theWholeNote January 2016 Review of Discern
Ottawa Citizen October 2015 Article
theWholeNote June 2014 CD review
JazzReview.com Art of Jazz Celebration June 4-8, 2008
Concert Review by: Paul J. Youngman
The Artie Roth Quintet was literally and figuratively smoking as Mr. Roth noted that his bass was burning his fingers, so intense was the mid-day sun beating down on the Pure Spirits stage. The quintet was comprised of pianist Dave Restivo, trumpeter John MacLeod, saxophonist Kelly Jefferson and drummer Adam Arruda. The first set consisted of songs from the Roth CD Parallels (2005 Independent) songs that impressed, Rhyme and Reason, horns blasting out a duet of smoke and mirrors magic, while drums and bass let loose with an anything goes type of head space, and piano digs to set out the direction for escape by soloing with taste and distinction. Gone But Not Missed a lament on past employment experience, Memories Remain featuring a wonderfully melodic solo by John MacLeod, and a passionate bass solo by the leader Artie Roth, added to the fire of the performance.
GEOFF CHAPMAN The Toronto Star March 9, 2005
Artie Roth is playing at full throttle this week,just as he has for the past decade. There's a difference this time, however. He's at the Senator tonight through Sunday releasing his new indie album, Parallels, and leading his hotshot quintet of saxman Kelly Jefferson, trumpeter John MacLeod, pianist David Braid and drummer Kevin Dempsey.
It’s his debut album as a leader, although his work as sideman on more than 30 releases by the likes of saxist Richard Underhill, vocalist Melissa Stylianou, vibist Greg Runions and tenorman Bob Brough has been well received. He's a longtime regular in the Stylianou and Brough combos.
This 75-minute album is impressive, its eight Roth-composed tracks bursting with insistent movement, shifting shapes and catchy tunes. Roth's bass is everywhere, a dominant force deeply engaged in all the music.
The disc is great, but its been a long time coming. "This process has taught me a lot about the business of leadership, being as much an organizer as a creator. Bands that are happy to have leaders who are well organized," he explained in an interview.
Toronto born and raised, as a teenager Roth spent time playing electric bass in rock bands. “My brother knew jazz history and he had records by (drummer) Max Roach, (bass icon) Charles Mingus and Duke Ellington's Money Jungle.
"I couldn't believe how piano and bass and drums interacted like this, and when I heard John Coltrane doing "My Favourite Things" and Sonny Rollins' trio disc Way Out West, I knew acoustic bass was for me.
After studying piano and euphonium at the Royal Conservatory of Music, Roth attended York University, "where my teachers included Don Thompson and AI Henderson and they helped me get inside the genre of acoustic bass.
"Since I graduated in 1992, I've played with more than 30 bands . . . and now I've come full circle and teach bass at York." Roth's development included studying in New York with bassmeisters Dave Holland and John Patitucci, lessons with TSO bassist John Gowen and substantial touring.
"I'm music-driven. The bass has a long history and I love learning about it, but I do my writing on piano. When I was in New York last time (1997) I led groups and started composing. We even did a recording, but it wasn't released. "I've found that although I still do a lot of work as a sideperson, leadership gives you the chance to hear the music evolve although I still have to take care of the business side. You realize that your music is just tunes, loose and open, but you have the opportunity to mess with the formula.
"The guys in my band are all very talented, they'll try anything, but the sessions have been smooth. For now I'm focussing on this band and I want to do another album and write new music for it, but I'm a slow writer and it's arduous. Part of what I hear in my head these days is the music of the classic Wayne Shorter quintet.”
Roth, now 36, who admits to loving gardening and cooking, says bass playing requires different qualities. "A lot depends on the style of jazz. You have to have a good sound and great time. Once you get there, you get to the other pieces like technical skill and solo ability. Ray Brown had it all and so did Paul Chambers - I'm sure they were fun to hang with.
"Nowadays most jazz work is very demanding, you have to use the bow a lot more and in Toronto the level of bass playing is very high."
MARK MILLER The Gobe and Mail March 12, 2005
Ted O’Reilly The Wholenote - May 1, 2005
Parallels by Budd Kopman - AllAboutJazz.com