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July/August 2005

Pat Collins Quartet
In the Moment
Cornerstone Records

The debut CD by Canadian bassist Pat Collins has plenty of admirable qualities. These include his refusal to play it safe with the decision to highlight his compositions rather than familiar covers. In addition, the disc is sonically excellent, with several intense, striking solos delivered by saxophonist Mike Murley. Guitarist Reg Schwager, drummer Barry Elmes and Collins provide fine accompaniment, and their dashing playing indicates the wisdom of eliminating the piano from the instrumental configuration.

Collins' pieces are extensive enough to give listeners a chance at fully hearing every quartet member, but not so long that choruses are overly repeated and solos drone on till they become tedious. While usually more content to operate in the musical background than the spotlight, Collins is also a strong and nimble soloist. The title track is the session's longest, most ambitious work, and it features every band members' best playing. It's also the top example of Collins' strengths as a bandleader and accompanist.

Outside of wishing for a bit more thematic variety, there's little to complain about regarding Pat Collins' inaugural effort.

Originally published in July/August 2005
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