Corey Christiansen Quartet: Outlaw Tractor (2010)
Christiansen tightens things up on Outlaw Tractor, a true feat when considering Roll With It was tight as a drum. The disc opener sets the tone, and that tone is Les McCann, Eddie Harris, Ramsey Lewis"The In Crowd" funky. "Down Time" begins with a brief organ processional that introduces Christiansen's too-funky-to-live subject. His tone remains slightly fuzzy and round, distorted in the middle of the reverberation spectrum. This gives his chording a punchy, bright feel. The first solo out is saxophonist David Halliday, who squeezes notes out like Lee Morgan on The Jazz Messengers' "Moanin,'" redefining the meaning of "bad" in the jazz vernacular. Organist Pat Bianchi plays conservatively, never overwhelming even in his solos. Origin mainstay Matt Jorgensen deftly provides the rhythmic momentum to sent this boat forward.
"When You Want" features an equally funky introductory line that evolves into the piece's angular head. Guitar and saxophone double over Bianchi's harmonic supportChristiansen's solo pithy with attitude, while Halliday paints outside the lines and the organist plays from the Funky Church of Al Green. This is beautifully conceived soul jazz given a 21st Century spin. All seven selections, Christiansen originals, mine this rich loam of American music and present it in a spic and span modern fashion. The compositions are both immediate familiar and, at the same time, brand new. Outlaw Tractor is an improvement over the excellent Roll With It, and that is saying something.
Track Listing: Down Time; Carefree; When You Want; Starstepper; Outlaw Tractor; Big Kids; The Penguins Deserve Better.
Personnel: Corey Christiansen: guitar; David Halliday: saxophone; Pat Bianchi: organ; Matt Jorgensen: drums.
Record Label: Origin Records