7

Rik Wright's Fundamental Forces: Subtle Energy

Geannine Reid By

Sign in to view read count
Rik Wright's Fundamental Forces: Subtle Energy Guitarist Rik Wright returns with Subtle Energy, an album that continues his exploration of well-crafted originals and band chemistry, again in a quartet format, but with a slightly more relaxed approach to the music compared to his earlier quartet records. The Seattle-based guitarist's previous releases were based on a trilogy of primary colors, Blue (2013), Red (2014), and Green (2015). Make no mistake though, Wright is still bringing the heat and over the course of each composition the listener will find plenty of energy.

Surrounded by friends, Rik Wright's Fundamental Forces, consists of James DeJoie on clarinets, Geoff Harper on bass and Greg Campbell on drums. The longtime chemistry is obvious in the music, resulting in a quartet sound that possesses both that wonderful "initial encounter" energy, and a group telepathy that establishes an empathy between the individual players that only comes from time on the bandstand playing together. That best of both worlds catch all, makes Subtle Energy an outstanding outing that is rich with texture and musical depth.

"Butterfly Effect" is the first of five Wright originals contained on the project, all five songs were recorded during the colors trilogy, but for the recording each tune was given a new arrangement and orchestration. Subtle Energy is a studio album, but it was recorded live all in one take, with no overdubs. Wright's "Butterfly Effect" grooves mightily, with a relaxed refined modal color that opens with a vamp with Wright's slightly bright, warm, and woody tone that largely defines Wright's playing throughout the project. Wright has the ability to be a chops-meister, but has evolved into a story teller first and foremost. He constantly juggles the role of a technical player with that of lyrical melodicist, and while he clearly still has chops to burn, it's never in service of anything but the music. The near-classicism of DeJoie's clarinet playing on the opening track finds a perfect contrapuntal and harmonic partner with Wright. DeJoie's phrases are lithe and weave in and out of this ethereal composition with increasing confidence. The rhythmic team of Harper and Campbell create a stable, but flexible pulse for Wright and Dejoie's complex rhythmic, harmonic, and progressive solos to rest upon. The empathy on this track is excellent, it's clear that heart felt music is at the very foundation of this quartet and is the inspiration for this modern exploration.

Wright's mighty pen is in full force on "Patience." Wright has displayed that he understands that composition, not merely exceptional technique on the instrument, is at the core of significance to creating a musically successful project. That said, "Patience" displays Wright's skills as a pure master of musical colors, with sustained flawless voicings, leading to long lines and phrases of an extended melody played with DeJoie, the extruding tone of the guitar and clarinet is stunning. Wright's solo is refined and harmonically astute and his use of chordal figures gives the track a sense of full harmonic layers. Dejoie's solo is heart rendering, crystalline and emphases melodic contours. Wright and Dejoie trade phrases for the musical climax, displaying their mastery of linear phraseology.

Track Listing: Butterfly Effect; Subtle Energy; Yearning; Nonchalant; Patience.

Personnel: Rik Wright: guitar; James DeJoie: clarinets; Geoff Harper: bass; Greg Campbell: drums.

Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: HipSync Records


Shop

More Articles

Read Disappeared Behind the Sun CD/LP/Track Review Disappeared Behind the Sun
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 29, 2017
Read Innate CD/LP/Track Review Innate
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: March 29, 2017
Read The Seasons CD/LP/Track Review The Seasons
by Edward Blanco
Published: March 29, 2017
Read Planets + Persona CD/LP/Track Review Planets + Persona
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 29, 2017
Read avantNOIR CD/LP/Track Review avantNOIR
by Nicola Negri
Published: March 29, 2017
Read Peace and Love: A Tribute to Will Connell CD/LP/Track Review Peace and Love: A Tribute to Will Connell
by Troy Dostert
Published: March 28, 2017
Read "88" CD/LP/Track Review 88
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 24, 2016
Read "Pass It On" CD/LP/Track Review Pass It On
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: May 11, 2016
Read "Allison Philips Trio" CD/LP/Track Review Allison Philips Trio
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 27, 2016
Read "Tributango" CD/LP/Track Review Tributango
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: December 13, 2016
Read "Innri" CD/LP/Track Review Innri
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 4, 2016
Read "Spark" CD/LP/Track Review Spark
by Jeff Winbush
Published: April 1, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!