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Magic Numbers by Quinsin Nachoff

Quinsin Nachoff’s Magic Numbers, is all that and quite a bit more, magical that is. A multi-textured work of musical artistry, blending different genres within a framework of saxophonic melody. Mr. Nachoff accomplishes this feat with the able-bodied support of his featured musicians, Mark Helias on bass and Jim Black on drums, a rhythm section of solidity, with improvisational skills founded on a jazz idiom. Texturing the compositions to an even greater depth is the string quartet, featuring violinists Nathalie Bonin and Noemi Racine Gaudreault, Jean Rene playing the viola and Julie Trudeau on the cello. The addition of the string section provides richness, a depth of tonal enchantment that propels this CD into the realm of classical jazz.

This is a fascinating recording from a gifted musician and composer, there are wonderful liner notes included with the CD that put you closer to the compositional process. A quote from the liner notes, " In these works I seek a diplomatic blend of musical genres." Nachoff goes on to describe his composition, "How Postmodern of Me" a song of multi-layered textures and mixed styles that are brought to life by the artistry and subtlety of drummer Jim Black.

The composition "October," is a melancholy number that evokes images of a grey day, the saxophone melody is stirring, a lyrical smooth tone that blends with the strings perfectly. The drums are a backdrop of rain splashing on the windows, with oscillated cymbals that emulate the October winds. An inspired Mark Helias bass break with string accompaniment, providing a sustained background leads to some beautiful string playing and then back once more to Mr. Nachoff for a final lyrical line before the strings once again, take over to fade out gently.

Some of the compositions shift time, creating a hypnotic pulse that circles in your mind with no sense of a beginning or an end, as you can never find the downbeat, such is the composition "Circles & Waves." A haunting cello played col arco finds the beginning quite passionately and softly drifts away to make room for different stringed instruments to approach, thus building - as waves cresting to break upon one another. The saxophone of Nachoff weaves in and out, sometimes sounding as a Mid-Eastern charmer other times emulating the strings in tone and charm.

The Quinsin Nachoff Magic Numbers album must be sampled first hand in order to appreciate the depth of artistry presented. Mr. Nachoff aspires to create a new style of music, a unique voice, he is well on his way, the creative process is evident and operating at a superior level. Magic Numbers is intriguing, engaging, sophisticated and much more than that, is a delight to listen to, quite simply - excellent music.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Quinsin Nachoff
  • CD Title: Magic Numbers
  • Genre: Contemporary Jazz / Modern
  • Year Released: 2006
  • Record Label: Songlines Recordings
  • Tracks: There & Back, To Solar Piazza, How Postmodern of Me, October, Branches, Circles & Waves, Whorls, Sun-Day
  • Musicians: Quinsin Nachoff (tenor/ soprano saxophone), Mark Helias (bass), Jim Black (drums), Nathalie Bonin (violin), Noemi Racine Gaudreault (violin), Jean Rene (viola), Julie Trudeau (cello)
  • Rating: Five Stars
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