitar/banjo), Lina Allemano (trumpet) and Driver (doubling on synth) and also the stellar bass work of Rob Clutton for creating the world that pianist Lee Pui Ming is so comfortable in. (Independent)