Victor Bateman

Bass player Victor Bateman has been a mainstay of the Toronto jazzscene for many years. For this session, he brings his regular trio intothe studio to record a set of progressive jazz peppered with blues andexcursions into deep groove. Like his peers, Bateman favors borrowingfrom and blending with various genres rather than focusing on distinct,discernible modes. This tack is reflected in a Bateman-composed playlist which displays the Canadian’s mastery melding other musical stylesinto the progressive framework. There’s the groove-funk with a rockbeat on the kickoff tune ‘Rockin’ on Queen,’ led by guest organistNancy Walker. Social commentary finds its way into ‘Rich People,’ asBateman’s Dave Frishberg-like vocals describe the way that the wealthyhave shaped society to accommodate their needs to the detriment of therest of the population. The other guest artist, Lina Allemano,accentuates Bateman’s observations with her bluesy trumpet. Allemanobrings to the musical table licks she uses with the blues/pop-jazzgroup Opening Moves. The leader’s bass playing time comes on a jamsession like ‘Spike.’ But more often than not, he gets overridden bythe more dominant instruments on the set. The improvisional discoursebetween Allemano and Walker on ‘Jazz Dance,’ which also features RegSchwager’s guitar, is one of the album’s foremost tracks. More varietycomes with ‘Elwood P. Dowd,’ a whimsical musical honorarium paid to thecharacter played by Jimmy Stewart in the film Harvey. Contrast thistorpid, melodic piece to a decidedly modern, dissonant, wild, BarryRomberg-driven ‘Whip Me Harder’ to get the full impact of the intensityincorporated into this melange of daring, extemporaneous statementsthat Bateman and his crew put on their debut release. Recommended. ~Dave Nathan, All Music Guide