jazz, eh? - The Whole Note
Toronto guitarist Ken Aldcroft's Convergence Ensemble has released a 2-CD set of the leader's compositions called Sneaky Pete/Slugs' (Trio Records try 015, kenaldcroft.com). Disc one is a collection of pieces that emphasizes sub-groups and solo improvisations; Disc two, by the full sextet, presents Slugs': Suite for Sun Ra, named for the New York club where Sun Ra once played regularly. It's animated at once by Aldcroft's melodies and swaying rhythms, but it's elevated by the focused improvisations of the ensemble, from Aldcroft's own divergent approaches (sometimes a lyrical minimalism, at other times tumbling, rapid flurries of notes) to the extended techniques of trumpeter Nicole Rampersaud, playing multiple tones at once, and trombonist Scott Thomson who explores seemingly contradictory low-pitched whistles. The final piece, combining themes from both Sneaky Pete and Slugs', goes through numerous textures, highlighted by the intensity of saxophonist Evan Shaw.