100

Alex Lopez: We Can Take This Boat

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Alex Lopez: We Can Take This Boat While We Can Take This Boat is the debut from New York-based tenor saxophonist Alex Lopez, he's no unseasoned novice. Lopez studied with saxophonists George Garzone, Jerry Bergonzi, and Bob Mintzer, obtained his Bachelor of Music degree at the University of Miami and his Masters at the Manhattan School of Music, and managed to turn some heads with his playing on percussionist Bobby Sanabria's Tito Puente Masterworks Live!!! (Jazzheads, 2011). Lopez can also be found bringing improvisational elements and unique angles into the world of video game music in a band he cofounded with drummer Norman Edwards, who also received rave reviews for his work on the Puente project, but his own compositions are the focal point here.

Lopez presents eight original numbers that move from pensive and thought-provoking to pounding and energetic, but he has some help along the way. Edwards is responsible for the major sea changes in dynamics, using cymbal explosions to change the overall topography of the music in many places along the way, but his ability to serve the song with grooves is never in question. He provides subtle shifts in feel, moving from swing to Latin and beyond ("Rejected"), lightly coats the music with gentle cymbal work ("Sleep Like A Starfish"), and provides some slamming beats when the mood suits him. Pianist Sam Harris proves to be another key ingredient in the mix, as he weaves dreamy lines into the fabric of a song ("Curtains"), delivers off-kilter solo work built on brilliantly seesawing lines and oddly staggered differences between his two hands ("Remember When"), and provides simple block chords ("Trying To Start Over") with equal skill.

While Lopez's music can be calm or turbulent, depending on the moment, his clean-toned approach to the horn is ideally suited for the softer side of things. In this respect, guitarist Greg Duncan proves to be the perfect partner for Lopez, as both men blend well when moving in tandem through heads, and maintain a simpatico sonic approach. In contrast, guitarist Sean Richey delivers a bit more bite on his lone appearance ("Trying To Start Over"), which closes out the album with a bang. The final piece of the ensemble comes in the form of bassist Linda Oh, who proves to be the date's unsung hero. Her buoyant lines help lift the music to new heights and, while it would have been nice to hear her as a prominent solo voice, she's never short of superb as a supporting player.

The fascinating, dovetailing lines that introduce the odd-metered "Self-Fulfilling Prophecy," the shifts in feel on "Rejected, "and the intimate interplay and quietude on the lone piano-bass-saxophone trio of "End Of A Dream" show a musician/composer willing to explore a variety of avenues, and these performances prove to be the standouts. Lopez's journey is just beginning, but We Can Take This Boat is evidence that the journey will be worth following.


Track Listing: Rejected; Sleep Like A Starfish; We Can Take This Boat; Curtains; Remember When; End Of A Dream; Self-Fulfilling Prophecy; Trying To Start Over.

Personnel: Alex Lopez: tenor saxophone; Sam Harris: piano; Linda Oh: bass; Norman Edwards: drums; Greg Duncan: guitar (3-5, 7); Sean Richey: guitar (8).

Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Self Produced


Shop

More Articles

Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2) CD/LP/Track Review TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)
by Nicola Negri
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Goat Man & The House of the Dead CD/LP/Track Review Goat Man & The House of the Dead
by Dave Wayne
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by James Nadal
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "Punch" CD/LP/Track Review Punch
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 29, 2016
Read "Black Ice" CD/LP/Track Review Black Ice
by Mark Sullivan
Published: July 6, 2016
Read "Books On Tape, Vol. 2 - Standard Edition" CD/LP/Track Review Books On Tape, Vol. 2 - Standard Edition
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 17, 2016
Read "Impermanence" CD/LP/Track Review Impermanence
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 17, 2016
Read "Sunrain" CD/LP/Track Review Sunrain
by Geno Thackara
Published: November 25, 2016
Read "Cómo Desaparecer Completamente" CD/LP/Track Review Cómo Desaparecer Completamente
by Geno Thackara
Published: October 13, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!