November 2, 2006
CD REVIEW: T.O. JAZZ
Zhen is the third CD from the David Braid Sextet, and the follow up Vivid which was awarded the 2005 Juno award for Mainstream Jazz Album of the Year
Beyond the obviously gifted Braid, the sextet is a who's who of Canadian Jazz talent. Terry Clarke, John MacLeod, Gene Smith, Mike Murley and Steve Wallace round out a sextet that is both imaginative and focused in its performances of Braids original compositions. The CD start's off with an up tempo blues before embarking on a soaring journey that spans East and West before closing with a refreshing rework of the Coltrane classic Giant Steps.
Braid's playing is both sensitive and beautiful, weaving textures that calm, surprise and engage the listener. This is combined with a talent for writing in such a way as to showcase the talents of his band mates, and they don't disappoint. Whether its Mr. Murley blowing on Lydian Sky or Gene Smith taking centre stage on Andalusia, these guys are all here to play... and play they do!
Zhen was the final live recording made before the closing of the historic Top O' the Senator in 2005, and is a venue that Toronto still misses. I couldn't think of a better CD to carry the final legacy of such a storied establishment.