Chet Doxas – You Can’t Take It With You (2021)
FLAC (tracks) 24bit/96kHz | Time – 53:14 minutes | 944 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Whirlwind Recordings
Juno-winning saxophonist Chet Doxas is a guiding voice in the world of creative improvised music. Doxas, co-leader of Riverside with trumpeter Dave Douglas and a respected collaborator of Carla Bley and Paul Bley, joins Whirlwind for You Can’t Take It With You, his ninth album as a leader and first at the head of a trio. He’s joined by two stand-out collaborators, Ethan Iverson (piano) and Thomas Morgan (bass) – for a meticulously constructed album with playful positivity at its heart.
Both the inspiration and the encouragement to put this album together can be traced back to Carla Bley. Jimmy Giuffre’s trio was a big influence on Doxas – “the way he shapes and articulates is one of a kind” – and the group regularly featured Bley’s music. An early-morning airport transfer saw Doxas discussing future plans with Bley and Steve Swallow, who advised Doxas to write “one song a month”, distraction- free for a year. The ten tracks on the album represent a year spent writing and closely editing his compositions. That process gradually revealed his trio, selected for their personal sensibilities as much as their outstanding technical capabilities. “Ethan and Thomas’s tones are very inspiring. I wanted to let myself be guided by their sound palettes, and focus on phrasing in a way that’s a little more multidimensional.”
Doxas’ music is serious in both its commitment to humour and in its quest to find a deeper positivity beyond the tongue-in-cheek. “The whole album is playing with the universal joke of how seriously we can take ourselves versus how serious things really are.” ‘You Can’t Take It With You’ is suitably macabre, lowering incrementally over the course of the track. ‘Lodestar (for Lester Young)’ is a nod to the single note rhythmic fantasies Young was fond of late in his career; in typical Doxas fashion, it meets the music of Louis Andriessen head on, as Iverson ventures inside of the piano. ‘Cheryl and George’ is a take on Body and Soul and a tribute to his parents, ending a trio of tracks with a chromatic focus. ‘Part of a Memory’ is a meeting of timbres, an exercise in bass and saxophone matching tones half-remembered from a dream. ‘Twelve Foot Blues’ is a whimsical tribute to Mark Twain, before ‘The Last Pier’ creates “the soundtrack to a scene that doesn’t exist”. ‘Soapbox’ flexes a political muscle, taking aim at America’s frustrating news covering and channelling Ornette Coleman in speech-like patter- tones. There’s a strong imaginative streak running through the album, inspired by youthful energy of Bley, Swallow and guitarist Jim Hall – ‘Up There In The Woods’ is the tune Doxas “would have taken to Jim Hall’s house”, while ‘All The Roads’ is based on a Mr Rogers non-speech – a track with a single focus that asks for grateful reflection. ‘View from a Bird’ concludes the album in a creative take on the art of Joan Miro.
Eminently imaginative in inspiration, construction and delivery, Doxas’ trio gels immediately to create a varied emotional palette.
1. You Can’t Take It with You (08:45)
2. Lodestar (For Lester Young) (04:27)
3. Cheryl and George (06:27)
4. Part of a Memory (02:24)
5. Twelve Foot Blues (05:54)
6. The Last Pier (07:26)
7. Soapbox (03:26)
8. Up There in the Woods (06:08)
9. All the Roads (03:19)
10. View from a Bird (04:58)