The first of the 3-CD Surprise Trilogy, by saxophonist Chris West, reasserts that Nashville is not all about country and roots music. Indeed, Nashville plays host to an aggregation of top-flight session artists who need to be adept, multifunctional, and armed with a broad range of musicality. Consequently, West has cut his teeth with eminent artists such as bassist Victor Wooten, Dirty Dozen Brass Band and pianist Kenny Werner.
West's soul-drenched modern mainstream jazz arrangements are augmented by ample amounts of pop and sizzle. He possesses a full-bodied tone and whirls through bop, swing and funky New Orleans-based second-line motifs, conveying a level of maturity beyond his years and proving to be an ardent improviser throughout the invigorating festivities.
With a few tender moments amid the customary peaks and valleys, West often alters the various pulses and dynamics via graduating thematic shifts. His bluesy and somewhat rugged intonations spawn a congenial edge atop the fluent choruses and punchy accents, including eminent saxophonist Jeff Coffin, who appears on the tuneful "Mr. Grossman."
"Bits & Pieces" highlights guitarist Pat Bergeson's soul-jazz solo spot to round out a sprightly medium tempo swing vamp, touched with a melodic hook, while "Truth" features layered sax parts and a brisk Afro-Cuban metric amid guitarist Adam Agati's dark-toned and crystalline lines. West zooms in for the kill via a climactic delivery, spotted with spunky phrasings and a commanding line of attack.
West and his special guests reaffirm a budding and sometimes underemphasized jazz network in Nashville. Besides its resident session musicians spanning most genres, Nashville (aka Music City) is a pivotal artistic community. West shines as a young man with a horn who parlays a hearty jazz gospel and glistening constitution. From a jazz perspective, the saxophonist proposes a rather liberating outlook.
Track Listing: Surprise 1; Kenny; Bits & Pieces; Next Step; Where I Got My Groove; Truth; Mr. Grossman; My Reward; Surprise 1 (full).
Personnel: Chris West: saxophones; Don Aliquo: saxophone (2); Jeff Coffin: saxophone (7); Rod McGaha: trumpet (1,9); Oscar Utterstrom: trombone (4, 5); Pat Bergeson: guitar (3,7); Charles Treadway: organ (3, 7); Mason Embry: keyboard (2, 6); Jerry Navarro: bass (1, 2, 4-6, 8, 9); Derrek Phillips: drums (1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 9); Neil Konouchi: tuba (5); Justin Amaral: drums (5); Chris Patterson: percussion (6); Paul Horton: electric piano (1, 4, 8, 9); Adam Agati: guitar (2, 4, 6, 9); Jon Pail Frappier; trumpet (5); Ted Tretiak: drums (3, 7).
I fell in love with jazz through my dad Bobby Hirst who was a jazz pianist for over 50 years around the UK and Europe. He was such a modest man but an incredible musician. I tinkered with piano but found myself drawn to guitar after listening to Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass and Kenny Burrell
I fell in love with jazz through my dad Bobby Hirst who was a jazz pianist for over 50 years around the UK and Europe. He was such a modest man but an incredible musician. I tinkered with piano but found myself drawn to guitar after listening to Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass and Kenny Burrell. Misty by Erroll Garner is one of my favourite tracks. My current choice of guitars are Gibson ES335 & ES175 although I only own Epiphone copies at present. I also play classical guitar and love to play jazz on them. I have recently moved to Leeds from York and hoping to meet new friends in the jazz community.