David Bixler: Call It A Good Deal (2006)
Apart from the breadth of Bixler's compositions, the recording's success rides on a flexible, knowing rhythm section. Although Ugonna Okegwo's judiciously placed bass lines usually guide the band in an unobtrusive manner, his pointed notes dart around the melody of "Game Face. Andy Watson's discrete, loose time feel works well with the changeable nature of the material. The drummer's playful accents scurry about the grinding, insistent foundation of "Aiding and Abetting. Guitarist John Hart's tone and attack varies to meet the requirements of each composition. Subdued, unaccompanied musings make for a modest introduction to the stately "Unraveled, and his nimble chords provide a fine backdrop for Scott Wendholt's extroverted solo on an up-tempo section of "Gemenlie.
While Okegwo, Watson and Hart create a thickset, slow-to-medium straight-ahead groove during another segment of "Gemenlie, Bixler begins his solo by coaxing long, dense tones from the horn, briefly plays explosive bop-oriented runs, then dives back into the rhythm section's propulsive stew. He's the lead voice, yet it's hard to imagine the solo without the others moving around him, each in his own related orbit. Like Bixler's other improvisations on the recording, the somewhat deliberate lines enable us to savor each note, and he maintains a certain level of tension without resorting to histrionics.
Track Listing: Aiding and Abetting; Unraveled; Game Face; Gemenlie; Scratch and Sniff the Jive; He Cries Everyday; Good Deal?.
Personnel: David Bixler: alto saxophone; Scott Wendholt: trumpet; John Hart: guitar; Andy Watson: drums; Ugonna Okegwo: bass.
Record Label: Zoho Music