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The first thing conspicuous about Brandon Wright's recording Boiling Point is his rhythm section, composed of pianist David Kikoski, bassist Hans Glawischnig and drummer Matt Wilson. A second curiosity is exactly who this precocious young saxophonist is to have such a rhythm section. Wright, the 2009 ASCAP Foundation Young Jazz Composer award recipient originally from Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey, was educated at the Universities of Michigan and Miami, and of late, a member of or appeared in the Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra, The Mingus Big Band and the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra. He has been leading his own quartet for several years and has finally gotten around to recording as a leader, fronting a quintet of the aforementioned rhythm section augmented by trumpeter Alex Sipiagin.
Wright composed five of the eight pieces included on Boiling Point, the lone standard being a reflective "Here's That Rainy Day," on which Wright summons the tones of Stan Getz and Ben Webster infused with the muscularity of Dexter Gordon. But first things first, the opening "Free Man" is a thoroughly modern blues that has Wright breaking out in solo like John Coltrane on "'Round Midnight" except sounding like Sonny Rollins. Wright's attack is sure and true with no hesitancy in his playing. Both his writing and playing indicate he knows exactly what he wants to do. An empathic, almost telepathic relationship with his crack rhythm section also helps. Sipiagin provides a firebrand brass foil to Wright's assertive approach, being no less assertive and perhaps even more musically loquacious.
Kikoski performs at his angular best on the opener and the disc's title piece. He is the whimsical one of the bunch, charging Wright's straight ahead momentum with left, right and U-turns, all anticipated supernaturally by uber-bassist Glawischnig. Glawischnig and drummer Wilson tighten Wright and Sipiagin's swing on "Castaway" keeping the two jazz pedantics from spinning off into some post bop orbit around the planet Tony Williams. Wright already possesses an impressive resume that should only improve. At his current 27 years, he'll be expected to have a long and creative career and it will be much fun to watch this young talent mature into a true master.
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.