Byproduct Byproduct

Byproduct is a young trio from Montreal with a sound akin to Charlie Haden's Quartet West, or older Bill Frisell material, with a sax as lead instead of a guitar. Sax player/electronicist Chet Doxas plays well with a wide open sound, but in a few years he's going to be even better. He's playing very much in the American blues tradition, augmented by the knowledge of more adventurous harmonies. He needs to take more command of the spaces between the rhythm - in some ways bassist Zack Lober leads while Doxas comments, reinforcing the Haden comparison. The songs are mostly gentle composed pieces with some lateral movement and freedom. And unlike the graduates of university jazz programs in the '80s, most youngings are aware of free rhythms and electronics, and Byproduct can shift gears with relative ease. There are many nice electro bits on this disc as well, like the subtly grooving loops on opening track "Nature Seen" and the funk groove boosted by samples and 3/4 time on "88." Drummer Jim Doxas can swing, as he plays in the bop tradition but can come up with loop-like rhythms. The band as a whole could be a bit more urgent when they need to be, not so much in terms of making aggressive noises, but in responding to each other's ideas and making transitions between ideas in songs a bit faster. Still, it's a good first effort with a well-designed package and it should take them places on the jazz festival circuit. (Independent)