All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

268

The Dixon-Rhyne Project: Reinvention

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
The configuration may be conventional, but Reinvention is the perfect title for The Dixon-Rhyne Project's debut. Sax/organ/guitar/drums quartets date back to the 1950s and organist Melvin Rhyne brings direct cred to this group, having played on some in the late 1950s and early 1960s including Boss Guitar (Riverside, 1963) and The Wes Montgomery Trio (Riverside, 1959). But the rest of this group—most notably co-leader/saxophonist Rob Dixon—consists of relative youngsters for whom the music Rhyne made in his youth is a reference point, not a strict definer. Reinvention owes some to the soul jazz of decades past; equally it's part of the jazz-centric jam band of Greyboy All-Stars, Soulive and MMW.

It's no surprise that "Chit'lins Con Carne" is the closest Reinvention gets to 1960s soul jazz. The only track not written by Dixon, it's culled from jazz guitar icon Kenny Burrell's classic, Midnight Blue (Blue Note, 1963). A bright blues with a solid backbeat from drummer Kenny Phelps, guitarist Fareed Haque's warm-toned, cleanly articulated playing is further evidence that this member of Indo-centric jam banders Garaj Mahal, who first came to attention in the mid-1990s on the Blue Note label, has always been impossible to pigeon-hole. The buoyant funk of "Melvin's Groove" recalls pre-Breezin' (Warner Bros., 1976) George Benson, more akin to his early albums with organist Dr. Lonnie Smith, but with an unmistakably contemporary sound.

Rhynes, of course, fits into these classic-toned soul jazz tracks with ease. It's on the electro-centric near-fusion of "Tomorrow Sierra" and "Shadow and Light," however, with Haque's blindingly fast but never superfluous solos matched by the complete surprise of Rhyne's Mini-Moog and organ solos, that the attention the keyboardist has been paying to the changes going on around him become crystal clear. Young musicians are often criticized for not being conversant with the tradition, but legacy artists are rarely taken to task for not keeping up with the evolution of that tradition. Rhynes, with a career now in its sixth decade, has been doing anything but standing still.

Dixon is clearly conversant in the language of jazz, even as he writes material that straddles the line between contemporary groove and retro vibe. All too many jam bands write charts with complex themes that settle into vamp-like and, consequently, easier to manage solo sections. Dixon challenges not only himself but his band mates with material where the ability to navigate changes and weave melodies through them is an absolute prerequisite.

Reinvention doesn't break any rules, but it does bend them, and while there's plenty of muscular soloing to please jam band fans and those who like their fusion light and breezy, it's also an album that respects the tradition at its core, growing from it in an organic fashion. Rhythm happy and filled with memorable melodies, it's the kind of catchy contemporary disc that'll make believers out of those who think this kind of music is more defined by style over substance.

Track Listing: Repub Club; Mel's Groove; Shadow and Light; Reinvention; Carousel; Chit'lins Con Carne; Tomorrow Sierra; Fantastic Prizes; Mind's Eye; Johannesburg.

Personnel: Rob Dixon: saxophones; Melvin Rhyne: Hammond B3 Organ, Mini-Moog; Fareed Haque: guitars; Kenny Phelps: drums. Salar Nader: tabla (3, 7); Derrick Gardner: trumpet (5); Richard "Sleepy" Floyd: drums (4); Gary Mielke: percussion (2, 5).

Title: Reinvention | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Owl Studios

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Mønk CD/LP/Track Review
Mønk
by Chris May
Published: September 20, 2018
Read The Music of Gary Lindsay / Are We Still Dreaming CD/LP/Track Review
The Music of Gary Lindsay / Are We Still Dreaming
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 20, 2018
Read Hidden Details CD/LP/Track Review
Hidden Details
by John Kelman
Published: September 20, 2018
Read Selective Coverage CD/LP/Track Review
Selective Coverage
by Jim Olin
Published: September 20, 2018
Read Fat Daddy CD/LP/Track Review
Fat Daddy
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 19, 2018
Read Short Stories CD/LP/Track Review
Short Stories
by Gareth Thompson
Published: September 19, 2018
Read "Transatlantic" CD/LP/Track Review Transatlantic
by Paul Rauch
Published: June 16, 2018
Read "Hugo Fattoruso Y Barrio Opa" CD/LP/Track Review Hugo Fattoruso Y Barrio Opa
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: July 28, 2018
Read "Live At Jazz Room Cortez" CD/LP/Track Review Live At Jazz Room Cortez
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 14, 2017
Read "Vagabond Soul" CD/LP/Track Review Vagabond Soul
by Paul Rauch
Published: July 23, 2018
Read "Dirt...And More Dirt" CD/LP/Track Review Dirt...And More Dirt
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 26, 2018
Read "Lifelike" CD/LP/Track Review Lifelike
by Roger Farbey
Published: March 31, 2018