Coalescing a soulfully mellow sound with a driving dynamic approach, guitarist William Ash has rekindled Wes Montgomery's finest early '60s flame to reveal The Phoenix. With a sound born of late night jams, Ash stops time by savoring intense, warm grooves or bopping at breakneck speed. Aided by a deep juicy mix, drummer Mark Taylor and bassist Dwayne Burno supplement Ash's rich texture to produce a substantial program of eight originals and three covers.
Beginning with the pleasingly melodic "Bill's Groove and its surprise hint of "I Wish You Love and then moving into the chordally interesting "Crystal Bird, Ash is in control with a full, "fat sound and just the right amount of reverb. The bluesy "Koba has Ash alternating a tight melody with rhythmic chords to then direct Taylor and Burno through a tuneful groove before Burno takes charge with a full-bottomed solo. For Lee Morgan's "Sidewinder, Ash comps himself for what turns into a serious take on a tune that can quickly become a caricature. Quick work is made of Charlie Parker's "Constellation with delightful speedster runs, while the Rodgers and Hart Pal Joey classic "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered is given its complete due in a beautiful rendering that fully expresses each of the three Bs. "Parker's Rhythm is just that, as it burns through exciting changes that somehow briefly encounter Tony Hatch's "Call Me until things are brought back to the leader's own turf with the free and easy "All in Alla.
The release is given a cohesive sound, thanks primarily to the rich mix and original tunes that begin with a pattern of catchy brief guitar riffs, followed by quick rhythmical punches, before the trio begins its explorations. Where this session really succeeds, though, is in translating that live communal feeling of forever to disc. So lay back, crank it up and dig the melodious mythical bird that rises out of the William Ash trio.
Track Listing: 1. Bill's Groove (7:17) 2. Crystal Bird (6:32) 3. Koba (6:56) 4. The Sidewinder (6:20) 5. Moon Shine (5:52) 6. It (6:26) 7. Constellation (2:43) 8. Bewitched (7:49) 9. Parker's Rhythm (5:44) 10. All in All (7:51) 11. Celery (8:09)
Personnel: William Ash (guitar), Mark Taylor (bass), Dwayne Burno (drums)
I was first exposed to jazz while working overseas in Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I would listen to the Voice of America on the radio and they had a nightly jazz program on at 10:00pm. I learned a lot about jazz listening to this program. I also had a friend who listened to real jazz by artists like Charles Mingus, Eric Dolphy and Archie Shepp. On my way home from Africa I landed in New York and had the opportunity to see the George Adams/Don Pullen quartet at the Village Vanguard as well as Kenny Barron and Ron Carter at another club, and was in heaven.