All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...


Brandon Wright: Journeyman

Bruce Lindsay By

Sign in to view read count
Beware of album titles that seem to damn with faint praise. Although saxophonist Brandon Wright takes inspiration for the title of his second album from the words of novelist Cormac McCarthy, Journeyman is a term that usually conjures up an image of a reliable, hard-working, solid but uninspiring type of person. All admirable qualities, of course, but hardly earth shattering or applicable to the playing talent of the New York based musician. It's clear from Wright's opening phrase on "Shapeshifter" that he's much, much, more than a reliable worker.

Wright's playing is strong, fluid and melodic from the start. His long, flowing tenor lines are a pleasure to hear. His debut, Boiling Point (Posi-Tone, 2010), featured trumpeter Alex Sipiagin alongside Wright. On Journeyman, Wright is out front on his own, but he shoulders the extra sonic responsibility with verve and confidence.

"Shapeshifter" establishes not only Wright's chops, but also the strength of the rhythm section. Donald Edwards' driving percussion gives the entire quartet an energy and dynamism. Boris Kozlov's bass stays low in the mix but matches Edwards' swing and power. Pianist David Kikoski—who also appears on Boiling Point—combines stabbing, rich, left-hand chords with intricate single note runs.

Wright's original compositions are engaging. His description of "Walk Of Shame" as a "funky blues" sums it up neatly: straightforward, immediate and fun. "Illusions Of Light" shows that he can also write a soulful ballad—and deliver an equally soulful saxophone part—while the more aggressive hard bop of "Big Bully" finds Wright and Kikoski producing excellent up-tempo solos underpinned by Koslov and Edwards' rock solid, driving rhythm.

Boiling Point featured Wright's take on the Stone Temple Pilots' rock classic "Interstate Love Song." On Journeyman, he follows with interpretations of two other rock tunes. Oasis' Brit Pop standard, "Wonderwall," gets a swinging, straight-ahead treatment though the original song leant so much on the vocal that an instrumental version lacks a clear focus despite Wright's tense, upper-register solo. Pearl Jam's "Better Man," written by Eddie Vedder, proves to be a more inspired choice. Wright takes the original's slightly bitter tone and replaces it with a more regretful mood, established by Kikoski's piano as well as his own tenor saxophone.

A lack of familiarity with McCarthy's romanticized image might just make some fans wonder whether this album is worth exploring. That would be a mistake. Wright is an imaginative and hard-blowing saxophonist and a creative composer. This Journeyman inspires, and more.

Track Listing: Shapeshifter; Better Man; Walk Of Shame; Illusions Of Light; Big Bully; Choices; Search For Truth; Wonderwall; The Nearness Of You; He'll Make Me Happy.

Personnel: Brandon Wright: tenor saxophone; David Kikoski: piano; Boris Kozlov: bass; Donald Edwards: drums.

Title: Journeyman | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Posi-Tone Records


Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles


Posi-Tone Records

Boiling Point

Boiling Point

Posi-Tone Records


Related Articles

Read This City CD/LP/Track Review
This City
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 24, 2018
Read More Songs About Error And Shame CD/LP/Track Review
More Songs About Error And Shame
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 24, 2018
Read West Coast Trio CD/LP/Track Review
West Coast Trio
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: March 24, 2018
Read Sun Embassy CD/LP/Track Review
Sun Embassy
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 24, 2018
Read The Pocket Philharmonic Orchestra, Peter Stangel – Beethoven Revisited Symphonies 1-9 CD/LP/Track Review
The Pocket Philharmonic Orchestra, Peter Stangel –...
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 24, 2018
Read Lala Belu CD/LP/Track Review
Lala Belu
by Chris May
Published: March 23, 2018
Read "A Humdrum Star" CD/LP/Track Review A Humdrum Star
by Phil Barnes
Published: February 8, 2018
Read "Orientation" CD/LP/Track Review Orientation
by Troy Dostert
Published: February 18, 2018
Read "Hybrido - From Rio To Wayne Shorter" CD/LP/Track Review Hybrido - From Rio To Wayne Shorter
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 12, 2017
Read "Other Animal" CD/LP/Track Review Other Animal
by Troy Dostert
Published: February 7, 2018
Read "Golan/Al Joulan Vol. 2" CD/LP/Track Review Golan/Al Joulan Vol. 2
by Karl Ackermann
Published: May 8, 2017
Read "NJO 40" CD/LP/Track Review NJO 40
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 1, 2017