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There are many musicians flying under the radar of the limelight who are just as masterful as those receiving more notoriety. Having played in various bands, some notable (singer Joan Baez, Blood Sweat and Tears), some eclectic (Combo Nuvo), and a memorable contribution to jazz bassist Stephan Crump's Rosetta (Papillon Sounds, 2006), its clear that guitarist Jamie Fox is one such player. Impeccable chops, a seasoned and modern sound, when you hear him play, there's something special, as heard on When I Get Home.
There's a sense of the storyteller who captivates his audience with interesting anecdotes and thoughtful tales, centered around exquisitely performed music by Fox and his adroit band members, including veteran pianist Kenny Werner. Like the title implies, the music has a welcoming invitationthe overall mood is calming yet without saccharin in its deliveryof familiar surroundings and fond memories.
Listening to the recording is like opening up Pandora's box (but in a good way) and finding a few surprises. The deceptive samba-like ease of "Five One & A Half is pleasant, but the twist comes in a stellar solo by Fox and the band's tight delivery, elevating things beyond typical elevator music. Next comes the earthy rural-esque "Row After Row, with Crump's resonant bass and Fox strumming tranquil chords, with gentle traps by drummer Michael Sarin. "All In Time has an interesting melody and clever guitar/sax/clarinet arrangement, the melody moving from a leisurely walk into a funky stroll, showing that things are just a little different in Fox's neck of the woods.
Whether it's laidback licks on "Leisure or the eccentric tango-ish "Ognat, Fox's playing is immaculate. Fine performances by everyone, a touch of Americana mixed with inventiveness, all make this a recording that fits comfortably traveling on the road or in the confines of your home.
Track Listing: Five One & a Half; Row After Row; All in Time; Moniker; Ognat; Leisure; Mine & Yours; Childhood; New News; When I Get Home.
Personnel: Jamie Fox: guitars; Kenny Werner: piano; Dan Willis: saxophone and bass clarinet; Stephan Crump: bass; Michael Sarin: drums; Peck Allmond: trumpet, saxophone, euphonium.
I love jazz because it mixes intellect and emotion in a very spontaneous way.
I was first exposed to jazz by liberating a Coltrane and a Pharoah Sanders record from a friend in NYC and listening to them over and over until I got it.
My advice to new listeners is you have to take the time to listen to some jazz tunes a number of times until it starts to make sense.