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B’s Bees: Kanata

B’s Bees is a jazz project formed and led by Canadian drummer Brandon Goodwin. Originally from British Columbia, he has been part of the Montreal jazz scene for several years now. The band released their self-titled debut in 2015 and last year came out with their sophomore effort Kanata.

Besides Goodwin the rest of the band is:

Julien Sandiford (guitar)
Joe Ferracuti (piano)
Alec Safy (bass)
Special guest:
Masashi Usui (tenor saxophone)

This is the first I have heard the band and I am vastly impressed. Fabulous musicianship under the broad scope of ‘60s hard bop with well-defined solos and great swinging grooves. I cannot emphasize enough the talent of this quintet. Goodwin leads the way with his deep grooves and artful stick work. Sometimes he takes the lead as in the opening track “Kanata” but this isn’t a showcase for him in so much as a group effort where every member is given ample room to shine. Let’s get back to the title track. Goodwin and Safy develop the groove upon which tasty lead guitar, all clear and crisp and well placed piano chords pay credence to that hard bop sound. Soon Usui’s tenor saxophone unfolds adding a very nice solo. Then it’s back to Goodwin as he unleashes another fine solo. Jaw dropping musicianship is fused with fine melodic interplay making this a complex piece but highly listenable as well. With “Syrian Lullaby” soft strains of sax adds a wistful element to a plaintive and relatively soft track. “Pipeline Blues” begins with a subdued and darker hued guitar/piano and marching drums before the band gets into full swing mode as guitar and sax do their thing. The track ends on a more introspective musing with outstanding piano work. The rousing “Liberté” is next with its infectious groove and tasty tenor sax.

Kanata is an excellent jazz CD that will be of significant interest to those who appreciate jazz’s past as well as the present. Highly recommended.

See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!

Track Listing:
1. Kanata (10:48)
2. Syrian Lullaby (5:30)
3. Pipeline Blues (7:51)
4. Liberté (7:21)
5. Nothing Yet (4:07)
6. Refuge (4:44)
7. Atomic Future (5:09)
8. For Or Against (4:12)

Added: June 22nd 2018
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Official Site
Hits: 2093
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

B’s Bees: Kanata
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2018-06-22 12:40:58
My Score:

2018 has seen some very strong jazz albums released, and near the top of the list has to be Kanata from the Canadian based act calling themselves B's Bees. Led by star drummer Brandon Goodwin, the band also feature the talents of Julien Sandiford on guitar, pianist Joe Ferracuti, and bass player Alec Safy, with guest saxophonist Masashi Usui. The opening 4-part title suite takes up the first 30 minutes of the CD, and is an expertly crafted excursion into hard bop, Goodwin's acrobatic drumming circling around some tasty guitar & sax melodies with the crisp piano vamps and moody bass rumbles adding so much extra color. In fact, Safy's acoustic bass solo here is a thing of beauty, melodic yet menacing. After the furious first section, the band drift into a laid back lounge jazz style, Usui's sax lovely, supplemented by liquid guitar lines and majestic piano, before the pace picks up for the third part "Pipeline Blues", which features some more stellar piano melodies and Sandiford's nimble guitar runs. Fans of the late John Abercrombie & Larry Coryell, as well as Pay Metheny, will love this guy. The finale to the suite, "Liberte", soars with playful sax, funky rhythms, and a majestic piano solo courtesy of Ferracuti...a classy way to end an extraordinary jazz epic.

With such a strong opening suite, where could B's Bees go from there? The second half of the album kicks off with the engaging "Nothing Yet", written by Ferracuti, a rollicking slice of bop with snappy rhythms and tasty sax & piano solos, while "Refuge" is more of an atmospheric number that proves to be a great vehicle for Ferracuti's piano melodies. Perhaps the most complex track here is the quirky "Atomic Future", another Ferracuti composition that bobs and weaves with plenty of intensity, Sandiford's blazing lead guitar sweeping over intricate rhythms and cascading piano. The finale is "For Or Against", another upbeat track with fantastic ensemble playing, led by Sandiford's melodic solos and a nice run also from Usui's sax.

Great stuff all around here on Kanata from a jazz group that you NEED to get on your immediate radar if you haven't already. Well done.

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