Tuesday, May 22, 2012

THE WRIGHT STUFF

I promised Jordy Freed of DL Media I’d comment on your new disc “Journeyman”. He gave me an advance copy in April. I liked the disc the first time I played it. I planned to comment on it with three other new discs I received from jazz saxophone players, but I got sidetracked. Jordy, compared your style to the late sax player Michael Brecker, one of the best sax stylists around.  

Saturday, I played “Journeyman” again. My feelings about it haven't changed. It's hard to find a pure jazz album devoid of circus gimmicks and a bunch of special guests . 

Instead of hiring big named special guests, you gave drummer Donald Edwards. piano player David Kikoski and bass player Boris Kozlov top billing, and worked them like subcontractors.  I dig that you're a clean-cut jazz sax player. You don't have a lot of frequent flier miles as a bandleader yet, but throughout "Journeyman" you behaved like a dignified veteran. 


Many jazz sax players of your generation play as if they have bottled up hostility. I won’t name them. Some are probably your friends. I was surprised "Journeyman" is only your second disc. My favorite cuts are "Walk of Shame"  and "Illusion of Light". 


I had three helpings of “Walk of Shame”. It’s played at a rump shaking tempo. You didn't get carried  away  improvising. You kept it clean. I replayed the ballad “Illusion of Light” five times. I disliked it initially. I figured you hadn't endured enough heartache to play a ballad like your sax forefathers Ben Webster, Jimmy Forrest, and Dexter Gordon. They were balladeers who could make a motivational speaker weep. 

 Sometimes I distrust my first impression of things, so I listened to “Illusion of Light” again. "Illusion of Light,“ I realized, is the perfect baby making ballad. As you neared the last chorus, I pictured your horn melting in your hands. “ Jordy was right “Journeyman” is a worthwhile disc, and I recommend my reader’s buy it. 

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