Winners of the 2013 TD Grand
Jazz Award from the Montreal International Jazz Festival, the Hutchinson
Andrew Trio plays it straight with Prairie Modern (Chronograph
Records, 2014). The album was produced with support from the Canada
Council for the Arts and Alberta Music.
The trio is comprised of Kodi Hutchinson, bass; Chris Andrew, piano; and
Karl Schwonik, drums. Hutchinson has performed on the Canadian scene
since 1992. Among his associations are Ingrid Jensen, the Calgary
Philharmonic Orchestra and Decidedly Jazz Danceworks. He is an
instructor at the University of Calgary’s Summer Jazz Program. Andrew
graduated in 1990 from Grant MacEwan College, and since then has been on
the Alberta scene. He has performed with Joshua Redmon, Pete Christlieb,
Paquito D’Rivera, Jump Orchestra and the Edmonton Symphony.
Special guests on this date are saxophonist Donny McCaslin, who appears
on five songs, and percussionist Rogerio Boccto, who contributes to
“Mountain Rose” is a placid, ambient piece which features McCaslin. The
trio provides a soothing backdrop to the saxophone. McCaslin explores
freedom throughout the song.
“The Realm” is a two-part song. The first movement begins softly but
grows in intensity with McCaslin putting the tenor through some
passion-filled rolls. Then, the foursome cranks up the energy,
continuing the theme at a faster pace. McCaslin is at times frantic, all
the while engaging, rolling up, rolling down and basically playing
“outside the box.” Then Andrew takes point at a fever pitch. Hutchinson
and Schwonik stretch out plenty in the background, the latter injecting
some timely cymbal splashes.
“Prairie Wind,” for all intents and purposes the album’s title song,
reflects the visual of the cover art. On the front, an open field of
yellow flowers with dark clouds overhead and a tree line in the
background, a large sphere off to one side, reflecting sky and ground.
On the back, the same setting minus the sphere and with more open space.
That’s the approach the trio takes. Just relax and enjoy the great
outdoors. One can almost feel the breeze that’s pushing those clouds.
The trio is a fixture on the Western Canada jazz scene. Working together
for eight years, the music mixes contemporary swing, Latin, odd meter
and acoustic groove. The sound represents the regions where they are
from, the prairies and Rocky Mountains, as well as some of the vibrant,
young cities of the Canadian West.
Prairie Modern captures all of those elements.