The Joel Haynes Trio featuring Seamus Blake on saxophone, with Joel on drums, Neil Swainson on bass, and Tilden Webb on piano, will release a new album called The Return this month and play release shows this weekend at Frankie's.
The Frankie's dates are this Friday and Saturday, September 8th and 9th; the album is available from Cellar's Bandcamp on Friday.
Recorded at Monarch Studios by Sheldon Zaharko, The Return is the second album by this band; following 2008's Transitions recorded live at the Cellar, which had Jodi Proznick on bass. (Tilden, Jodi, and Joel also have an earlier trio album without Seamus, The Time Is Now.)
On the title track, out now as a single, we have a simple, energetic uptempo melody that Seamus delivers calmly as he dives into some expert runs of eighth notes. It's great to hear Neil and Joel swing with Tilden laying down post-bop concepts over this rhythm section.
On the other single that's out now, "Tomorrow Never Knows", it's another cover of a (British!) pop song like when the band did Oasis' "Champagne Supernova" on Transitions – probably my favourite track back there – or "Blackbird" in a Poinciana groove from The Time is Now. Seamus sounds so relaxed again when he goes up high, with his tone very roomy and never sounding too isolated. As Tilden gets the first solo, starts it off with some light turns of phrase and then builds it as the drums kick in. Seamus has a dialogue with Tilden's comping before he really lets loose in a way that he didn't on the title track.
The house style of Joel's group is tightly arranged grooves, often swinging, Seamus playing memorable melodies that let him direct the dynamics and pace of the group as it goes from there. Just as they delivered with Jodi on bass in the Transitions era, so too do they cook here with Neil Swainson.
Check out this further coverage from Calgary-based drummer Jon McCaslin: