How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
New York based tenor saxophonist and composer Brandon Wright debuts confidently as a leader on Boiling Pointa strong and enjoyable straight-ahead album that seems set to establish his reputation on the jazz scene. Wright surrounds himself with some fine musicians and makes a judicious and unusual selection of standards to accompany his own tunes, ensuring a consistently high quality recording.
The opening riff of "Free Man," played by Wright and trumpeter Alex Sipiagin
, starts things off with a real bangit's hard hitting, emphatic and swinging. "Boiling Point" is in a similar hard bop veinthis time Wright's tenor takes the lead line on its own while the rhythm section drives the tune forward. "Drift" is, by contrast, a smooth and gorgeous tune on which all of the musicians demonstrate real mastery of their instrumentscontrolled yet emotive performances across the board here, especially from bassist Hans Glawischnig
Wright's arrangements of two jazz standards are excellent. Jimmy Van Heusen's "Here's That Rainy Day" and Harry Warren's "You're My Everything" are beautifully played, with Wright's warm and confident tenor playing to the foreDavid Kikoski
's piano solos are also extremely impressive, showing a delicate and sympathetic touch.
Wright is not simply locked into the jazz traditionhe also has an ear for the music of other genres as he ably demonstrates with a version of "Interstate Love Song," written by Robert DeLeo of hard rock band Stone Temple Pilots. Wright takes the tuneoriginally on the band's 1994 album Purple (Atlantic) and voted 58th in VH-1's 100 Top Hard Rock Songsand performs it on his own terms, investing the tune with a real straight-ahead jazz feel rather than attempting to "rock out." The result is a successa fluid, melodic, arrangement that retains some of the song's hard edge but is recognizably a jazz performance.
Boiling Point is an intriguing album, with some exceptional playing from all of the musicians. Wright clearly demonstrates his writing and playing talents while his version of "Interstate Love Song" shows that he is willing to step out of the jazz mainstream in search of interesting and adaptable tunesit's an exploration that more jazz musicians should be willing to undertake and sets Wright up as a talented innovator of great promise.
Track Listing: Free Man; Drift; Odd Man Out; Boiling Point; Here's That Rainy Day; Castaway; Interstate Love Song; You're My Everything.
Personnel: Brandon Wright: tenor saxophone; Alex Sipiagin: trumpet; David Kikoski: Piano; Hans Glawischnig: bass; Matt Wilson: drums.