Saturday, June 10, 2006


The Canvas:
A Mosaic of Pastel Cool
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It's another unforgivingly hot and humid day in Dallas, made all the worse by mid-week traffic snarl and workaday frayed nerves, compounded all the more by the nervous energy that is pursuant to what passes as a weekend. It's a reality that we'd rather not be a party to.
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Anyway, that's the world outside my window.
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In this little corner of what passes as my office, though, it's cool and a little smoky, in a Cafe Americain sort of way. I'm relaxing with a glass of red wine and drifting into another time, another place, reminiscent of a Parisian jazz cafe in the thirties or a tucked-away fifties cool jazz joint in New York. And I'm listening to the debut album by the Canvas, simply titled Random Thoughts.
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On a casual first listen, it would be easy to dismiss the Canvas as pleasant background music of the sort one might find in an edgier-than-thou restaurant. And in certain regards, that would be true. This is not an album that screams to be noticed--no histrionic guitar solos, no bass runs that meander forever, no in-your face drum work. Rather, this is a work full of subtle nuances made by a trio of musicians working as a cohesive unit.
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To be sure, Random Thoughts is an unassuming work, and it is that very aspect that makes it so engaging. The trio that comprise the Canvas--Shahin (guitar), Casper (bass) and Brett (drums)--are enamored not with fame, but with the joy of playing music. They don't even use their last names.
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And play music they do-- building on a basic jazz groove, and evoking at various points, elements of funk, ragas and blues--all coming together in a sound that can only be described as universal. It's not what one would expect to come out of Arlington, Virginia, but then again, Liverpool was an unlikely music hotbed at one time.
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It has always been my practice not to review an album before at least three listens--the catchy hook wears thin by then. It's the albums that offer something new on each listen-- that something you didn't hear before-- that catch my attention.
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I'm on my seventh listen on this one, with no signs of putting it away.

1 comment:

R. said...

Your making me think I might have to pick up that album! On the cat thing though, you'd have to prove it. -- Rebecca