Posi-Tone Records is known for showcasing nascent talent, often aligned with proven jazz warriors. With his sophomore release for the label, young tenor saxophonist Brandon Wright garners sympathetic and dynamic support from his ensemble, comprising time-honored vets, such as pianist David Kikoski and bassist Boris Kozlov. Drummer Donald Edwards transmits a holistic rhythmic stance with his acute penchant for toggling between soft and accenting accompaniment or when kicking matters into tenth gear. Possessing a big, blustery sound, Wright executes a manifold rendition of pop-rock vocalist Eddie Vedder's (Pearl Jam) "Better Man."
Wright exceeds any expectations of providing a literal jazz cover of a pop tune. Most important is that he transcends the norm via a hybrid, Latin, jazz waltz and swing composite, and works the piece through various ebbs and flows. Hs spirited attack suggests a deeply personal interpretation, touched with edgy overtones.
Wright's commanding musical presence boasts a sound that is seemingly cloaked in iron, yet tempers the proceedings with soft tonalities atop Kikoski's deft comping and lyrically resplendent solo during the bridge. At times, the saxophonist skirts the outside schema and soars with feverish aplomb towards the finale amid the pianist's lush phrasings. Wright indubitably circumvents the norm on this curiously interesting and refreshing perspective on a vestige of pop culture.
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
First time I met Lee Konitz, my mentor who completely changed my life, in 1992. He was giving a masterclass at the Cologne Conservatory (Germany) where I was a freshmen (with playing experience around three years total)
First time I met Lee Konitz, my mentor who completely changed my life, in 1992. He was giving a masterclass at the Cologne Conservatory (Germany) where I was a freshmen (with playing experience around three years total). He saw an alto sax on my neck and said: Hey, how about you there, would you like to play something for us? I played a piece with the piano. OK, said Lee, how about you play something unaccompanied? Oh yeah! I was deep into transcribing Sonny Stitt and pretty much into playing as fast as possible as many right notes as possible. So I played Oleo in about 300 beats per minute and was very proud of myself. Lee was tapping his foot all the way through. Hmm, he said, that was in time and all that... (I thought - yeah, of course, haha!) and then he said, You've got a lot of quantity, how about quality? It took me 15 years to realize what he meant.