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...

2

David Bixler: The Nearest Exit May Be Inside Your Head

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Saxophonist David Bixler's ties to pianist Arturo O'Farrill have had positive and negative consequences. The positives are a raised profile, a fairly steady gig for twelve years and counting, and the opportunity to paint atop brilliantly arranged Latin platforms of varying shapes, colors and sizes for audiences around the world. So, one might wonder, what could possibly be negative about this connection, and the answer comes with one simple word: pigeonholing.

This saxophonist isn't bound to a single style, but O'Farrill fans may not know it or care. Bixler is a musician with a broad background that extends into varied corners of the musical world. His skills go far beyond the realm of Latin jazz and this album sets the record straight. Bixler sheds his Latin garb for this program, preferring instead to wear a coat of many jazz colors that suits him well. He deals in non-forceful funk with attitude ("Perfected Surfaces"), Bobby Timmons/Sonny Clark-style hard bop with modern undertones ("Vida Blue"), slow and hip, odd-metered fare ("Arise") and pseudo-balladic material that builds beyond those borders with an instrumental entanglement ("Vanishing Point").

Mellower moods surface on "The Darkness Is My Closest Friend" and swing has its day on "Thinking Cap," but Latin music only surfaces in the shifting grooves of the title track. Bixler wrote all of the material for this date and he puts his own unique compositional fingerprints on all of these styles, demonstrating that he's a true double-threat as composer and performer.

While the saxophonist turned to a diverse and well-rounded cast for The Auction Project (Zoho, 2010), which was a unique Afro-Celtic collaboration with O'Farrill, the stellar lineup from his own Call It A Good Deal (Zoho, 2006) returns for this date. Trumpeter Scott Wendholt is the perfect front line partner for Bixler, as both men blend well, solo with similar sensibilities and occasionally duke it out, and guitarist John Hart moves between the role of rhythm man and soloist with ease. Bassist Ugonna Okegwo directs the music from below and delivers a gripping solo introduction to "Arise," and drummer Andy Watson finds the right feel for each piece.

Bixler has garnered plenty of attention for his contributions to O'Farrill's music over the years, but this album makes it clear that it's time to give him his due for his own winning work.

Track Listing: Perfected Surfaces; Vanishing Point; Vida Blue; Three Dog Years; The Nearest Exit May Be Inside Your Head; Arise; Thinking Cap; The Darkness Is My CLosest Friend; Goat Check.

Personnel: David Bixler: alto saxophone; John Hart: guitar; Scott Wendholt: trumpet; Ugonna Okegwo: bass; Andy Watson: drums.

Title: The Nearest Exit May Be Inside Your Head | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Zoho Music

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Take Five With...
CD/LP/Track Review
Take Five With...
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles

Related Articles

Read Northern Migrations CD/LP/Track Review
Northern Migrations
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Egregore CD/LP/Track Review
Egregore
by John Eyles
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Lifelike CD/LP/Track Review
Lifelike
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Whatever Possessed Me CD/LP/Track Review
Whatever Possessed Me
by Don Phipps
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Live At The Fillmore East 1968 CD/LP/Track Review
Live At The Fillmore East 1968
by Doug Collette
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Live CD/LP/Track Review
Live
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: April 21, 2018
Read "when the shade is stretched" CD/LP/Track Review when the shade is stretched
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 17, 2018
Read "Anti-Hero" CD/LP/Track Review Anti-Hero
by Mike Jacobs
Published: September 1, 2017
Read "4" CD/LP/Track Review 4
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 27, 2018
Read "The Princess" CD/LP/Track Review The Princess
by Mark Corroto
Published: November 18, 2017
Read "Tandem" CD/LP/Track Review Tandem
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 26, 2018
Read "Dirt In The Ground" CD/LP/Track Review Dirt In The Ground
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 13, 2017