Guitarist Shan Arsenault is an experienced sideman on the Canadian jazz scene, who has performed with countless musicians, bands and has participated in various jazz festivals throughout Canada, including the prestigious Montreal International Jazz Festival. Among his many credits are two appearances on the Canadian CBC radio program "Jazz Beat," which aired nationwide and has been rebroadcast several times. This new release, The Jazz Beat Sessions, is in effect a compilation of the music recorded in those two sessions.
The Jazz Beat Sessions CD is a recording of seven original Arsenault compositions and two standards. The music is soft and mellow in a non-traditional progressive jazz style. The trio includes bassist Jamie Gatti and drummers Tom Roach and Dave Burton, who share the drum duties on different tracks.
With only the basic three instruments producing the music, you'll hear plenty of solos from Arsenault as well as from bassist Gatti. Arsenault plays the chords with effortless motion. The guitar riffs are crisp and clear and dominate the tunes with style. There are examples of this on the third track "That Something" where he plays those guitar runs with ease and cool. On "Fiddlehead" Arsenault turns up the beat accompanied by some nice section work on drums and a bass solo.
On the Burke/Haggart composition "What's New," the music begins and remains soft and low tempo with periodic and graceful guitar solos that highlight this artist's talent and mastery of the instrument. This is a beautiful rendition of this standard. The other standard on this recording is the old Charlie Parker number "Confirmation," which opens with a short Gatti bass solo that is followed by an Arsenault run and includes a couple of drum solos that combine for a fine finish.
The Jazz Beat Sessions is an album that provides a brief but interesting look at the talents of a wonderful guitarist icon in the making. His refreshing new writing and gentle treatment of the melodies through his musicianship seem to make the music flow with sophistication and grace.