Jazz Guitar Life thanks JGL contributor Norm Marier for this review and for all his support and encouragement. His work is greatly appreciated!
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Montreal-based guitarist Ron Ledoux surrounded himself with three excellent musicians to create this album consisting entirely of original jazz compositions.
Ron finds himself with electric bass and keyboards, along with drums, for this quartet setting which perhaps provides the album a somewhat more “modern” sound to it.
The opening cut, “Fourth Impression”, is a clear nod to Coltrane’s “Impressions”. Based on a minor progression, the melody is extremely catchy (ear-worm alert, you’ve been warned!). Chatting with Ledoux at one of his regular gigs, he explained that he tried to include a few originals that are based on a common form. The result is an album that starts off with a definite bang.
After two straight-ahead compositions, “Late’ish News” and “Non Chalensky”, Ron serves up a ¾ time tune titled “Windmills”. This tune holds up well in this quartet setting as well as in the live minimalist setting that I heard it during a guitar/bass set in Old Montreal.
In this context playing original compositions, Ledoux employs a more lyrical approach to his improvisations, although he is no stranger to the bebop language. He is a versatile guitarist with the academic credentials of a university degree in music as well as a background supporting a wide spectrum of musical contexts.
Returning to a common form, “Youngins” is a blues with another catchy head. Ledoux certainly has a knack for creating a theme attached to a common form that the listener will immediately relate to. The soloing on this tune – as well as on the opener “Fourth Impression” – illustrates the ability of these musicians to explore playing “outside”, albeit for only brief moments.
On “Granny’s Squeaky Chair”, Ledoux’s tone is drastically different. He explained that he turned to his Ibanez Scofield model for this tune. This is another genre of the jazz spectrum that has always interested him. Perhaps another album may be in the offering consisting entirely of this style of jazz as the compositions are already written.
“Nomecarde” is a return to a swing feel to begin the second half of this very enjoyable album.
“Noted In Blue” starts off with an intro that is reminiscent of the Monk tune “Well You Needn’t” and is perhaps another nod to a great master.
After two more straight-ahead originals, “Sunday & Strollin’” and “Get It Out of Here”, Ledoux closes out this eleven tune offering with a return to the Scofield-esq “Pourpre”.
I found A Stone’s Throw Away to be quite an enjoyable album showcasing a guitarist who has found his voice through original compositions and his own lyrical improvisational style.
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