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Sunday, January 14, 2007

Michael Bates - A Fine Balance

In 2005 Michael Bates, a Canadian bass player, issued Outside Sources, a very promising album. His second, "A Fine Balance", figures in my top-10 list of 2006. Outside Sources is now the name of the band, consisting of Quinsin Nachsoff on sax and bass clarinet, Mark Timmermans on drums, and Kevin Turcotte on trumpet. This is jazz that digs deep into a broad array of source material. Bates himself cites Shostakovich, Prokoviev, Miles Davis, Tony Malaby, Dave Douglas and middle-eastern music. The music remains 100% jazz, though, with strong compositions offering lots of space for improvisation. The addition of Kevin Turcotte on this album creates more interaction than on the first CD, and by consequence also more depth and perspective to the music. It is obvious that Bates looks for effect and beauty through his compositions, and with success. The result is adventurous jazz, with in each piece sufficient bends in the road to keep surprising you with the new view you get once you've taken the turn.

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