Artist: The Ryan Driver Quintet
Songs: Why Was I Born? [composer: Jerome Kern / Oscar Hammerstein II] + Mood Indigo [composer: Duke Ellington/Barney Bigard/Irving Mills]
Recorded at Nuit Blanche @ TIFF Lightbox ("Jazz Age Cinema"), October 4, 2014.
As I have the past few years, I avoided the crowds at Nuit Blanche by starting late and spending more time at fewer things. Ended up spending a good chunk o' time at the Lightbox, watching a fake bio of Vincent Price in between sets of The Ryan Driver Quartet providing accompaniment to silent films. I say "accompaniment" rather than "soundtrack" deliberately here, as they weren't playing to sync to specific actions onscreen so much as to provide an appropriate mood. Playing all night long from sundown to sunup, the unit was in quintet mode, with driver joined by Rob Clutton and Blake Howard's rhythm section plus Martin Arnold on guitar and Michael Davidson on vibes. The first selection here came during Joe May's melodramatic Asphalt, and contains some nifty guitar work from Arnold, using his metal water bottle as a slide; the latter came during Charlie Chase's Dog Shy, and you can hear the band's tiredness — this was around 5 a.m. — expressed in the extra-languid grooves.
[A slightly different configuration of the Quintet (with sax man Brodie West replacing Davidson, and with Mike Smith providing synth squiggles as a fill-in for Martin Arnold) plays the Tranzac tonight (Friday, November 28th).]