Songlines likes working with young artists as well as more established ones. The October Trio was formed in Vancouver in 2004 when all three were in the Capilano College jazz program. The immediate chemistry led to a decision to focus on a deeper exploration of the sax trio format, but as Dan Gaucher puts it, "Our ideas started out very music specific and have gradually moved more into conceptual and expressive/emotional territory." Two tours of western Canadian festivals grew the music and the band concept further. They won the Galaxie Rising Star Award at the 2006 Vancouver jazz festival and in 2007 were nominated for a Western Canadian Music Award for jazz album of the year (Day In, Cellar Live). In 2008 they performed at the National Jazz Awards in Toronto and played a sold-out weekend at Montreal's Upstairs Jazz Club. In 2006 they formed a mentor-like relationship with Brad Turner, one of Canada's most honoured jazz musicians and certainly one of our most accomplished and versatile trumpeters, equally at home in the progressive mainstream and creative music (he appears on Songlines releases by Michael Blake, Dylan van der Schyff and Chris Gestrin). Brad produced Day In and Snow, and all the compositions on Snow were written specifically for the augmented lineup. Good as the trio is on their own, there's a fine synergy at work here based on mutual admiration and a shared aesthetic, a finely-honed approach that gives equal consideration to individual storytelling and 4-way conversations, formal concision and a more expansive, imagistic or cinematic approach.
Another thing that characterizes this music is respect for the entire jazz tradition, from New Orleans polyphony to the avant-garde - but not to the exclusion of input from rock and elsewhere. Josh Cole, the trio's main composer, cites Bjork and Wayne Shorter as major inspirations: "Both have the ability to make one small idea have a lot of impact. But upon further investigation of the 'one small idea' you realize that it's surrounded by some rather sophisticated concepts regarding form, phrasing and space. My observation was that by focusing in on one idea, and trying to give it a lot of weight, that allows for the performers to really emotionally invest and explore the idea at a level that might not be possible if you were to present them with a bunch of different ideas in one song." Evan Arntzen adds: "We know each other pretty well now and when we play we can bring whatever experiences, musical or otherwise, into the mix and have it feel fresh and new. Anyone can speak up at any time, and since it's a fairly stark form of instrumentation, i.e. no chords, that makes it easy to do this." Brad Turner says simply: "For me as a trumpet player this project has been a rejuvenating experience, in some ways reminding me how I approached music earlier in my career. There is true sincerity in what these fellows do as a group, and a serious energy to how they distill their musical concepts."
After a Canadian jazz festivals tour next summer the October Trio will continue without Turner, but this record will stand as a heartfelt example of the art of collaboration in jazz. As critic Greg Buium writes in the liner notes, "The disc feels like a culmination and a celebration: a forever set-list crafted on the bandstand and then in the studio....Everything acts as an invitation to open things up - sonic and emotional space, an unburdened framework for improvisation."
Reviews"The October Trio with Brad Turner is performing some of the freshest, vital contemporary jazz on the Canadian scene today." - Ken Pickering, Artistic Director, Vancouver International Jazz Festival