“Ontario 559 West” is the latest album from Ian McGimpsey and Harrison Argatoff. Inspired primarily by Nick Drake’s “Pink Moon”, this album shares 15 short, precise, and heartfelt songs which were developed both independently and collaboratively in February of 2020.
“Ian McGimpsey and Harrison Argatoff” are an acoustic guitar and tenor saxophone duo. Their music draws from both singer-songwriter and contemporary jazz idioms, docusing on precise interlocking lines, modern harmonic sensibilities, and decisive detail.
McGimpsey, originally from Massachusetts, and Argatoff, originally from British Columbia, first met in the University of Toronto’s jazz program in 2015. After years of intermittent collaboration, this duo was formed in the winter of 2020. Inspired wholly by Nick Drake’s album “Pink Moon”, the duo’s inception was centered around encapsulating qualities admired in Drake’s music, while simultaneously overlaying personal music identities.
In early-March of 2020, they spent three days north of Toronto, in Carling Township, recording. It was decisively winter, with frozen water pipes, at least two feet of snow, and the surface of the Georgian Bay covered in ice. A beautiful, harsh landscape. After recording non-stop, with breaks only for eating, hand-warming, and sorting out gear-related hiccups, they tracked enough material for a debut album: “Ontario 559 West“, released on August 28th, 2020.
“But this is more than a homage, for it seeks to capture what it was that made Drake so special, to expand Drake’s limited repertoire with some new songs he might have written. As such, it is a contemplative reminder of a life sadly lost, but also an unexpected pleasure, and from a most unusual source.” – JazzJournal, by Simon Adams
“The magic of desolate and pure nature resounds in every sparse note you hear.” – JazzHalo, by Georges Tonla Briquet
“an alluring concept which is executed by two sympathetic musicians.” – The WholeNote, by Ted Parkinson
“Touching simplicity is difficult to create, on this album it is wonderfully achieved. A pleasure to listen to!” – Wulf’s Music Blog, by Wulf Muller
To purchase a hard copy of the album, use my contact form! An album is $10 plus postage (between $2-5).
Ian is a guitarist and composer who now calls a little nook of bedrock on the shoreline of Georgian Bay (Ontario, Canada) home. Much of Ian’s musicality has come to be by virtue of the traditions of jazz music and blues music and his exploration of these. Ian has come across some things that he thinks are interesting in his meanderings with the guitar, and aims to continue to share them. Ian is a recent graduate of the University of Toronto’s jazz program, who grew up in the United States.
Harrison Argatoff is a Canadian tenor saxophonist and composer based in Toronto. A graduate of The University of Toronto’s jazz program, he strives to create an original musical voice capable of imparting personality, character, and vulnerability. Having grown up a Doukhobor, in the interior of British Columbia, teachings of pacifism, communal music making, and respect for life and nature have deeply affected his personal and artistic endeavors. Harrison’s music combines the study of many musics, including free improvised music, jazz music, and classical music.