Medicine Hat News
Music critics love to come up with classifications for artists so they can plug them in, make comparisons and feel like they can evaluate a performer based on how he or she stacks up to the others in this genre.
Thank goodness for musicians like Zubot and Dawson who remind us that music is about sound - it is a wide-open space limited only by the creative minds of the people behind the instruments. Like a chicken scratching its way around the farm ward, this 2002 release pokes its head into the worlds of folk, world, bluegrass, jazz, blues and country. More than just a collection of musical styles, however, this is a creative romp through the musical minds of these two western Canadian musicians. Seemingly unfettered by the musical definitions of style, Zubot and Dawson are sitting down with their arsenal of violins, mandolins, guitars and electronic gear and having a conversation - picking one anothers' brains and probing one anothers' souls.
There is a high level of interaction between these two. They play off of one another with an uncanny intuition. They have also brought on board some of the west coast's finest sidemen, including young jazz greats Chris Gestrin, Brad Turner, Francois Houle and Toronto bassist Andrew Downing. The musical landscape of this CD is rich and interesting without being cluttered. While the violin and guitar sit out front, the texture also contains organ and various keyboards, percussion, and a variety of electronic and synthesized sounds.
Zubot and Dawson play with various so-called odd meters with an ease that doesn't make them sound odd at all. It reminds me of performing the Stravinsky L'Hisoire Du Soldat at Northwestern University and having the director tell us that when he asked the dancers how they managed the odd meters of 5/4 and so on, they replied that they didn't know what he was talking about. The music had such a flow they could easily find a pulse and move with it in a very natural way. The music on this reminds me of that. No matter what Jesse and Steve are doing with the time, it flows effortlessly.
Jesse Zubot grew up in Mendham, Sask. and took his musical training at the Medicine Hat College. He was just named jazz violinist of the year at the National Jazz Awards. This is a testament not only to his great technical ability and creativity but to the way in which he and his partner have worked at getting their faces and their music in front of the public from coast to coast. The commitment has paid off in a mature sounding album that is sure to attract even more interest from critics and music fans alike.
- Lyle Rebbeck