May 1998

John Chiasson - Here in the Moonlight
Fedora Records
Released: 1997

by Bruce Bassett

Musical Performance ***1/2
Recording Quality **1/2
Overall Enjoyment ****

[Reviewed on CD]Who would have thunk it? The low-key bassman for The Rankin Family emerges from their country-Celtic shadows and steps unfalteringly into the world of cool, soulful jazz.

Here in the Moonlight presents a charming selection of slow-to-moderate-tempo jazz tunes. Expectedly, John Chiasson exhibits deftness in his bass playing, but this CD also reveals a flare for arranging music and showcases a vocal talent with impressive range, clarity and control.

The lead-off title track is the only original on the disc. Co-written by Chiasson and guitarist George Antoniac, who also plays on the track, it delights with ultra-deep and moody bass; light piano, guitar and drum accompaniment; and a smoothly integrated bridge. This original fits in splendidly with the rest of the set and effectively sets the mood for what follows. The band proceeds to waltz gracefully through compositions by Ellington, Holiday, and Erroll Garner, to name but a few.

On a deeper note, this disc was my introduction to the sound of the Zeta electric upright bass. This instrument possesses some of finer qualities of an acoustic upright—the deep, rich, resonant sound—and at the same time offers the quicker, more sensitive response of a well-pick-upped electric bass. Very groovy to my ears.

Here in the Moonlight is a most enjoyable release. To date, due to limited distribution channels, it has probably graced the ears of far too few jazz lovers. Hopefully, the resurgent interest in jazz will lead to improved accessibility of such high-quality work as this. You can order this CD through any HMV store in Canada, or you can contact John Chiasson directly at .