52

Brandon Wright: Journeyman

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Brandon Wright: Journeyman Saxophonist Brandon Wright sells himself a little short with the title he selected for his sophomore release. While he has been honing his skills while working in the employ of artists like trombonist John Fedchock, E Street Band drummer Max Weinberg and trumpet legend Doc Severinsen, he's hardly an apprentice at this point. Wright's debut—Boiling Point (Posi-Tone, 2010)—gave notice that a new and exciting saxophone slinger had entered the picture and Journeyman helps to confirm his status as one of the brightest, up-and-coming talents on the scene today.

On his first album, Wright went with a quintet that featured a two-horn front line. This gave him an opportunity to play off of, and react to, trumpeter Alex Sipiagin, as both men carried the weight of the music together, but Wright goes it alone here. By choosing the quartet format, Wright draws greater attention to his own playing, while also establishing a stronger connection with the rhythm section.

The three men that fill out the roster are all connected to Wright through their mutual work in the Mingus Big Band. This helps in establishing a strong level of comfort and communication between all parties involved. Pianist David Kikoski is the only holdover from Boiling Point and he acts as a foil for Wright, while the bass-and-drums team of Boris Kozlov and Donald Edwards provides expert support. They lay the groove groundwork when the music calls for firm hands, but they also know how to take a step back and trace lines around the leader's compositions.

Wright wrote six of the ten pieces on the album, including the driving opener ("Shapeshifter") and a winning foray into funk ("Walk Of Shame"), and he fills out the rest of the program with some unusual covers. While a classy take on "The Nearness Of You" is par for this type of course, the inclusion of '90s radio staples from Oasis ("Wonderwall") and Pearl Jam ("Better Man"), along with a number from The Muppets Take Manhattan (Tri-Star Pictures, 1984), are not. Wright's choice to include such songs has nothing to do with pandering to pop fans but, rather, everything to do with his identity and coming of age influences. He grew up with this material, but rather than simply spit these songs out in their original form; he molds them to suit his ideas. "Better Man" touches on the melody of the original in brief, allowing for Wright's instrumental voice to eclipse any Eddie Vedder influence, and "He'll Make Me Happy" provides a swinging conclusion to the album. "Wonderwall" proves to be more loyal to the original than the others, but it's still a far cry from the source.

Journeyman isn't about the act of apprenticing in music. It's about the next step in the journey and Brandon Wright is more than ready for it.


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: saxophone; David Kikoski: piano; Boris Kozlov: bass; Donald Edwards: drums.

Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Posi-Tone Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Miles Davis Miles Davis
trumpet
John Coltrane John Coltrane
saxophone
Sonny Rollins Sonny Rollins
saxophone
Kenny Garrett Kenny Garrett
sax, alto
Freddie Hubbard Freddie Hubbard
trumpet
Joe Lovano Joe Lovano
saxophone
Ron Carter Ron Carter
bass
Sonny Stitt Sonny Stitt
saxophone
Joshua Redman Joshua Redman
saxophone
Johnny Griffin Johnny Griffin
sax, tenor

More Articles

Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Love Dance CD/LP/Track Review Love Dance
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Honest Woman CD/LP/Track Review Honest Woman
by James Nadal
Published: February 20, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read "Zośka" CD/LP/Track Review Zośka
by Anthony Shaw
Published: April 8, 2016
Read "Etchings in Amber" CD/LP/Track Review Etchings in Amber
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: September 1, 2016
Read "Sureste" CD/LP/Track Review Sureste
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: October 2, 2016
Read "Fake It Until You Make It" CD/LP/Track Review Fake It Until You Make It
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 17, 2016
Read "Reverse Camouflage" CD/LP/Track Review Reverse Camouflage
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 26, 2016
Read "Electric Ascension" CD/LP/Track Review Electric Ascension
by John Sharpe
Published: October 5, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!