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Ryan Kisor: Point of Arrival

C. Andrew Hovan By

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Maybe a case of just a bit too much too soon, trumpeter Ryan Kisor hit the big time and had two major label albums under his belt while still barely out of his teens. Then we heard little from him for a while before his gig at Lincoln Center started to provide some visibility. In the meantime, Kisor is no worse for the wear and he has become an even more developed player. In fact, Kisor can consider himself in the upper echelon of contemporary jazz trumpeters, with a warm delivery and confident improvisation style that is very matured indeed.

Confidence is spelled with a capital “c” by Kisor on his second Criss Cross outing as he again goes it alone as the sole front-line horn. Last time out, on Battle Cry, Sam Yahel’s organ trio provided the backing, while this one goes for piano, bass, and drums as the rhythm team. Aside from pianist Peter Zak, Kisor’s other partners are holdovers from Horace Silver’s current lineup- Chicago bassist John Webber and drummer Willie Jones III. The foursome definitely has some chemistry going which makes Kisor’s job as the main solo voice just that much easier.

As Kisor states in the album liners, the models for this date are such trumpet and rhythm section classics as Kenny Dorham’s Quiet Kenny and Art Farmer’s Art and Perception. The prominent mood is a relaxed one that takes advantage of some strong writing from all hands and a few golden standards thrown in for good measure. The waltz tempo must be a Kisor favorite, as heard in the opening title track and the Willie Jones line “Jessica’s Theme.” Ballads are also a strong point for Kisor, his touching statement from “The Lonely Hour” being an album highlight. “Smoke Signal” and “For All We Know” hit that slow walking groove that makes you just snap your fingers or tap your foot and they’re both deeply satisfying.

As previously stated, Kisor has the goods to deliver on what could be a challenging task for any trumpeter. He shows too that it must run in the family, based on his duet with brother Justin on "Sir Lancelot." In the process, Point of Arrival easily joins the ranks of its predecessors and shows further growth from an artist we’ll want to keep our eyes on.


Personnel: Ryan Kisor- trumpet, Justin Kisor- trumpet (track 8 only), Peter Zak- piano, John Webber- bass, Willie Jones III- drums

Title: Point of Arrival | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Criss Cross


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