The October Trio
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The October Trio

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"All About Jazz Italy - "Looks Like Its Going To Snow""

Sì, potrebbe essere questa frase, scritta tra le note di copertina da Greg Buium, a fotografare l'attitudine dell'October Trio. Potrebbe, appunto. Perché se da una parte il suono di Looks Like It's Going to Snow rispecchia i colori tenui di uno scenario nordico, limpido e malinconico, dall'altra mette in mostra una nutrita varietà di situazioni che fanno venir in mente tonalità più accese, vive.
A cominciare dai brevi segmenti free-form in scaletta, al gusto vagamente poppettaro dell'ottima "Springs," e anche dalla snellezza di brani come "Found". Momenti ai quali si congiungono alcune atmosfere più buie, introverse, come quelle descritte nelle title-track, e le diramazioni della "Progress Suite," autentico momento clou dell'intero lavoro.
I tre giovani canadesi non sono soli, e si sente. Brad Turner, il trombettista che nel 2006 produsse il loro Day In, li accompagna in maniera costante, con una presenza di spessore. I suoi interventi sono il valore aggiunto dell'intero lavoro (ascoltate, ad esempio, il lirismo di "Give"), dal momento che il solo tenorista Evan Arntzen, pur meritevole, non sarebbe riuscito a imprimere un così alto grado di espressività.
Looks Like It's Going to Snow è un disco godibile, che sa stimolare la curiosità dell'ascoltatore grazie a idee originali e freschissime: d'altra parte l'autunno, in Canada, è davvero freddo.

di Roberto Paviglianiti
- All About Jazz Italy


"Popmatters.com - Live Review"

Opening for Holland et al. was another Canadian group with a strong reach into the U.S. Last year The October Trio released a brilliant album on Songlines, adding the Vancouver trumpet player Brad Turner to their arrangements. At the Center, the quartet inhabited a place deliciously between the overt near-rock modernism of The Bad Plus or Medeski, Martin & Wood and the harmonic modernism of artists like Holland. Tune to tune, it was a brainy kind of pleasure—never obvious, but rocking enough that the whole hall was in these young guys’ hands. And it couldn’t have hurt that the Vancouver audience felt they hearing some hometown (or home-area) heroes. - Will Layman - Popmatters.com


"Coda Magazine - "Day In""

A product of the coastal jazz community of Vancouver, BC, the October Trio (bassist Josh Cole, saxophonist Evan Arntzen,, and drummer Dan Gaucher) evolved through a continuous process of playing small shows in clubs around town. This release, produced by the trio and trumpeter/pianist Brad Turner, is a mature piece of soundcraft for an ensemble still in their 20s. The compositions (mostly written by Cole though credit for the title track is shared with the saxophonist) have a presence that is well developed, a full sound that is modern yet not derivative. Arntzen's sparse tenor style complements this approach, drawing his tone from older stylistic models, perhaps influenced by his father Tom Arntzen, an estimable player on the West Coast scene. The composition "Day In" reveals something of the personality of this unit, its hypnotic theme suggesting the influence of composer Wayne Shorter on these young musicians.

With such economy of expression in this trio, there is an understanding of the importance of silence in this music, the superfluous boiled away in the process of its creation. The trio swings mightily with Gaucher and Cole receiving the benefit of Turner's extensive recording experiences as a leader of his own bands. The recording capture of the bass allows the listener to hear the husky depth and bark of Cole's playing alongside Gaucher's restless percussion.

The trio favors a straight-ahead concept on this disc with nothing allowed to run on past its inspiration. It is often rumored that reputations in jazz are founded on a solo of 16 bars. This unit has taken that message to heart and the results are to be found here. - Steve Vickery, CODA magazine - CODA Magazine


"DownBeat Magazine - "Looks Like Its Going To Snow""

3 and 1/2 stars

It's always dangerous to associate a specific sound or approach to composition with one geographic region, but the mountains, rain forests and coastal waters around Vancouver seem to inspire musicians towards somber, nature-directed reflection. It's a sound-scape you hear in the work of Ingrid Jesnen and even from Diana Krall when she moves away from standards. It's inescapable on this recording, too.

Trumpeter Brad Turner is the known factor here. His wistful-yet-bell-clear sound has become so ubiquitous in Vancouver that the three younger musicians of the October Trio view him as a mentor and designed this music with him in mind. He integrates with them so well that it's difficult to imagine the band without him; indeed, on the one brief improvised trio piece, it's evident that something's missing.

