David Bixler, who is first alto in the Arturo O'Farrill Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra, fronts his own quintet here to deliver a session that is long on compositional dimensionality and rhythmic backbone. Bixler pairs with Scott Wendholt's razor-sharp trumpet to slice angles through these intricate pieces, and he's not afraid to take a chance with refreshingly unfettered writing. By combining with guitarist John Hart's oblique leads and dexterous chordal cleverness, they make Call It A Good Deal shine like a brilliantly cut diamond.
The haltingly quirky yet powerfully memorable signature of the odd-metered "Aiding and Abetting makes the potency of this rhythm section immediately evident. The rhythms are gems unto themselves as bassist Ugonna Okegwo and drummer Andy Watson alternately propel the band or set a relaxing palette for Bixler and Wendholt to reveal their rich, open voices on the more leisurely paced offerings.
Bixler has a crisp approach that doesn't sacrifice the inherent warm timbre of his instrument, and he meshes well with Wendholt for beautiful alto/trumpet harmonies throughout. Hart shows off some fiery rock lead work on the funky cooker "Scratch and Sniff the Jive, while the pensive ballad "He Cries Every Day gains its free-flowing feel from both graceful horn harmonies and Watson's elegant percussive augmentations.
Hart is superbly subtle as he enhances the melody of "Unraveled and then joins with Bixler and Wendholt to lull "Gemenlie into a false sense of security, before whirling away on a swinging ride. The title cut and closer, the self-questioning "Good Deal?, permits alto, trumpet and guitar to stretch out against a sweet up-tempo rhythm. Each of these seven multifaceted originals is a complex composition whose nooks and crannies are expertly explored by each player.
Track Listing: Aiding and Abetting; Unraveled; Game Face; Gemenlie; Scratch And Sniff The Jive; He Cries Every Day; Good Deal?.
Personnel: David Bixler: alto saxophone; Scott Wendholt: trumpet; John Hart; guitar; Ugonna Okegwo: bass; Andy Watson: drums.
I grew up listening to my father's jazz records and listening to the radio. My dad was a musician for many years as a vocalist, bassist and drummer. His two uncles played in the Symphony of Reggio Calabria back in Italy
I grew up listening to my father's jazz records and listening to the radio. My dad was a musician for many years as a vocalist, bassist and drummer. His two uncles played in the Symphony of Reggio Calabria back in Italy. So music and jazz specifically have been a part of me since I was born. I love and perform in all styles of music from around the world. Improvisation in jazz is what drew me in, and still does as well as other genres that feature improvisation. A group of great musicians expressing themselves as one is the hallmark of great jazz and in fact all great music.