On a cool Wednesday evening, I was serenaded with the hard swinging sounds of a trio led by a young Canadian jazz lion named Jeff Halischuk. In a program consisting of standards and jazz classics, Mr. Halischuk and his trio manage to capture the essence of swing, groove, and soul while at times taking the music into new directions.
The set opens with a slower than usual take on Charles Lloyd’s “Sweet Georgia Bright”, infusing a sense of New Orleans groove and backbeat into the piece when breaking through into a tight swinging groove. Saxophonist Chris Gale takes a spirited solo on his tenor sax, whereas Mark Cashion provides solid timekeeping throughout the piece.
The standard “I Fall in Love Too Easily” is taken in a ¾ waltz feel that brings a certain kind of movement to an otherwise slow ballad piece. Lover is taken at breakneck speed, whereas the mood cools down for Mal Waldron’s “Soul Eyes”, taken at a pensive, reflective tempo.
On the last two songs, the easy swing comes back with their light and heavenly take on Jerome Kern’s “Nobody Else But Me”, and then the night closes with a Latin take on Duke Ellington’s classic spiritual piece, Come Sunday.
Throughout this performance I witnessed how complete a drummer Jeff Halischuk is at such a young age. He’s got good rhythmic conceptions and has the means to provide great colors for the soloists and rhythm members in his group. Chris Gale plays with a sense of soul and swing that is unmatched and Mark Cashion keeps time and groove with a succinct stability. Hoping to hear more of this band in the future, but be sure to catch this trio at the Rex while you can.
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