5 out of 5 Stars
At just 23 years of age, tenor saxophonist and composer Landen Vieira is quickly emerging as a force to be reckoned with in the Toronto jazz scene. A student of the storied University of Toronto, Landen in his stunning debut album shows what jazz should be all about in this day and age.
Landen is one who really respects the tradition of the music at such a young age. In an age where young jazz cats are forgetting about swing, blues, groove, feel in favour of abstract explorations, odd time signatures, and making the music contemporary, Landen is showing everyone that it is cool to innovate yourself while still honouring the storied traditions of the jazz idiom.
For instance, “Light Piece” is a spritely bebop line that opens with sheer intensity and breakneck swing from Landen and his storied quartet of pianist Adrean Farrugia, bassist Malcolm Connor, and drummer Ethan Ardelli. “Do It” is a groovy hard bop number that gets the core of the blues and groove down solid and doesn’t even let go.
However, two of my favourite pieces of the album, tend to show Landen at his most expressive and his most soulful. “Dove” is probably one of the most effective ballads ever written by the current young cats, which brings an Ellingtonian vibe into the mix that is purely sublime. The title track “Dream”, shifts from 12/8 Latin feel into a driving 4/4 minor groove that is completely arresting and sorely theatrical.
If you want a CD from a young cat who knows the history of the music and does it with such conviction, run, don’t walk to pick up this record. This may very well be the best debut record coming from a young jazz musician in the year of 2015, signaling the glorious hope of the future of jazz in Canadian culture.