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31-year-old New York musician Jason Rigby has previous experience working with the Village Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, and Aretha Franklin's Band at Radio City Music Hall. He trained at Youngstown State University in Ohio, DePaul University in Chicago and at the Manhattan School of Music. While still in Cleveland, he performed regularly with organist Dan Wall and tenor saxophonist Ernie Krivda, and at the Manhattan School of Music he played with Dick Oatts, Mike Abene and Rich Perry. He was awarded Down Beat magazine's Best College Jazz Instrumentalist in 1999.
On this debut recording, Jason Rigby explores his own compositions in a style that covers several sub-genres of jazz over the latter half of the 20th Century. Rigby is heard to good effect on alto, soprano and tenor sax, as well as bass clarinet and wood flute. He is accompanied by his working quartet of keyboardist Mike Holober, bassist Cameron Brown and drummer Mark Ferber. In addition, he is joined by several guests: trumpeter Rich Johnson, cellist Lauren Riley, flautist Soo-Kyong Park, and clarinettists Sam Sadigursky and Jason Gillenwater.
Rigby makes it clear that this album is not intended to be singleminded blowing session. The opening track, "Proximo," finds the saxophonist playing with the intensity of an early-'60s John Coltrane. In contrast, "Turquoise Turkish" has more than a passing resemblence to early-'60s Ornette Coleman, with a much accelerated tempo and more than an occasional flash of free jazz playing. Rigby picks up the soprano sax on "Southhampton (UK)," with an attractive delivery. On the attractive, aptly named ballad "Atmospheric," he's back on tenor sax with a straight-ahead sound. On the above opening selections, Holober plays Rhodes electric piano.
The saxophonist slips into an outside jazz mode on both "114" and "Backandforthedness," emulating late Coltrane, and working alongside trumpeter Rich Johnson. Holober uses the opportunity to go to acoustic piano, providing a driving, effective solo. On the following "Green of Greens," Rigby makes a melodic soprano sax statement and solo; he is featured on Indian bamboo flute on "Mumbai."
Track Listing: Proximo; Turquoise Turkish; Southhampton (UK); Atmospheric; 114; Backandforthedness;
Green of Greens; Mumbai; Christopher.
Personnel: Jason Rigby: alto, tenor and soprano saxophones, bass clarinet, wood flute; Mark Holober:
piano, Fender Rhodes; Cameron Brown: bass; Mark Ferber: drums; Rich Johnson: trumpet;
Lauren Riley: cello; Soo-Kyung Park: flute; Sam Sadigursky, Jason Gillenwater: clarinets.
As a kid, my mom told me I'd like jazz. I thought she was nuts. Then I went to hear Cannonball Adderley (with Nat Adderley, George Duke, Walter Booker, Roy McCurdy and Airto) and everything changed. Yeah, mom knows best.