Thursday, April 25, 2013

Jon Wirtz Tourist 2013

 From the evocative cover art to the new sound of post modern contemporary jazz, Jon Wirtz and Tourist may be one of the most carefully put together releases of the year. Subtle nuances of harmonic flavor and lyrical invention create that zen like less is more feeling that is incredibly cinematic while not losing a certain air of mystery throughout the release.

Sounds like? Comparisons to other artists are often unfair but imagine early Pat Metheny or more accessible ECM recordings and Wirtz appears to be taking similar influences but with his own riff on himself. These are not "tunes" by any stretch of the imagination, these are conceptual compositions that embrace one of the most stunning hybrid sounds one might imagine. Harmonically and lyrically engaging the listener while paying careful attention to the flavors added to push his music to an emotionally engaging climax.

"Slumber" begins the journey with an ambient techno vibe that is an all most perfect feel of that out of body experience one has when coming out of a deep rem cycle of sleep. "Politico" allows drummer Alejandro Castano to lay down a rhythmic line in the sand with a transitional movement from the traditional to the more contemporary drum-n-bass style groove. 

Incredible freshness. A  sonic shower for your imagination. "Watching The World Wake Up" is a mega tight tip of the hat to Wirtz's generation of hip hop swag while losing nothing in terms of the addictive ebb and flow found throughout tourist. Being a critic is far more that being critical. An absolutely flawless recording, Jon Wirtz is a name to remember. 

Variety flows effortlessly throughout without ever losing accessibility or the forward movement that is at times bordering on something deeply spiritual in presentation. 

This is that record that some would have some people say, "I don't like jazz but I like that."


Tracks: Slumber; Politico; Gratitude; Camouflage For A Sunny Day; Despite Appearances (All Is Well); Country; Tourist; Watching The World Wake Up; In The Body Awakening.

Personnel: Jon Wirtz: piano, organ, synthesizer; Alejandro Castano: drums; John Grigsby: bass; Dan Schmidt: electric and acoustic guitar (2,5,7); John Macy: pedal steel (6); Heather Larrabee: vocals (3); Jess DeNicola: vocals (3); Sarah Morris: vocals (1,3); Stephen Malloy Brackett: spoken word (3); Gabriel Mervine: trumpet (10). "Gratitude" lyrics written and performed by Stephen Malloy Brackett.

Special Thanks To Michael Bloom of Michael Bloom Media Relations.