Chet Doxas is a regular in the Montreal jazz scene, with regular gigs at places like the Upstairs and Café Sarajevo. As someone rather removed from the jazz scene (albeit, someone who likes jazz), I have never seen him play, except perhaps at the jazz fest when he’s been a member of a band. Doxas is an accomplished musician in his own right: a composer and a saxophonist. So, this opportunity to see Doxas jam with Tim Hagans, a New York trumpeter, known for his willingness to experiment was not to be missed.
The trio plus Hagans put on an engaging show. Doxas’ trio was clearly enthused to be playing with the jazz giant. They pulled out all stops in showing off the range of their talents. The Doxas trio are not minimalists. They fill their solos with fast movement, scales flying up and down, and clock breaking time changes. This is not jazz you can sleep through. It isn’t the jazz one recites beat poetry to. This is jazz that confuses and awes at the same time. It’s complexity makes it challenging, but also fun. I feel guilty drawing any attention away from Chet’s accomplishments, but his brother (Jim Doxas) is the most dynamite drummer I have ever had the pleasure of hearing.
Hagans was far more subdued in comparison with the Doxas trio. Though, I suspect, this is because the trio was carrying the bulk of the action in the music. I would have liked to hear more of Hagans’ virtuosity, since he is the special import. Of the four (five?) songs played, only one was a Hagans composition. I would have liked to see Hagans take the lead on a song as well.
Ultimately, I was impressed by the Doxas trio, but a little disappointed that Hagans played a very subdued role in the night’s proceedings.