Australian jazz guitarist Quentin Bryan Angus has a more complicated back story than most. Based in New York City since 2010 (where he is Associate Professor of Music for the City University of New York), he appears here on a German record label. He leads an empathetic trio with bassist Sam Anning and busy drummer Ari Hoenig. The set list is an ambitious, eclectic blend of originals, jazz standards, and contemporary pop/rock covers.
The opener is Wes Montgomery's "Jingles," which dates back to his debut album The Wes Montgomery Trio (Riverside, 1959)an energetic version in which Angus wisely chooses not to employ the octave passages and block chords associated with Montgomery's playing. It also serves as a good reference point for Angus' guitar playing: a modern, clean tone with no obvious processing or effectsand plenty of both good taste and technique.
This is followed by a cover of the Goo Goo Dolls' "Iris" (if the title does not ring a bell, the lyrics include the repeated line "I just want you to know who I am""). No radical re-harmonization here, just a straightforward presentation of the tune. The title tune is next: an up-tempo original which includes a drum solo that is accompanied by the rest of the band. It's a pattern repeated on other tunes in the program, giving Hoenig the kind of structured solo space more often found in big band arrangements.
Angus' other originals are equally memorable, with "Droplets" being especially sprightly. Saxophonist Charlie Parker's "Segment" shows the trio in full bebop mode, fast and hard. For Oasis' "Wonderwall" the bass sings the song, with the guitar taking over the bridge for contrast. Hoenig contributes a cool little tag, playing a snippet of the melody on his drums, unaccompanied. It's a great example of the creativity Angus and his band mates bring to the basic trio format. Quentin Angus is definitely a guitarist worth watching, and I look forward to hearing more from this band.
Jingles; Iris; In Stride; One for Bernie; Segment; Droplets; Wonderwall; Kinship.
Quentin Angus: guitar; Sam Anning: bass; Ari Hoenig: drums.
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