single post

Chet Doxas in a New York Times Review for Riverside !!

The New York Times header




NATE CHINEN, New-York Times, APRIL 14, 2014




One of the lovelier songs on “Riverside,” the self-titled debut album of a sturdily approachable new jazz quartet, bears the title “Old Church, New Paint.” A slow waltz by the tenor saxophonist and clarinetist Chet Doxas, from Montreal, it inhabits a kind of arid terrain between Protestant hymn and cowboy tune.

The industrious trumpeter Dave Douglas, who actually made a recent album of hymns, joins Mr. Doxas on the melody, helping give the impression of deliberative but bluesy determination. Steve Swallow, the electric bassist, lays both a foundation and a light dusting of grace notes, while Jim Doxas, a drummer (and Chet’s brother) stirs the pulse with brushes. The band, which will appear at the Jazz Standard on Tuesday and Wednesday, sounds at ease with itself, and anything but hurried.

Riverside grew out of a shared respect for the Texas-born multireedist Jimmy Giuffre, who during the 1950s and ‘60s cut a path from swing and West Coast bop toward an early, untroubled strain of free jazz. Mr. Douglas and Chet Doxas, on learning that they both loved Giuffre’s music, conceived of a setting for new work in the same spirit, reaching out to Mr. Swallow, who played in an influential edition of the Jimmy Giuffre 3.

The album includes one Giuffre tune, “The Train and the River,” which semi-famously graced television (“The Sound of Jazz,” on CBS) and film (“Jazz on a Summer’s Day,” Bert Stern’s documentary about the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival). Elsewhere, the album sees fit merely to evoke Giuffre’s airy, wide-open harmonic sensibility and a loose frame of jazz-historical reference. (“Old Church, New Paint” suggests a nod to the Gil Evans album “New Bottle Old Wine,” which came from the same cohort and time period.)

Chet Doxas, who has never had a high profile in this country even by a jazz metric, hits his every mark, with a soulful and rhythmically assertive style on tenor saxophone and a warm, woodsy tone on clarinet. Mr. Douglas, who wrote most of the tunes, is even more squarely in his element, though there’s a fresh tang in his rapport with Mr. Swallow, whose rubbery, insinuative bass lines are the key to the album’s deeper charms. However the homage to Giuffre plays out, this is a band that could easily keep going for a while without running out of options.