Looks Like It's Going To Snow presents an exceptionally varied program that swings between "Flip," a 49-second burst of improvised dialogues, and "The Progress Suite," which extrapolates a quote by C.S. Lewis into a three-part inward journey. Principle composer, bassist Josh Cole, explores broad rhythmic ground as well, launching the CD with a bumpy ride inspired by Jason Moran's Bandwagon and ending on the deeply meditative "Wait," one of several showcases for Turner. The interplay between the dark, rich melodies and the rhythmic material Cole and drummer Dan Gaucher work with gives the recording its depth. That interplay is most evident on Cole's "Give (Sydney Carton)," which balances a melancholy trumpet/tenor lead with a mysterious, stalking bass/drum part, and Gaucher's cyclical "Springs,", which was inspired by studies with Dave Douglas at the Bandd improvisation workshop.

Remarkably well recorded, this is a CD with a tangible sense of place.
- James Hale
- DownBeat Magazine


"Jazz Times - "Looks Like Its Going To Snow""

Why was there ever any fuss about pianoless quartets? The October Trio (tenor saxophonist Evan Arntzen, bassist Josh Cole and drummer Dan Gaucher) and their trumpet-playing cohort Brad Turner play full arrangements and rich harmonies just fine without keys on the excellent Looks Like It's Going To Snow. The Vancouver confederates' postbop travels many paths, but their ability to maximize the sound of their small ensemble underpins all of them.

Much of the album has another common thread: sensitive lyricism, frequently provided by Turner ("Found") or Cole ("Springs"). But no single instrumentalist defines any track: Arntzen's weary statements on "Give (Sydney Carton)," for example, have weight only by virtue of the rhythm section's spidery patterns and Turner's languid responses on flugelhorn. The disc's avant-garde efforts aren't so lyrical, but the ensemble never wavers. Give the intensity of the 49-second blast "Flip," the quartet might well be a big band. The centerpiece, "The Progress Suite," combines atonality wit peculiar melodicism (a la Ornette); its the second section is the closest the band comes to minimalism, dominated by Cole and scattered cymbal shots from Gaucher, but it's bounded by lush phrasings from Turner and Arntzen that reassert the collective's strength.

Looks Like Its Going To Snow has no shortage of strengths, from intriguing compositions to extraordinarily inventive players, but at its core it really is all about the ensemble. If bands once went without pianos for the sake of derring-do, the Octobers and Turner do so for the sake of their own self-possession. - Jazz Times


"Popmatters.com - "Looks Like Its Going To Snow""

Canada may not seem like the very swinging-est place on the map. All that cold weather and amiability does not exactly scream “Miles Davis” or “New Orleans”.

But then again, the USA’s Neighbor to the North produced Oscar Peterson and Diana Krall. Not exactly small potatoes. It is also the home to Songlines Records, a jazz label that can legitimately be called second to none in 2009.

With Looks Like It’s Going to Snow, Songlines gives a boost to Canadian jazz. The October Trio, supplemented here by veteran Canadian trumpeter/bandleader Brad Turner, is the real deal. This release leaps to the ear with melody, groove, intelligence, and a heaping dose of personality.

The October Trio consists of three former students from a Canadian music program: Evan Arntzen on tenor sax, Josh Cole on bass, and Dan Gaucher on drums. They have made waves and won awards at home, but this release storms across the border like a band of pleasant renegades, riding on the backs of ten impressively strong compositions by Cole. They sound like they were conceived directly for the quartet that plays them, a group that seems to have attained chemistry and artistic purpose.

Of course, we expect quartets with this instrumentation to remind us of the groups led by Ornette Coleman or Gerry Mulligan. But 45 years down the road, that need not be true any more—and it isn’t here. Cole can be coolly lyrical, he can write a controlled “classical” counterpoint, he can drop in some funk, and he can also let the improvisers loose in the stratosphere.

The title track begins with a long bass solo by Cole over a mid-tempo but loose drum groove reminiscent of Dave Holland. The horns speak an interwoven written statement before the solos, which sound like feeling conversation and actually turn into a high-wire collective improvisation toward the end. It all ends with a unison theme that we haven’t heard before, a fresh approach to the jazz orthodoxy that never really sounds like it’s breaking the rules.

Among the marvelous elements of Going to Snow is the way it easily and off-handedly incorporates funk and rock elements without becoming a collection that is dominated by a backbeat aesthetic. “Springs” allows Cole to drop hard-thumped quarter notes set against a backbeat, but the melody plays out as a set of slow triplets on top of the groove, followed by a sudden two-note hiccup. As the improvisations develop, Cole and Gaucher allow more stutters and irregularities to complicate their groove, particularly during the improvised duet between the two horns. This is relatively free playing that does not neglect to let you have some fun.

Much of the fun on Going to Snow is mixed with smarts. The ambitious “Progress Suite” begins with a rubbery ostinato bassline that Gaucher accompanies with rolling, expansive drumming. It is the farthest thing from a “rock groove”, and yet it is the kind of funky playing that flows from the principles of soul music. The quartet uses this solid foundation to produce the freest playing on the record for a patch, and then Gaucher lays in a New Orleans-informed backbeat.

