Convergence Review – All Music Guide

Ryan Oliver is one of many promising Canadian jazz musicians to emerge on the scene at the dawn of the 21st century, joined by four of his countrymen for his solid recording debut as a leader. “Tune for Bernie” is his delightful reworking of Bernie Miller’s “Bernie’s Tune” (made famous by Gerry Mulligan in the early ’50s) which also salutes his pianist on the session (veteran Bernie Senensky), while his turbulent “Solidarity” is a driving post-bop vehicle. Oliver also proves effective as an interpreter of ballads like “It’s Easy to Remember” (where his tone recalls early-’60s John Coltrane, though his spacious delivery allows the music plenty of breathing space), and a peppy celebration of “The End of a Love Affair” that adds trumpeter Jake Wilkinson as a foil. He stretches the envelope a bit with “Never Forget,” a marvelous feature with drummer Bob McLaren, with Senensky adding some dreamy piano underneath the leader’s emotional sax and McLaren’s surging drums. Ryan Oliver’s first CD is well worth investigating.
Ken Dryden – All Music Guide

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