01_for_the_first_timeFor the First Time
Hugh O’Connor; Mark Ferguson; John Geggie; Don Johnson
True North Records TND532
In an age when almost anyone can put out a CD and almost everybody does, in some cases reducing the music to the status of a calling card, it’s refreshing to come across a first time album by a veteran player who simply wants to “tell his story”.

The musician is Ottawa born saxophonist, Hugh O’Connor. At age 81 O’Conner, who began playing in the late 1940s, has just released his first CD. His approach is refreshingly melodic and he plays with an authority that says, “For me, here’s where it’s at.”

Recorded in the Almonte Ontario Old Town Hall, the CD consists of a programme of superior standards ranging from the seldom played A Portrait Of Jenny to the frequently performed My Funny Valentine on the opening chorus of which there is a Desmond-ish quality to the sound of his horn. But Hugh is definitely his own man and puts an individual stamp on this recording which also includes such great songs as In The Wee Small Hours, How About You and The More I See You.

He is ably and tastefully accompanied by pianist Mark Ferguson - yes the same Mark who used to be a trombone player in Toronto - bassist John Geggie and, on five of the twelve tracks, drummer Don Johnson.

Although active and successful, mainly around the Ottawa area, he has maintained a relatively low profile on the Canadian jazz scene. Perhaps that can change with the release of this very welcome CD.

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Author: Jim Galloway
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