Ear Contact: January Sun, Alex Varty, The Georgia Straight June 29- July 6/2000.


Some say the essence of jazz is swing, but another way of looking at the music is to consider it the art of conversation between musicians. That seems to be the view taken by pianist George McFetridge and guitarist Ken Aldcroft in their ear Contact duo: January Sun is more meditative than conventionally jazzy, but you can't fault either player's articulate voice, or the rapport that they have developed.

As a fellow guitarist, I sometimes wish that Aldcroft would take a more ecstatic approach to his instrument: his playing is always measured, rarely exploring the outer reaches of emotion or timbre. Here, though, his calm plucking serves as a foil for McFetridge's more expressive gestures, a kind of canvas upon which the pianist can brush bright stripes of feeling. In some paradoxical way, Aldcroft's restraint seems to have freed Mcfetridge's imagination, and the resulting interplay is quite lovely.