01 Bernie SenenskyDon’t Look Back
Bernie Senensky Quartet/Quintet w/Bob Mover; Sam Noto
Cellar Music CM040321 (cellarlive.com)

During the COVID-19 pandemic, and the fluctuating lockdowns and closures that have accompanied it, musicians have gotten creative at navigating this difficult artistic landscape. Some have done remote recordings, others are on hiatus and a handful of musicians like Toronto stalwart Bernie Senensky have dug into the archives to release pre-pandemic music. 

In a time when many of us are nostalgic about the past, Don’t Look Back brings the listener back to some of Toronto’s heydays, featuring an exciting repertoire choice and hard-grooving band. Trumpeter Sam Noto and saxophonist Bob Mover have since left the GTA, while bassist Neil Swainson and drummer Barry Elmes are still on the scene. 

Originally recorded in 1989, this album encapsulates this time period perfectly. The opening track and several others share a 1960s’ Blue Note aesthetic, but more 80s- and 90s-inspired offerings like Senensky’s rhythmically complex arrangement of I Hear a Rhapsody are no less at home. The versatile band closes out the recording with a rousing version of Gershwin’s Who Cares, which this band tackles in a manner that pays tribute to jazz greats of the past without ever sounding dated or clichéd.  

This album is a true time capsule that sounds right at home today, which is a testament to not only the musicians playing, but to Jeremy Darby’s mixing job and Peter Letros’ mastering, which has brought this Unity Records tape back to life on CD and throughout the streaming world.

Pin It
Back to top