Recorded at Freddy's Back Room in Brooklyn, The World (Through My Shoes) marks alto saxophonist Will Vinson's first live release. The music, documented over two nights, offers a genuine portrait of a working band creating distinctive contemporary music.
The core of the program is comprised of Vinson originals. His writing and arranging display a keen respect for the jazz tradition, as well as an obvious fluency in the current jazz languages. Most important, however, his tuneful arrangements possess a kind of balance that allow each member of the quartet to contribute to the ensemble sound. This aesthetic is clearly evinced on "Dean Street Rundown." Guitarist Lage Lund introduces the song with a repeating, single-note ostinato, playing through the figure before being joined by Jochen Rueckert, who clicks out a rhythmic counter-figure on the rims of his drums. Bassist Orlando LeFleming adds steady long tones to the arrangement, before Vinson's alto swoops into the melody.
Vinson's tone is airy, possessing a vocal quality that effectively communicates the contents of a song. In his hands, the saxophone is an instrument whose central function is to make music, rather than a muscular appendage for flexing chops. This insistent musicality thrives throughout the record, but is manifested with particular aplomb on "Pretty Things." This ballad features the nearly kinetic interplay between Vinson and Lund, as the guitarist's volume swells and arpeggiated chord forms create the perfect harmonic backdrop for Vinson's beautifully rendered melody line. This performance makes quite clear the tremendously evolved listening skills possessed by each member of this fine quartet.
More than just a blowing session, The World (Through My Shoes) represents the best virtues of a live date. It displays craftsmen at work, musicians clearly engaged by strong compositions and productively aware of the contributions of their band mates. It is this kind of musical fellowship that allows Vinson's music to achieve a unique balance and rare clarity.
I Am James Bond; Dean Street Rundown; Limp of Faith; The End of a Love Affair; Philos o' Fur; Pretty Things; The World Through My Shoes.
Will Vinson: alto saxophone; Lage Lund: guitar; Orlando LeFleming: bass; Jochen Rueckert: drums.