Those who think public support of the arts is a case of government gone awry haven’t heard Alex Goodman. Supported financially by the Department of Canadian Heritage, with further support from the Ontario Arts Council, the acclaimed guitarist releases his third recording, Bridges (Connection Point Records, 2011).

The band is comprised of Goodman; Nick Morgan on alto and soprano saxophones, clarinet and bass clarinet; Darcy Myronuk on piano and Rhodes; Dan Fortin on bass; and Maxwell Roach on drums.

“Checklist” is a sweeping piece that features alto sax and bass clarinet blending for the opening melody. The song shifts gears several times, from 3/4 to 4/4. Morgan is out front for much of the way, but the supporting players are deeply involved. It’s all stop around the five-minute mark, when the band downshifts for Goodman’s lead.
Some of the tracks diversify from cool jazz to classical to something from the avant garde menu. One of the more creative selections is Goodman’s arrangement of “Nocturne in Eb Major, Op. 9, No. 2,” by Frederic Chopin. Another is the odd signature of “Dance in Bulgarian Rhythm No. 1.” “Tristano Bach,” composed by Goodman, is a straightforward jazz piece, largely built around a dialogue between guitar and alto sax. Fortin’s bass grooves on this track.

Regardless of what type of song or its time signature, Goodman plays the guitar in a style that’s part Wes Montgomery, part Pat Metheny. And his sidemen deliver plenty of verve, whether stretching out on a solo or simply supporting the lead.

A number of influences contributes to Goodman’s songwriting and playing, from Baroque to Impressionism and 20th century composition. The quintet has performed extensively through Canada and was a finalist in the Grand Prix de Jazz Competition at the 2011 Montreal Jazz Festival. Goodman has earned several awards, including the Dominic Troiano Guitar Scholarship and recognition as a CBC “rising star.”