Time Warp is one of those amazingly tight-knit, highly synchronized jazz combos comprising some of the best jazzmen ever produced by Canada. "Warp IX" is a new album issued by them to celebrate 20 years of recording and performing. On the whole, the trumpeter Kevin Turcotte makes a conspicuous impact with his fluid style and mellifluous lines. Matching him step for step, in the complex battle for impromptu improvisation is the bright newcomer, Kelly Jefferson with his alto and soprano sax. Together they indeed make music, and what wonderful music, too.
Al Henderson the bassist of formidable repute, with equally weighty contributions to his name as a composer, kicks off the proceedings on a very lively note with his own number "Gridlock" -a haunting melody that tends to adhere to one’s memory with the tenacity of a limpet, long after the music has faded. The second number "Rain Delay" is certainly more jazzy and the musicians indulge unconsciously in free jazz for a lark.... it does sound very satisfying. Henderson showcases his mastery over the bass, in no uncertain terms, setting a soothing background for Jefferson to come sneaking in with his very vocal sax -whispering loud sweet nothings. The number sounds almost like an unintentionally public broadcast of a spirited coochie-cooing bout between a male trumpet and a female sax.... Extremely interesting piece, composed by the famous drummer Barry Elmes, a group leader in his own right.
"Big Supper" composed by saxophonist Kelly Jefferson bursts onto the scene next. A powerhouse duet between trumpet and sax ensues in all seriousness and the listener is left exhausted by the sheer wizardry let loose by the contenders. The style employed in the next number a tribute to the great Eric Dolphy, entitled "Theme For Eric Dolphy" written by Henderson, is rather reminiscent of Dizzy Gillespie in his bebop heydays, with a touch of Chuck Mangione -when he plays the trumpet instead of the Fluegelhorn. The sax wielded by Jefferson is crisp, sharply punctuated and full of vim and vigor throughout. "Jaye" composed by Kevin Turcotte is not written entirely for the trumpet, but it gives ample scope to the sax to have its say leisurely -the predominant theme running as a shining thread through this melody that of a nostalgic longing for nameless faces and faceless places : it borders on the fanciful, and slyly turns hugely lyrical as it rolls ahead.
The next number "Floyd’s Got Spunk"composed by the drummer Barry Elmes, also slithers fabulously along the same groove, with a sterling solo on bass provided by Henderson once the saxophone and trumpet have emptied out their bagful of crisp statements. Pretty ‘free’ jazz, indeed. Elmes shows off some complex rhythms that both sax and trumpet manage to wrestle with convincingly. "Baalim" from Henderson’s pen borders on the lighter side of avant garde with an usual rhythm and the bickering between sax and trumpet getting wilder by the moment.... it’s an entertaining number. Elmes takes a very relaxed solo on the drums, displaying his percussion skills convincingly.
Time Warp wraps up the proceedings rather elegantly with " Wilbur Ware" by Al Henderson, a number taut with an inherent tension so ably created by the two chief protagonists here, Jefferson on sax and Turcotte on trumpet. A group that has lasted 20 years, and with whom an internationally acclaimed and highly talented saxophonist like Mike Murley has associated himself proudly for 15 years, has to swing.
Time Warp swings, and swings to lofty heights.