Shawn Cav Ensemble’s ‘Polygons’ a Dynamic, Shape-Shifting Masterpiece
Artist: Shawn Cav Ensemble
Released: May 25, 2017
Genre: Jazz fusion
Much has happened in the world of Shawn Cav since last year’s release of his ensemble’s debut EP, “Glass Houses.” The bassman became a father for the first time and completed his band’s first full-length album, dedicated to his first-born daughter, Teagan.
Upon a first listen to that album – “Polygons” – it’s clear that Shawn Cav Ensemble, indeed, gave their all to an effort that Teagan will grow up to be proud of. The ten-track fusion effort – full of dynamic shifts, killer grooves, and expressive instrumentation – is a clear step forward for the Ensemble.
Under “killer grooves,” look no further than the title track of “Polygons,” which features a formidable bass layer from Cav and sharp, exciting lead duties shared by tenor saxophonist Matt Truscott and guitarist Stephen Collins. Truscott’s work shines in other spots on the album – namely, by way of a smooth solo on the pensive, “Fly,” and by giving a lyrical voice to the funky, bass-driven “The Victorian.”
Every musician on “Polygons” has a chance to stand out. Local piano man Dan DeChellis provides a gentle, but effective touch on “Fly,” while listeners will want to pay close attention to John Sanfilippo’s intricate drumming on “Harambe,” an apparent ode to the gorilla we’ve all loved and lost. Speaking of percussion, hand percussionist Mark Marina adds some Latin-infused flavor with his work on album closer, “Double Jointed.”
Perhaps most powerful, however, is “Teagan,” a tender ballad reflecting Shawn Cav’s feelings upon learning that he would soon be a father.
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