Down Beat - 8/00, p.794 stars out of 5
- "...[This] bare-bones effort has a graceful simplicity....tapping into a great groove from the start..."
JazzTimes - 8/00, p.127
"...Canada's premier bebop guitarist reaffirms his title an demonstrates that he has some other dimensions on this....a memorable set by one of jazz guitar's finest."
Personnel: Peter Leitch (guitar); Kendra Shank (vocals); Bobby Watson (soprano & alto saxophones); Renee Rosnes (piano); Dwayne Burno (bass); Billy Hart (drums).
Recorded at Avatar Studios, New York, New York on June 2 & 3, 1999. Includes liner notes by Peter Leitch.
Composer: Peter Leitch.
Personnel: Peter Leitch (baritone guitar); Bobby Watson (soprano saxophone, alto saxophone); Renee Rosnes (piano); Billy Hart (snare drum).
Audio Mixer: Jim Anderson .
Liner Note Author: Peter Leitch.
Recording information: Avatar Studios, New York, NY (06/02/1999-06/03/1999).
Photographer: Robert Johnson .
Canadian jazz guitarist Leitch continues to be a top player in this idiom as evidenced by his track record of fine recordings, this being another one. There are curiosities that pop up when Leitch's sparsely treated, lean electric guitar sound melds with Kendra Shank's mostly wordless vocalizing and the saxophone musings of Bobby Watson. Renee Rosnes plays piano on six of the ten cuts, while the bass of Dwayne Burno and the poignant drumming of Billy Hart anchor the varied combos. Leitch wrote half of the material. "The (Sir Edmund) Hillary Step" is steeped in bop; Shank's over-the-hump scat sets off a busy Watson and Rosens, then Shank and Hart trade ideas. The lovely, light-bossa swinger "Johan Carolyn," running over ten and a half minutes, sports beauteous guitar and alto sax unison over the modal chords of Rosnes as a vehicle for longer solos. The most gloriously constructed melody is extant during "K. Zee," which offers another unison line but darker, with Shank's sultry voice added to Watson's soprano and Leitch's wide-eyed line. Rosnes is more astounding on a choppy, chiming piano solo. "Wendy's Shoes" is a straight bluesy number scatted by Shank and spiced by Watson's fluent alto. Leitch goes it solo on "Bud & Bird," all in a fast, bright, evenly keeled bebop language. The guitar/bass/drums trio do the Gershwin ballad "How Long Has This Been Going On?" while "Nothing Ever Changes for You My Love" uses the same instrumentation in a bossa-to-swing style. The session is bookended by two anomalous, nay, disappointing or perhaps questionable numbers. The McCoy Tyner-written title track has Leitch displaying a little twang, and the intro chorus has Shank scatting only the first few bars of the melody twice, but all the way through at the end. The hip, charged bop of "From This Moment On" has Shank only singing the name of the tune, but not the lyric, then scatting a bit. This is an interesting aside for Leitch, not his best, but a change up of instrumentation and stance which is certainly unique for him, and, in many instances, welcome. ~ Michael G. Nastos