It’s typical of this group, however, that on the same track the rhythm players lay out for a while to create a sense of chamber delicacy. Similarly, on “Found”—initially dominated by a grooving bassline—the harmonic movement becomes increasingly interesting over time, with Turner soloing in a mournful mellow mood as the chords shift beneath him. “Give (Sydney Carton)” begins with a riveting free duet between trumpet and tenor sax that resolves into a stately theme. “Bird Colony” appears to be collectively improvised from start to finish, yet it exhibits tremendous organization and clarity. In short, this is a record of impressive—and resolved—contradictions.

This is the kind of richness and power that jazz in 2009 is boasting from so many quarters. When you realize that Canada is a hotbed of multi-pronged, original jazz, it is clear that the music is in a huge variety of good hands. Here, in the October Trio, are six more—more than ready to turn the music on its head even as they boost it up. - www.popmatters.com


"All About Jazz - "Looks Like Its Going To Snow""

Collaborations can be effective if all the participants are on the same wavelength. In this instance, Evan Arntzen (tenor saxophone), Josh Cole (acoustic bass), and Dan Gaucher (drums) were the first, when they formed The October Trio in 2004 after they met at a jazz program. Two years later
they met Brad Turner (trumpet and flugelhorn) and a new relationship was forged. The Trio and Turner make for a strong and comfortable fellowship. Proof lies in Looks Like it's Going to Snow, their first CD together.

Cole is the main composer and he set about writing for the group in 2006. His compositions as well as those by the others are atmospheric. The artful conceptions prime the written notes but they also focus on the individuality of the players to open the path for their journey. Each, however, has his own sense of direction, which makes the whole an
exemplary summation of its parts. "The Progress Suite" serves to conceptualize the music and the approach of the band. Freedom and composition work in tandem and in juxtaposition. The melody sings a delightful song and then disappears leavening the field for Arntzen and Turner to set out again on the paths their imaginations unfurl. They do
so in the lockstep of seamless parallel lines and by ricocheting off each other. Surprise springs up constantly. Lush and sparse, fragmented and whole, detailed ornamentation and scraggly linearity are clasped in indelible logic.

The band goes out into unfettered freedom for 49 seconds on the yowling, fiery "Flip," an incendiary exercise that sidles into "Give (Sydney Carton)." Arntzen, who in tandem with Turner, initially sets up a chamber music atmosphere, turns to freer modes on his own. Turner crafts his journey with a fluid straight on focus, his playing warm and rhapsodic. Throughout, Turner and Arntzen set up the pillars of harmony and invention. The cycle is made all the moreappealing by Cole and Gaucher who are steady yet pliant in setting up the rhythm. A winning strategy that is highly satisfying. - AllAboutJazz.com


"Audaud.com - "Looks Like Its Going To Snow""

Many distinguished newer jazz artists are finding inspirations and
exploring artistic work that is outside of jazz circles, and Canadian
threesome The October Trio is no exception. Bassist Josh Cole, who
wrote the lion’s share of the group’s third outing, Looks Like It’s Going to Snow, cites Björk and Wayne Shorter as influences, and Cole’s technicolor,
forward-looking material certainly exposes those roots, and more.

Looks Like It’s Going to Snow was specifically written for a quartet setting. Cole wanted to resume The October Trio’s collaborative
association with renowned Canadian trumpeter and producer Brad Turner,
who has mentored Cole, saxophonist Evan Arntzen and drummer Dan Gaucher and was handily involved with the ensemble’s 2006 sophomore release, Day In. That gives this intimate and often economical music a richer foundation for improvisation and instrumental interaction, and a wider tonal palette.

The sympatico dialogue between Arntzen’s tenor sax and Turner’s trumpet is evident during the opening track, the Jason Moran-esque “You’re Trying Too Hard,” where the two horns are often either overlaid or communicate back and forth. Second track, “Found,” continues the twinned-sax/trumpet discussion, but here Cole’s compositionl style enters a slightly more pin-pointed approach, which is accented by Gaucher’s nimble drums that keep an understated momentum. During the similarly delineated “Springs,” the rhythm section draws from both rock
and modern jazz, giving the work a minor dance stance.


While the album has several highlights, one notable piece is the fully realized and slow-burning “Give,” a musical portrait of Sydney Carton, the redeemed character from Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. Initially, Turner and Arntzen hold a competing exchange, then both horns drop out and acoustic bass and a single martial drum take the lead, and then everyone steps back into the shaded melody. Considerable attention is given to the multifaceted arrangement, and it is one of Cole’s best, adept compositions. “Give” is an adroit example of using one small idea and allowing it to grow and attain impact. By focusing in on one motif, the foursome imparts weight and a sense of emotional uncertainty to Cole’s minimalist effort.

