Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Circles: "Autumn Dance"

For today's review, we are going to be discussing Circles, and their sophomore release "Autumn Dance". Formed in 2006, the group includes Matthew Roberts on the bass, Hayoun Lee on the piano, Alexandra Tait on the vocals, Neil Whitford on the guitars, and Mackenzie Longpre on the drums. Circles has been making a name for themselves in the Canadian jazz scene as they push the limits of modern jazz, and explore the use of musical story lines in their compositions. The first song on the album that we're going to note is "Song for the Fox". This composition explores the underlying emotions expressed by "The Fox" in Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's The Little Prince. The song begins with the utterance: "My life is very monotonous". After a short reading, the song exemplifies a mix of non-lyrical vocals, unique improvisations, and beautiful harmonies. The tune comes to a close in much different way than it begin; for Circles succeeds in taming the fox, and thus, allowing the sun to finally "shine down on his life". The next song we're going to discuss is "Should". Once again, Tait shines out with her non lyrical vocals, beautifully singing the melody at various points throughout the song. However, the song is also characterized by Whitford and Lee who both pull out some impressive solos. Though, the most interesting part of the piece is the very end, where the song transitions into a camp fire setting, with Whitford strumming the acoustic guitar, and the other band members singing the melody line. This one of a kind conclusion to the piece sheds light on the group's pop influences. Furthermore, Circles has done it once again. Following in the footsteps of their debut album, "I Understand", this virtuosic quintet continues to push the boundaries of modern jazz in their brilliant sophomore effort, "Autumn Dance".

Purchase: "Autumn Dance"


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