Guitarist Alex Moxon has been a highly visible player in Ottawa's jazz scene for the last decade, primarily in groups where he shares the creative duties with others (the HML Trio, the Chocolate Hot Pockets, F8-BIT, and Modasaurus).
Next week, he steps into the studio to record his first CD as leader, with a quartet of sure-handed Ottawa musicians showcasing his own compositions. Some pieces, he's played before with his other groups, but others are new – and all are in a more acoustic and reflective mode. He doesn't use pedals or effects with his guitar on these tunes, unlike in the more groove-oriented CHP.
Moxon and his quartet have been preparing for the recording by playing this material in different contexts: a house concert, as host band for Jazz Mondays most of this month at Le Petit Chicago, and this Saturday evening (November 17) at the Options Jazz Lounge at the Brookstreet Hotel in Kanata. Performing with him are Steve Boudreau on piano, John Geggie on double bass, and Michel Delage on drums – all musicians he's played with before, but not in his regular bands.
OttawaJazzScene.ca heard Moxon's quartet in an afternoon showcase at the Record Centre in Hintonburg on Saturday, November 3, where they played all Moxon originals except for one sparkling Woody Shaw number.
The group's opening number, “Piety in Crescent Park”, allowed Moxon to explore the full dynamics of his guitar from high harmonics to more flowing strong lines in a fine melodic framework where the double bass and piano also added their voices. It set the stage for other thoughtful pieces with a warm, inviting feel, and even a number (“Romantique”) “that's a close as I've written to a ballad yet”.
“Wood Chop” was an upbeat, bebop-influenced number, while “Scientology” was an older number which we'd heard in several incarnations. It was an energetic piece that played off Charlie Parker numbers like “Anthropology” and “Ornithology”, featuring fast streams of guitar and piano notes, crashing drum lines, and fierce playing ending in a strong flourish.
Moxon said he'll release the album later in 2019 – but now is your opportunity to hear the music as it's about to be molded into its recorded form. The quartet will play at the Brookstreet Options Jazz Lounge on Saturday, November 17 from 8 p.m. until midnight. See our Live Jazz Guide for full details.
(all songs by Alex Moxon unless otherwise specified)
- Piety in Crescent Park
- Melodramatic Minor
- In a Capricornian Way / Woody Shaw
- Wood Chop
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