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JazzHistory Online reviews Brandon Wright “Journeyman”…

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There’s a great urgency to the music of Brandon Wright. He seems intent on making every note count and every solo memorable. That spirit permeates throughout his sophomore album, “Journeyman”, whether he is tearing through the changes of “What Is This Thing Called Love” (via his original line “Shapeshifter”), reinterpreting a rock classic like “Better Man”, or playing an impassioned tribute to his late grandmother (“Choices”). His sound blends several great and intense tenor players including Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane and Michael Brecker, but those sounds are so well-integrated that the influences only come out on isolated passages. Wright has been a member of the Mingus Big Band for the last five years, and for this album, he recruited the rhythm section of that remarkable ensemble: pianist David Kikoski, bassist Boris Kozlov and drummer Donald Edwards. The combination of Wright’s dynamic tenor with the high-power rhythm section makes the music jump with kinetic energy (just try to sit still while listening to the funky “Wall of Shame” or the sharply rhythmic “Wonderwall”). And yet, these same musicians can give Hoagy Carmichael’s “The Nearness of You” all of the tenderness it needs. The press release says that Wright has taken up improv comedy at the same training center that services Upright Citizens Brigade. That makes sense to me, for Brandon Wright is clearly a man who lives to improvise. His album may be called “Journeyman”, but he’s ready to join the masters. 


Written by editor

July 20th, 2012 at 10:08 am

Posted in Reviews

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