Lonnie Plaxico’s maturity as a musician comes to the fore in his first release under the jazz banner label Blue Note as Mélange finds him putting together almost 30 years of professional musical experience in a recording that works well.
Plaxico wisely allows the supporting cast of this flecked tale to make the most of their respective roles; hence, the bass playing does not suffer from “featuritis.” With the exception of the opening tune, “Squib Cakes,” the album’s leader wrote the rest of the compositions and the music was written out, offering a consolidated vision, although with enough freedom for the players to enjoy themselves and for the music to breathe openly. Such concocted breathing space does allow the soloists some unforgettable moments, even though the most memorable lines are provided by the overall salutary effect of the entire date, taken as a whole, or “eaten” as a musical mixed sushi dinner. Think of each musical roll, and bite thereof, as an introduction to some familiar tastes, within some striking presentations, mixed and prepared through some untried recipes. Whether or not he can defeat the Iron Chefs of jazz is besides Plaxico’s concern; you, however, can be the judge of that.
Plaxico can play, arrange, compose and record... that much is clear.
I was first exposed to jazz when I discovered that one of Jimi Hendrix's influences was Wes Montgomery. I played guitar growing up and idolized Hendrix, so I knew that anyone he looked up to must be good
I was first exposed to jazz when I discovered that one of Jimi Hendrix's influences was Wes Montgomery. I played guitar growing up and idolized Hendrix, so I knew that anyone he looked up to must be good. I was 16 at the time. I went to Tower Records and purchased a CD by Wes, and I was hooked from the very first ten seconds. The sound of the song Lolita illuminated my bedroom, as I just sat back amazed at how colorful and soulful this music was--I understood it, even though at the time I didn't understand how to go about playing it. I get chills listening to Wes' solo on Lolita, and I can still listen to that song ten times in a row and never get tired of it. There is a truly timeless quality to genuinely spontaneous jazz music, and it is that quality that has inspired me to devote my life to studying and playing this music.