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Another great review for Brandon Wright “Journeyman”…

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You have to give the Los Angeles-based label Posi-Tone props for bringing the music of some lesser-known up-and-comers to the jazz market. One of the label’s brightest prospects is the 30-year-old tenor saxophonist Brandon Wright, especially given the musical strength and breadth he demonstrates on his latest discJourneyman.

Wright is heard on the disc supported by the same suave and explosive rhythm section heard on Introducing Opus 5. He sounds right at home and brims with energy and ideas, spurred on by the potent, savvy trio of pianist David Kikoski, bassist Boris Kozlov and drummer Donald Edwards.

Wright covers a lot of bases on Journeyman. He has a big, robust sound with a bit of a burr to it, and he applies it naturally and forcefully to the disc’s opening tuneShapeshifter, a lively contrafact built on What Is This Thing Call Love. Wright’s tuneBig Bully is a fast minor-key tune in the Joe Henderson vein that the saxophonist and Kikoski both eat up. Quite different is Wright’s funky excursion Walk of Shame, a James Brown-type piece that allows Wright to indulge in earthy R & B gestures. OnThe Nearness of You, Wright’s poised approach to the classic ballad brings Dexter Gordon to my mind.

While The Nearness of You dates back to 1938, other covers reflect Wright’s youth and, perhaps, his pre-jazz interests. There’s a version of Pearl Jam’s Better Man that finds Wright playing with gusto, recalling Donny McCaslin for a moment, although I’m not sure if this jazz recasting really snaps into focus or conveys something that its composer, Eddie Vedder, had in mind. More successful, I think, is the jubilant, pseudo-bossa version of the Oasis tune Wonderwall. Closing the disc is a rollicking swinging take of He’ll Make Me Happy, from The Muppets Take Manhattan.

An assured sophomore release building on the promise of his first Posi-Tone CDBoiling PointJourneyman only makes me wonder at what point Wright will graduate to the next level, wherein less seasoned players will be calling on him to be the marquee name on their discs.


Written by editor

August 31st, 2012 at 6:51 am

Posted in Reviews

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