Realism in Music
Verismo was formed in 2001 as collaboration between saxophonists Jeremy Brown and Pat Belliveau to explore new original compositions and performance opportunities and to create artistic growth and energy.
We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts which last year invested $26.3 million in music throughout Canada.
Nous remercions de son soutien le Conseil des Arts du Canada,qui a investi 26,3 millions de dollars l'an dernier dans la musique à travers le Canada.
Review by Nick Lavigne
“Straight ahead, truthful jazz and no apologies.” A perfect description of the Calgary based ensemble Verismo. Formed in 2001 by saxophonists Jeremy Brown and Pat Belliveau as a means to explore original compositions and to create/promote artistic growth. With veteran players John Hyde on bass, John de Waal on drums, and Derek Stoll on piano filling out the rest of the band, they, for the most part, accomplish exactly that on their self-titled 2005 release.
Great compositions and playing aside for a moment, the best part of this album is something many jazz records seem to lack: unity. These guys sound like an actual band and not just pros coming together for a recording session and that makes the grooving tunes and hard swinging solos all the sweeter.
Groove is the name of the game on Hyde’s mischievous and catchy composition “Trojan Horse”. Although it will no doubt have listeners wondering “where have I heard this before?” (think back to Michael Brecker’s self-titled 1987 album), the tune serves as a vehicle for blowing and illustrates the second best part of this album which seems ot come up again and again: these guys can play.
That leaves the third best part: the tunes. Brown’s “Winter” has Stoll switching to Fender Rhodes for a texture shift which creates a softer base for the memorable melody and counter melody to glide over. Not only has the majority of the group contributed strong compositions, but they’ve also included tunes that complement their own including Bob Mintzer’s “Sonny” and the infectious “Push” by fellow Calgarian Brian Christensen.
There isn’t much a jazz record needs to be considered “good”: solid players, good tunes, and creativity. When all of those are also groovy, tasteful and musically challenging, it can be great. Luckily for those with an ear to the Canadian jazz scene that’s exactly what Verismo has done. However, this isn’t merely a great “Canadian” jazz album: this is a great jazz album. Period.
IAJE Canada Bulletin, Spring 2007