Pianist Dan McElrath’s new CD provides a bright roundup of Anchorage area jazz talent. McElrath himself is represented by his quirky, boogie-infused “Night in Spenard,” winner of this year’s Spenard Jazz Festival Alaska Song of the Year in the instrumental category, and “Smile Sayulita Smile,” a contender in last year’s competition. But the cuts also include music by the quartet’s guitarist Mike Doolin, bass players Milo Matthews and Ray Booker, David Martin and John Damberg — whose vibe work is deliciously featured in Booker’s sweet “Waltz BBT.” Matthews’ contributions particularly stand out, especially “Can’t Demand Love,” a Motown-flavored but elegantly sophisticated number in which the composer also supplies the vocal part. McElrath’s rendition of “Alaska’s Flag” in jazz garb is another highlight. The quartet will be featured in one of the upcoming concerts in Halibut Cove next month (halibutcovelive.com).
— Mike Dunham, Anchorage Daily News
(Published in Play, June 21, 2013)