Richard Underhill Kensington Suite

There is a truism that "place begets art” and that is definitely the case on alto-saxophonist Richard Underhill’s Kensington Suite. A denizen of the multi-cultural funky enclave at the heart of one of the world’s most culturally diverse cities (Toronto), Underhill is perfectly suited to write a suite of tunes that reflect his neighbourhood. A dedicated cyclist, "Bike Lane” features some smokin’ Underhill alto followed by seriously boisterous guitar work by another Shuffle Demon, Eric St. Laurent. The leader’s grooving "Cançäo de Vila” also reflects the environment in which his highly approachable music was born. His cohorts — a partial list includes bassist Brandi Disherheft, tenorists Chris Gale and Perry White, keyboardist Dave Restivo and uber-guitarist Reg Schwager — all make their substantial presence felt on whatever tune they play. Admittedly, this may not be groundbreaking music. But if you want to groove out,Suite will do your house party well. This is cool stuff from a darn fine musician. (Stubby)