Review: Collective Order, “Vol. 3”

Collective Order Vol. 3

A who’s who of the Toronto Jazz scene returns with their third mesmerizing collection.

Collective Order features a staggering 21 jazz musicians, all based in Toronto, Ontario.  Their sound is a perfect distillation of the multi-cultural population in the Canadian metropolis.  Funk, free-jazz, samba and more interweave into something original and inspiring.

Laying on top a soft mattress made of subtle free jazz, opening track “Land Acknowledgement” features a spoken word composition written to accompany a traditional land acknowledgement by Native-Canadian artist Melanie Montour. An important message which also sets the listener up for a wide-ranging tapestry of tunes.

“Theme for Lake Ontario, Pt.2” takes the listener on a charged and frenzied trip. The drum solo later in the track is simply astounding.  A perfect counterbalance to the percussionist style piano and howling trumpet.

Following that explosive monster of a track is the sultry ballad “Will You Love Me.”  The soft and tender touches of Emily Steinwall’s voice remind me of Astrud Gilberto’s classics, without being in any way derivative.  This is heart swelling, breath taking perfection.  You know that warmth you feel just before kissing someone, as your lips are just moments, millimeters from touching and, your cheeks swell with warmth… that’s what this song is like.

Appearing at track 7, “I Hear You” is Epic. That’s right, with a capital E! Part spoken word, part avant-garde, part ballad, part jazz and beautiful.

“Edward,” written by Andrew Miller for his late grandfather, is another triumphant instrumental and stand out track.  While you’re focused on one instrument’s controlled frenzy, you’re missing several others, leaving you plenty to enjoy with each listen.  It’s rare to find so many like-minded musicians, willing to take chances, shooting notes into the stratosphere.

Like any great jazz album, Vol.3 has so much to appreciate and dissect.  If you’re like me, you’ll be returning for several listens.  Timeless music such as this should be appreciated repeatedly for full effect.

Listen to: the whole thing.

Visit Collective Order’s website.

A bit of a Renaissance man, Steve Murphy is a singer-songwriter, author, and journalist based out of London, Ontario. An avid vinyl collector and audiophile, his personal collection of albums is wide ranging and in the thousands, including four released from his band Westminster Park.

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