How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
The appeal of saxophonist, Brandon Wright comes fast, bearing a rather lyrical swagger. This young tenor player shows plenty of confidenceeven cockinessand a mature attitude on Boiling Point. Wright has a full, round tone and a forthright attack; his fingering is deft, almost like a stage magician, and it bodes with it a whispering glissando in the dying elements of his phrases and notes. His solos are full of bright ideas and flow full and free, billowing in gentle gusts of breezy air expelled from pliant lungs. They grow vertically, spiraling upwards with elegant power, twirling around his peers, especially trumpeter Alex Sipiagin
, and the arpeggios were incessant and full of dynamic tension. However, Wright is his own man as well and sounds less like 'Trane than imagined. If ancestry is being sought, then he has descended from a melting pot that includes more Wayne Shorter
than 'Trane. Still his voice is distinctive. The breathtaking pace of "Free Man" is followed by the more thoughtful, almost languorous "Drift." "Odd Man Out" is bewitching and tricky, both harmonically and rhythmically. "Castaway" returns to a mysterious melody, indicating that Wright somewhat favors the more magical elements of sound rather than the logical, mathematical notation of music, for here he bends notes and makes them twist and turn as he plays with tone and textures; this is such a thrill to the ear.
Of the standards fare offered, "Here's That Rainy Day" is soaked in emotion, and is a ballad par excellence. The softness of this performance is distinctly vocal, and almost conjures up the spirit of someone like Sarah Vaughan
as Wright's heartrending melody unfolds. "Interstate Love Song" negotiates its elegiac content with mature expertise, as the song swings gently between waltz-time and a quickstep. "You Are My Everything" is another masterfully melodic sashay from a musician who combines the best sense of lyricism and romance of music, altogether eschewing crass sentimentality.
Part of the reason Wright blows with heartfelt abandon is that he is accompanied on his tuneful journey by a fine group of musicianscohorts from regular working bands like the Mingus Big Band