From Our Time *** Ken Aldcroft Trio + 1 (TRP)
Doug Fischer, The Ottawa Citizen 2003

As the leader of a handful of groups that flirt with the outer edges of jazz, Vancouver guitarist Ken Aldcroft has emerged over the past six years as one of Canada's more intriguing improvisers and composers. This is his second disc with Trio + 1, an unconventional lineup that includes saxophonist Evan Shaw, trumpeter Gordon Allen and drummer Joe Sorbara.

The music, all written by Aldcroft, is often complex, featuring competing solos played over sparse rhythms. In such cases, like Little Town and That Cat on the Corner, the music frequently comes off sounding jumbled and directionless.

The album succeeds best when the rhythms are strongest, especially on the Spanish-inflected South-Eastern Baja and the pulsing Snake Hips, and when the melody is allowed to dominate, as it is on Aldcroft's lush solo guitar tune What Was it She Said Last Night?

Ken Aldcroft Trio + 1 performs at Ottawa's Bayou Blues and Jazz Club Thursday at 9:30 p.m.