A talented young saxophonist, Brandon Wright came to NYC from Miami and honed his craft in its intimate uptown and downtown venues, while taking advantage of the Petri dish nature of its musician collegiality. And Wright obviously did more than just show up and play. He had to have listened, learned, practiced and sweated to master the full-throated sound that so impresses on each of Boiling Point's eight cuts. As is obvious from both the compositional strength of the originals and the level of integrative ensemble work, Wright also learned that to be a great leader you need a rhythm section up to the task. In pianist David Kikoski, bassist Hans Glawischnig and drummer Matt Wilson, he has chosen very well.
The whole range of the tenor is here and Wright's horn can be both smoky and smoke. The opening "Free Man" and title cut are bop vehicles that have broad rhythmic soundscape,s on which Wright swings and wails, showing who's boss. Trumpeter Alex Sipiagin is also featured on several cuts and the two meld, fly off in different directions and then come back together in ways that can thrill the soul and touch the heart.
While Wright and Sipiagin can both certainly blow, the more introspective tunes like "Drift" reveal a gorgeous mature blending of warm sounds. Kikoski sets up a quirky mood and is perhaps "Odd Man Out" as the two front men blend beautifully while the pianist then waxes classically and beautifully to begin a gorgeously melodic Ben Webster-esque rendition of "Here's That Rainy Day." An interesting inclusion is Stone Temple Pilots' "Interstate Love Song," that has its countrified grunge morphed into urban sophistication.
It is easy to point out what's wrong with NYC jazz but Brandon Wright's debut as a leader points out everything about it that is so right.
Free Man; Drift; Odd Man Out; Boiling Point; Here's That Rainy Day;
Castaway; Interstate Love Song; You're My Everything.
Brandon Wright: tenor saxophone; Alex Sipiagin: trumpet; David Kikoski:
piano; Hans Glawischnig: bass; Matt Wilson: drums.