Ryan Oliver embraces am old school swing with a forward thinking vision few can match!
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
I have reviewed more tenor players in the last three years than most people have heard in their lifetime. The Ryan Oliver Quartet and Strive! is a release that will stick with you. Music with muscle, a conversational exploratory of inventive compositions from a formidable 4tet that is uniquely original in presentation. A nuanced sophistication of style that is part of the new direction for modern jazz, The Ryan Oliver Quartet is here to stay.
One of the more interesting aspects to Strive! would be the rhythmically induced lyrical conversation between Oliver and legendary drummer Victor Lewis. A true working band finds Oliver not content to monopolize the conversation by running the melodic point, pianist Gary Williamson and bassist Alex Coleman drop heavy weight contributions that have this band cutting some much needed new ground in the more stay the course sound long associated with the straight ahead performers. As a tenor player the artistic comparisons have already been made when referring to Ryan Oliver's sound. Artistic comparisons are inherently unfair and while some focus on a Coltrane like intensity, there seems to be a subtle yet edgy Stan Getz flavor running just below the surface. Ryan Oliver has the keen harmonic ear to channel his influences into his own dynamic voice.
Ryan Oliver is not content to simply work one particular wheelhouse of flavor as he moves from the free swinging "Crescent City Stomp" to a more soulful "Thousand Miles." Strive! is packed with diversity and is the sonic equivalent of a well written resume, it leaves you wanting more!
As close to perfect as you can get.
Tracks: Strive!; Thousand Miles; Eddie; Victory; For You; Crescent City Stomp; Less Travelled; Taurus; Ready Roll.
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