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In the midst of the numerous sounds any jazz listener can be exposed to, it's hard for a performer to distinguish themselves from the crowd. Guitarist Josh Maxey ,in an undoubtable effort of seeking original sounds, has taken up that challenge since 2011 and composed ten albums. The ninth in this series, Completing the Cycle, sounds like a quest coming to a close. The sounds are profound enough to give food for thought. Their complexity lies in their agreeable touch and mood of reverie.
Maxey creates melodies and themes that seemingly revolve around sensations from a journey he once embarked upon. That path is traced by "Completing the Cycle," a slippery song characterized by changing tempo, free floating solos and a strong correlation between bass and drums. "Interlude" and "Coda," come as respective stops, while "The Far Country" continues with exploratory guitar. "The Tombs" resumes a similar voyage, where Maxey excels at twisting solos between jazz and blues moods. The blues mood is part of the voyage through "Hellhound," a rustic conversation between Maxey and guitarist Jeff Nicholson, followed by "Riviera," a fabulous guitar showcase where each note gets prominence, detached from the rest. The more exploratory and versatile "Dear Ones" adds a gospel nudge through the loose keyboard work of Brian Charette.
Less languid and more evocative, but not lacking in poetry, some songs convey vibrant sensations. "Hiding in Plain Sight" has a jazz feel, cut by moaning blues notes. The less boisterous but more rhythmic "Intent" is a promenade, conducted by Maxey and attended to on keyboard by Charette. Harmonious enough, the song confers sagacity. The same feeling echoes in "Mountain View," which comes as a denouement and confers a sense of completeness and achievement. The harmonious piano and guitar work at the end of the song conjures up a moment of epiphany.
Nevertheless, the quest is never ending for Maxey, who takes over on "Incarnate." Fast bass rhythms followed by Tim Collins' solos on vibes give the sound an infinite dimension.
Completing the cycle are a bunch of tripping sensations, construed by a gifted guitarist, seeking an original approach to the varied textures of jazz.
Track Listing: Completing the Cycle; Interlude; The Far Country; Coda;
Hellhound; The Tombs; Part III (The Language of Sound and Spirit); Dear Ones; Riviera; Intent ;
Hiding in Plain Sight; Mountain View; Incarnate
Personnel: Josh Maxey, guitar;Jeff Jenkins, piano; Ken Walker, bass; Paul Shaw,
drums. David Nicholson, guitar #5,9: Brian Charette piano/Keyboard
#6,12; Rob Woodcock, bass #6,12; Evan Pazner, drums #6,12; Chase Baird,
saxophone #7; Jeremy Noller, drums #7; McClenty Huner, drums #8,10,13;
John Tate, bass #11; Tim Collins, vibes #13; Aaron James, bass #13.
Year Released: 2014
| Record Label: Self Produced
| Style: Modern Jazz
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.