Dave Young, Lotus Blossom (Modica Music)
Young, the bassist praised by Oscar Peterson for his “harmonic simpatico and unerring sense of time” when he was a member of Peterson’s trio, leads seven gifted fellow Canadians. His beautifully recorded bass is the underpinning of a relaxed session in which his swing is a force even during quiet moments. That is apparent beginning in the classic Billy Strayhorn composition that gives the album its title. With Renee Rosnes at the piano and Terry Clarke drumming, Young solos on the bridge section of all three choruses of the tune, his sound at once penetrating, soft and muscular. There is much else to recommend the album, but its character arises from Young’s tonal quality. Rosnes and guitarist Reg Schwager each achieve reflective, swinging bossa relaxation in “Modinha,” an Antonio Carlos Jobim tune played less often than many of the composer’s better- known creations. This version may bring it greater attention.
Schwager finds the swinging, humorous, center of “Red Cross,” a Charlie Parker “I Got Rhythm” variation dating from 1944. Schwager’s guitar gets first billing in the Dexter Gordon composition “Fried Bananas,” based on the harmonies of “It Could Happen To You,” but Clarke’s drum solo comes close to stealing the track. The veteran Bernie Senensky takes over the piano chair in Cedar Walton’s “Bolivia” and Jimmy Van Heusen’s “I Thought About You,” in which the fluidity of Senensky’s solo is advanced by Clarke’s inspired brushes and cymbals, and Young phrases his solo as if he were a horn player. The album closes with two guest artists who are horn players, trumpeter Kevin Turcotte and tenor saxophonist Perry White. They each solo on “Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise.” Young has another penetrating bass solo, then the horns circle one another before they end the track and the album in close—really close—harmony.