This is a brilliant debut CD for youthful drummer/composer/leader Stranahan. While still in high school he made a splash at the 2004 Conference of the International Association for Jazz Education and now together with other Denver-area players he offers a most listenable album of ten tracks from his quintet, joined by three guest artists on sax, trumpet and vibes. His own band has a front line of Remy Le Boeuf on reeds and brother Pascal on piano; together they also contributed half of the original tracks. Michael Bailey on sax and Dominic Thiroux on bass round out the group. The final three tracks are all by Stranahans – two by Colin and one – an uptempo blues – by Colin’s father Jim. That one (It’s Not Always About You) swings like mad!
This is much more than a friends and family outing. There is a special feeling about the session and a fine variety of textures and feelings. One tune (with an African slant) is in 7/4 time and another in 9/4. The arrangements are thoroughly professional and some tunes allow plenty of time for soloists to stretch out and really develop some of the themes – as much as nine minutes to work with. Recording and mastering is also at a high quality – the latter done at Boulder’s Airshow Mastering, one of the best.
Tracks: Song for Briana #3, Casa Zimbabwe, You Are, Piece of Mind, The Search, No Thanks, Sisyfus, Out of Reach, It’s Not Always About You, Moods of Perpetual Motion.
– John Henry