The album artwork looks more conducive for video game fare, but trumpeter Scott Wilson who heads the jazz program at the University of Florida directs this hip nonet through a rather stout course of action. At times, the ensemble sparks memories of early jazz fusion, back in the day when even jazz musicians had shoulder length hair and would occasionally flash a peace sign. And the audio processing instills a compact and resonating soundstage with some degree of compression, tendering a stylization that is sort of a throwback to the ballsy, in-your-face jazz of the '70s. But the leader fuses a contempo vibe on this program, containing originals and modern jazz classics.
Wilson also plays the Electronic Wind Instrument (EWI) which is an 8-octave wind controller popularized by saxophonists Michael Brecker and Tom Scott and created by Nyle Steiner in 1975. Armed with a fierce, in-your-face mode of attack via spry horn arrangements, stinging guitars, resonating electric keys, and punchy in-the-pocket grooves, the musical portraiture also includes memorable hooks and strapping theme-building episodes. The musicians often operate within straight-four cadences, amid staggered deviations and snazzy breakouts. Wilson's gallant and zinging solos are nicely offset by Chris Rottmayer's crisp Fender Rhodes phrasings and Richy Stano's distortion-laden guitar lines. But they also generate warmth, while always maintaining a strong sense of direction with a few streamlined horn arrangements, abetted by the frontline's spirited solos.
The band dishes out hummable motifs and perky Latin jazz vamps while executing a breezy, sentimental storyline on Hank Mobley's "Home at Last." Here, the saxophonists drive the momentum with contrasting statements atop a bubbly rock pulse. Yet they come right at you during their layered, harmonious and guileful rendition of Joe Henderson's "Recorda Me." In sum, the ensemble bridges impressive chops, strong compositions, excitable soloing activities and hearty arrangements into a sustainable and immensely entertaining schema.
Track Listing: Kackle Jackle; View for Kings; Voodoo Dance; Kiss That Told Me; Green
Bird; Lonnie’s Lament; Home at Last; Recorda Me; Needing You.
Personnel: Keith Wilson: Zen drums, drums; Chris Rottmayer: keyboards; Chuck
Archard: bass; Scott Wilson: trumpet and Electronic Valve Instrument
(EVI); Tom Dietz: tenor saxophone; Kevin Hicks: trombone; Chris Davis:
strings and effects; Jaydon Bean: drums (1, 3, 7, 8, 9); Richy Stano:
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already. SOOOO... he started me off LP's by Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Errol Garner, Bill Evans, Monty Alexander, Charlie Byrd, and Dave Brubeck... does it get any better than that? ...No, it doesn't. I was hooked!!
I met and had a master class with the late music giant John Lewis, leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet! This was at CCNY in 1977. I was blessed! It was an incredible class... how could it have been anything else?!?!
The first jazz record I bought was...I bought numerous records from my friend at the record store, as mentioned above. He introduced me to nothing but music giants/legends! I think The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Greatest Hits, was actually the first one.
My advice to new listeners... study first--understand the rudiments--solfeggio, keys, scales, and basic chords. Read a book or take a class that includes the study of chord progressions, especially in jazz. It should ideally be a piano class so you can play multiple notes together. Have a good EAR or else it's not really worth it in my view...to become a musician, a good EAR for music is about as fundamental as breathing! Learn to read chord charts--i.e., lead sheets - wherein you play various voicings of the chords--major, minor, dominant 7th (alterations of these, you can learn over time - the basic chords are most important for starters), plus the melody, on the piano or keyboard. If you have to read the exact notes, then it's not the same as actually internalizing it & getting it all into your head. If you can do this, I think you're ready not only for listening to jazz, but understanding many concepts of it! Of course...anyone can listen to jazz... but I think it's so good to also have a grasp of it.