The undisputed showpiece is the 17-minute, three-part opus “The
Progress Suite,” partially inspired by another literary figure, Christian essayist and novelist CS Lewis. The first movement is based on the rationale of being on a spiritual path that seems to proceed in the direction a person wants his or her life to go. While the first part has a personalized intensity, it misses the mark due to a lack of strong melody. The second part centers on the necessity that some people must do a 180 degree turn and swivel back in order to discover the right route. The second portion starts encouragingly with Turner’s near-transcendent solo trumpet, but when Arntzen’s saxophone moves forward the sympathy is undermined. The final movement features a meditative, effective bass solo, and philosophically traces the beliefthat an individual sometimes needs to let go of what does not serve the spiritual quest.

There are also some shorter segments with content that don’t reveal successful results. “Stutter Step” shows promise, but seems more of a footnote than a wholly completed conception. The 49-second, flash-freeze free-jazz tidbit “Flip” is like a snapshot of chaos, but could have been expanded to full length.

Summing up, The October Trio with Brad Turner have created a memorable song collection that surpasses previous output, and there is a high expectation for future projects.. To quote Sydney Carton: “It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done.” - Audaud.com


"The Province - "Looks Like Its Going To Snow""

If 2006's Day In left listeners shaking their heads that a trio of Capilano College Jazz Studies students could produce such a solid debut, hearing the trio with double-Juno-winning trumpeter Brad Turner will amaze. Turner helmed the first CD and, most likely, taught tenor player Evan Arntzen, bassist Josh Cole and drummer Dan Gaugher. But you'd never know it hearing the hard-driving "Spring" or slow-building title track. These under-30 players are every bit the equal of their guest and together they are making great jazz. A-
-- S.D. - The Province


Discography

Looks Like Its Going To Snow (Songlines 2009) * Western Canadian Music Award Nominee
Day In (CellarLive 2006) * Western Canadian Music Award Nominee
Live @ rime (independant 2005)

Photos

Bio

Formed in the fall of 2004 while attending Vancouver’s Capilano College Jazz Studies program, the chemistry between the three musicians was hard to miss. Opportunity presented itself when the trio was offered a regular gig during March '05 at the East Vancouver new music hub once known as Rime. During that time the trio recorded their first album "live at Rime".

After their inaugural summer '05 tour, the band decided to head into the studio in February of 2006 to record their first studio album “Day In” (released on Cellar Live). That summer, the trio embarked on their second Western Canadian tour, and were again invited to play the Vancouver International Jazz festival, this time winning the 2006 CBC Galaxie Rising Star Award for best new artist.

Riding on the success of Day In, which was nominated for a 2007 Western Canadian Music award for Jazz Album of the year, the trio went on to perform at the 2007 editions of the Portland Jazz Festival, Vancouver International Jazz Festival, Calgary International Jazz Festival, and Edmonton Jazz Festival.

During the spring of 2007 the trio began developing a set of new music with internationally renowned Canadian jazz trumpet player Brad Turner in mind. Continuing to pursue the depths of emotional expression and improvisational freedom, The October Trio plus Brad Turner performed memorable and engaging sets at the 2007 Seattle Earshot Jazz Festival, and the 2008 and 2009 editions of the Vancouver International Jazz Festival, including an opening set for Dave Holland's Monterey Quartet in June of 2009.

“At the Center, the quartet inhabited a place deliciously between the overt near-rock modernism of The Bad Plus or Medeski, Martin & Wood and the harmonic modernism of artists like Holland. Tune to tune, it was a brainy kind of pleasure—never obvious, but rocking enough that the whole hall was in these young guys’ hands.” –Popmatters.com

2008 saw the trio perform at the National Jazz Awards in Toronto, the Upstairs Jazz Club in Montreal, as well as attend the 2008 Banff International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music, lead by Dave Douglas.

Early 2009 saw the release of Looks Like Its Going To Snow (Songlines), the groups third release, and first with Brad Turner on trumpet. This new record was warmly welcomed by fans and the jazz press alike bringing the band to the attention of an international audience.

"Looks Like Its Going To Snow has no shortage of strengths, from intriguing compositions to extraordinarily inventive players, but at its core it really is all about the ensemble." – Jazz Times

“unmistakable chemistry and artistic purpose… Among the marvelous elements of Going to Snow is the way it easily and off-handedly incorporates funk and rock elements without becoming a collection that is dominated by a backbeat aesthetic.” – Popmatters.com

"This is a CD with a tangible sense of place. 3 and 1/2 stars" – Down Beat Magazine