Uploaded on Dec 23, 2010
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Recorded at the Segal Centre for Performing Arts, December 18, 2010
"Change of Heart"
Composed by Kevin Dean
Kevin Dean - Trumpet
Al McLean - Saxophone
Mike Rud - Guitar
This gorgeous waltz by Kevin Dean is debuted here in a fine trio performance. Montreal's best Jazz musicians make great work of the trumpeter's original, which stands on its own without bass and drums. Of course the imaginative accompaniment of Mike Rud on guitar provides a lush underpinning for the horns, which makes us wonder why we ever needed bass and drums anyways...
Kevin Dean and Al McLean are beautifully balanced on the session. Dean, a founding faculty member of the Schulich School of Music's Jazz program at McGill University, is known for his 'straight-down-the-barrel' Hard Bop aesthetic, and a refined, traditional delivery. Nuance and chops are deftly packaged into a compact and purposeful oeuvre; Bebop at its highest level. We hear echos of Lee Morgan and Clifford Brown when Kevin plays, but he remains vibrant and relevant, setting himself apart, and painting a unique musical picture with his palette of traditional colors.
McLean, on the other hand, is harder to both define, and to contain, with an ever-overflowing exuberance of style and technique. Al McLean wears a contemporary 'coat of many colors' as he easily adapts to different instruments and styles with an earnest joie-de- vivre. This is not mere sampling or referencing, which is what we have come to expect from young artists, rather, a primordial summoning of the spirit - of the rare Leblanc Rationale in his hands, of Dexter Gordon, Cannonball Adderly... Al McLean is able to sleekly conform to the style at hand, not loosing his voice, but drawing on different parts of it.
This intrinsic understanding of a deeply curious artist makes McLean believable, and his musical storytelling plausible.
Together, the musicians arrive at a useful creative tension, a balance of two opposing, but complimentary forces. Comfort-be-damned, this performance breathes and shimmers.
Both musicians are playing on vintage horns that are not their own, adding an element of instability, and historical context: McLean on the aforementioned Leblanc, and Dean on a rare and ornate 1940 Conn Artist Special 80A cornet.l
Kevin Dean is professor, and a founding faculty member of the Jazz Department at McGill University's Schulich School of Music (http://www.mcgill.ca/music/).
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