Friday, October 26, 2012

Alex Wyatt There's Always Something NOWT Records 2012

If you are like me and occasionally have difficulty finding your car keys or remembering what you had for lunch...write this name down:

Alex Wyatt.

A rising star in the contemporary "indie" folk jazz movement and I will go out on a limb and predict great things in the future for this stellar young drummer from the Big Apple. Wyatt's artistic vision is to make each musical experience a memorable one. Having moved to New York from Colorado over a decade ago Wyatt's debut release is an unobtrusive sonic sound scape that while  contemporary in scope, pushes a harmonic deconstruction of melody down to its simplest form. Sometimes less is indeed more.

Wyatt explores a sound ranging from the beautiful ballad "There's Always Something" with an incredible lyrical bass line from Christopher Tordini to the hard charging swing of "Drunkey" there is an incredibly well thought out ebb and flow to this release. Having reviewed pianist Danny Fox, my expectations were high before ever taking the disc for a spin. Fox turns in another killer performance. The entire sextet may have stumbled upon the perfect marriage of modern jazz with a touch of the old Blue Note sound which has been in cold storage for some time now. Kyle Wilson is a first call tenor player and alto & soprano saxophonist Masahiro Yamamoto is on point with every note. Greg Ruggiero rounds out the group on guitar with great effect. There is an ambient type feel to the tune "Cop Party" which like most of the tunes here, builds musical bridges between styles and presentation. Nine originals from Wyatt centered around complex rhythmic patterns but the simplicity of what a beautiful melody is all about.

In researching Wyatt, I noticed a comparison between Norah Jones and Charles Mingus. The Norah Jones I simply don't get. The compositional link to Mingus and even Monk is certainly evident. Wyatt plays with the finesse of a Paul Motion and the rhythmic complexity of a Max Roach. Sonny Rollins once stated something to effect that there is nothing new in music, everything is derivative. Well...maybe. For the musician or the listener to become complacent in their approach is to open the door to mediocrity and shut another on the artistry and creative process of the individual. Alex Wyatt is a cultural byproduct of his own experience and a musical sponge. As an artist Wyatt is now on the fast track to turning even more heads with one of the finest debut releases for 2012.

Tracks: There's Always Something; Clockwork; Imperial Chew; Girafee; Simple Song; Cop Party; Words Fail; Drunkey; Eugi

Personnel: Kyle Wilson: tenor saxophone; Masahiro Yamamoto: alto & soprano saxophone; Greg Ruggiero: guitar; Danny Fox: piano; Christopher Tordini: bass; Alex Wyatt: drums, compositions.

Check out the release at the following: