Downtown Music Gallery
A few times a year, Toronto-based guitarist, Ken Aldcroft, sends us a new disc for one of his several ongoing projects. I am always surprised by the quality of each and every disc and the fact that we sell just one or two of each disc. We've listed more than a dozen discs so far and each one has had different personnel: solo, duos, trios and even a larger ensemble. For this one, Ken has put together fine quintet with a couple of names I only know from his previous discs. There are three pieces here, all named "Threads" parts II, III or I. Rather than sounding completely free, Ken has written some intricate parts for each member of the quintet. The guitar and alto sax play a good deal of unison lines with the synth-led rhythm team backing them tightly. Since each of these pieces is more than 18 minutes in length, then work their way through a series of sections. There is a long section where the drummer plays with brushes & mallets stretching out time like strolling through the desert. The sax and guitar play this long, slow melody together while the piece is slowly transformed as the tempo gradually increases. These pieces unfold in logical ways yet remain unpredictable in the way they evolve thematically. One must be patient in order to see how they develop over a long period of time. The analog synth player rarely gets a chance to solo yet he is integral to the written parts involved. There are a good deal of surprising twists and turns when you least expect them. Almost too much to take in yet the committed will be rewarded once they here this work in its entirety.