The quality of this playing is altogether excellent. Dave Young and Terry Promane together with the musicians of their powerhouse octet take nothing for granted in music. Nor should you listening to them play on… Octet Vol. 2. If you know how your Charles Mingus ‘goes’, if you know how your Dizzy Gillespie ‘goes’ or how anyone else ‘goes’ then this almost certainly isn’t for you. Not that Mr. Young and Mr. Promane or any of the other musicians do anything wildly idiosyncratic, let alone provocatively iconoclastic, à la some of the younger, wilder musicians out there. At the same time, mercifully, the erudite Dave Young and Terry Promane show no signs of being budding prophets. Rather they plainly understand that every interpretation is just one possibility, and they offer us a very enticing opportunity to open our minds, especially to those familiar composers (and works) most burdened by tradition – in this case Charles Mingus and Dizzy Gillespie, and Duke Pearson, Cedar Walton and others.
And so the surprises, when they come here and elsewhere are not so discreet in the grand and spacious ballad “Duke Ellington’s Sound of Love”, enhancing, if that’s the right word, an underlying feeling of adulation. Elsewhere, revelations abound. In Dizzy Gillespie’s “Bebop”, where most musicians (including some great ones) are bopalicious to a fault, the Dave Young Terry Promane Octet takes us to another world. It’s full of light, glinting turns, mysterious depths, emotions and triumphs. In sheer colour and variety, in the depth of characterisation and the exceptional range of musicianship the artists, here impart a power and majestic stature to the classic, which no ‘bigness’ (the usual route taken by others) can achieve.
And the variety of stylishness of the rest of this enterprising octet programme is matched by brilliant performances by the rest of the octet’s celebrated musicians throughout. Dave Young brings an effortless urbanity and lyricism to all the tunes here, and together with Terry Promane and Kevin Turcotte, Vern Dorge, Mike Murley, Perry White, David Restivo and the great Terry Clarke, who are all as seductive as they are persuasive on other classics from Rogers and Hammerstein’s “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning” and Michel Legrand’s “You Must Believe in Spring” to Cedar Walton’s “Hindsight”. Each of the eight charts is also lessons in the very essence of style. Mike Murley’s “”Can’t You See’ is played with buoyant, aristocratic grace and marvellous ambiguity, where soloists – Dave Young, Terry Promane and, of course, Mike Murley – are almost insolently effortless, bringing debonair virtuosity and swagger to the piece. All in all, a world of ensemble performances and memorable soloing evoked as few could even hope to try.
Track list: 1: Oh, What a Beautiful Morning; 2: Duke Ellington’s Sounds of Love; 3: Detour Ahead; 4: Bebop; 5: You Must Believe in Spring; 6: Can’t You See; Moon and Sand; 7: Jeannine; 8: Hindsight
Personnel – Dave Young: co-leader, bass and arranger; Terry Promane: co-leader, trombone, arranger; Kevin Turcotte: trumpet and flugelhorn; Vern Dorge: alto saxophone; Mike Murley: tenor saxophone; Perry White: baritone saxophone; David Restivo: piano; Terry Clarke: drums
Released – 2017
Label – Modica Music
Runtime – 1:09:39