EXTENDED PLAY: VERSATILE CANADIAN GUITARISTS SCORE
Ken Waxman, The Whole Note, January 28 2010
Toronto’s Ken Aldcroft takes an organic approach on Our Hospitality
(Trio Records TRP-010 www.kenaldcroft.ca), situating his axe within his top-flight Convergence Ensemble filled out by trumpeter Nicole Rampersaud, trombonist Scott Thomson, alto saxophonist Evan Shaw, bassist Wes Neal and drummer Joe Sorbara. Long-time colleagues, this relationship means that Aldcroft’s eight compositions are extended with instant arrangements and sympathetic improvisations throughout. Just a Hint and Dialoguing illuminate this. On the former, Sorbara’s paradiddles set up each soloist’s understated parallel lines while discursive guitar plucks maintain spectral separation. Eventually Rampersaud’s fluttering grace notes provide connective sinew as she ascends the scale. A group improv, Dialoguing matches the trumpeter’s flutter-tonguing with moderato and legato trills from Shaw. All the while Thomson’s trombone is slurring and shuffling on its own tangent, as is Aldcroft’s circular, finger-styled pacing. When the plectrumist introduces below-the-bridge hammering plus metallic crunches, it’s Neal’s bass line that steadies the narrative from below.