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New Directions could signify a paradigm shift for alto saxophonist Travis Sullivan's eighteen-piece Björkestra, a unit dedicated to performing arrangements of Icelandic pop vocalist Björk. Sullivan goes back to his fundamental mainstream jazz roots on the lyrically rich New Directions, assembled with memorable comps and sterling interplay from his quartet. Sullivan's vocal-like tonalities and muscular alto work casts an acoustic game plan that often yields electrifying results.
Sullivan generates memorable compositions while injecting a spirited aura into the program, making "Tuneology" serve as a fitting analogy for his sensitized approach via a brisk, tight-knit bop groove, interspersed with drummer Brian Fishler's snappy Latin beats. Sullivan's fluent phraseology is wrapped into a full-bodied sound amid his cunning improvisational segments while the rhythm section sizzles, complemented by pianist Mike Eckroth, who dances around the primary theme.
The quartet reaches for the stars on "Tuneology." With memorable licks and gravitating performances, the music attains a higher level of interest, countering the influx of post-bop modernism that sometimes moves forward without much traction or significance. Sullivan abides by a qualitative musical ethic on New Directions.
Personnel: Travis Sullivan: alto saxophone; Mike Eckroth: piano; Marco Panascia: bass; Brian Fishler: drums.
I grew up listening to mainstream '70s rock then ended up on the staff at the college paper at San Diego State, and volunteered to review heavy metal LPs. My second semester, the music editor dropped a Fenton Robinson LP on my desk, Night Flight. You like metal; they play guitar--he plays guitar, the editor told me
I grew up listening to mainstream '70s rock then ended up on the staff at the college paper at San Diego State, and volunteered to review heavy metal LPs. My second semester, the music editor dropped a Fenton Robinson LP on my desk, Night Flight. You like metal; they play guitar--he plays guitar, the editor told me. If we don't run a review, Alligator Records is going to stop servicing us.
Night Flight opened up a whole new world for me--the blues led me, inevitably, to Basie, who led to Duke, who led to Mingus, who led to Miles, who led to ...