Musicians know who’s good long before civilians do. Hal Smith told me about Jonathan Doyle back in 2011, and Jonathan has brought us seven years of artistic good luck. Music courses through him joyously, like spiritual voltage. He knows the tradition but isn’t chained to it – an impassioned saxophonist, a quirky, beguiling clarinetist, unpredictable and satisfying. There’s more. Jonathan is a brilliant composer / arranger / bandleader who attracts kindred spirits in love with lyrical swing. I usually shy away from a CD of someone’s originals, but his rock and glide, and I hum his lines after the disc has concluded. It’s what the Elders call “tasty.”
This version of the Swingtet has a singular instrumentation. Those who annotate echoes of the hallowed past will hear hints of Keynote, Commodore, and Vanguard sessions, with mid-palate notes of Basie and Ellington. But everything here is fresh; the Swingtet is a lively crew, players who have their own songs to sing. I salute and cherish Messrs. Jellema, Gonzales, Paterson, Sanders, Sample, and Hall – blissful in solo, expert in ensemble. (If you don’t know the guitarists by sound, STEPPIN’ LIGHT features Joel; ALMOST THERE is Jake’s.) I urge the captivated listener to take any track here and study it for the arranging touches, the riffs and backgrounds, the shifting voices, the dynamics. In this, Jonathan is a phenomenon, and I’ve seen him invent subtleties on the spot, directing traffic in the nicest ways, splitting choruses, changing the focus. His artistry energizes this CD, so each song is a vivid world of its own. As for the titles, you’ll have to ask him, but I suspect he is a sly short story writer in the making. When I most recently saw Jonathan at the 2017 San Diego Jazz Fest, I delighted in his work with Kris Tokarski, Hal Smith, Larry Scala, and Nobu Ozaki, and I told him, “You know, you’re really blossoming!” and he grinned. What he is creating now is life-enhancing. I look forward to luxuriating in his music for years to come.
Michael Steinman / JAZZ LIVES / http:www.jazzlives.wordpress.com
Special thanks to all of the musicians who played on this recording and who play in the Swingtet in its various configurations, Corinne Adams, Jack & Mariann Doyle, Prince Harles, the Chicago Jazz Fest for bringing this lineup of my Swingtet together, and all of our friends and family in Austin TX, Chicago IL, the Pacific Northwest, and all of the roots jazz and swing dance communities around the world for the continued support and inspiration!
The title, “The Road Is Leaving” is from a Joanna Newsom lyric and seems to embody the journey that Corinne and I have been on for the past two years.
This album was written mostly in Port Townsend WA and some while on the road in Switzerland, Minneapolis, and Chicago. And some bits are from my time in Austin.
Almost all of the songs were named just after the recording session while driving out west, across the northern United States. And being named on the road, are imbued with our stories of leaving and driving and coming home.
David Jellema :: Cornet
Jonathan Doyle :: Tenor Saxophone
Mark Gonzales :: Trombone
Joel Paterson :: Amplified Guitar
Jake Sanders :: Amplified Guitar
Beau Sample :: Bass
Alex Hall :: Drum Set
All compositions by Jonathan Doyle
Recorded August 31 & September 1, 2017 at Reliable Recorders in Chicago IL
Recorded, Mixed, and Mastered by Alex Hall
Produced by Jonathan Doyle
Art by Julie Read :: www.artbyjulieread.com
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