By any measure, Canadian born Dave Dunlop’s first CD as a leader sounds like a piece of work that has stood the test of measurement in terms of authenticity and creativity. For the most part, ‘The Hang’ is one of those recordings that seemingly grabs hold of a listener from the very first track. Classified as a smooth jazz release, ‘The Hang’ has all the remnants of an improvised contemporary soul jazz recording that was often heard during the 1970s on both jazz and R&B radio stations everywhere. The album is fresh, vibrant and full of energized rhythms, all of which come together under a melodic umbrella of simplified fusion-induced grooves.
Dave Dunlop brings a specialized cast of characters to ‘The Hang,’ making the CD a joy to be within earshot of, as each member of the band in his own way makes a specific texturized statement. Keyboardist Jim McGrath, pianist Doug Riley and saxophonist John Johnson serve as melody makers , but guitarists Jim Tait, David Baxter, Fred Blumas, Steve D’Angelo, bassist Pat Killbride and drummer Mark Kelso have struck harmonic chords containing finesse and charismatic creativity. With Dunlop’s contributions on the trumpet and flugelhorn, the circle is complete in melding all the band’s individualized components under one commonality of enriched tonal quality. Through 11 impressive tracks that highlight two mesmerizing covers as heard on "Alfie" and "Slinky," Dave Dunlop and his band offer something uncompromising to a style of jazz that is often understated and definitely overrated.When listening to ‘The Hang,’ one can’t help but be impressed by the album’s thoughtful infusion of melodies and rhythms. There are cool and hypnotic grooves that are tied to a foundation of intuitive harmonic dynamics. The soulful influences that are tied to this finely tuned release are sure to cause a high level of anticipation that awaits the next installment originating from Dave Dunlop.