Atlanta's jazz guitar master Trey Wright has released his latest solo effort, "Begin Again". Mr. Wright puts together a moving group of songs inspired by his recovery from a depressive episode in 2016 and dedicated to ex-bandmate the late Carl Lindberg (Squat, Grogus, Old School Trio). ”Begin Again" also features Marc Miller (bass - The Atlanta Pops Orchestra), Marlon Patton (drums - John Patitucci, Randy Brecker, Rufus Reid, Wycliffe Gordon), Laura Coyle (vocals - twice featured performer at the Atlanta Jazz Festival) plus Sam Skelton (Matchbox 20, Train, Edwin McCain, The Gap Band, and The Ohio Players) and Grammy winner Mace Hibbard (Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi, and Tommy Dorsey Orchestra) on sax.
In 1994, Mr. Wright co-founded the Athens/Atlanta based jazz band Squat. The group is a six-time winner of Best Jazz Band at the Flagpole Athens Music Awards and has been a featured artist at the Atlanta Jazz Festival. Several of Trey’s compositions with the group have received international airplay and have been featured on Sirius/XM radio and NPR’s All Things Considered. Mr. Wright also performs freelance in the Athens and Atlanta area and has performed with John Patitucci, Joe Lovano among others. Trey has performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival and in early 2008, he began playing with the Georgia Symphony Jazz Orchestra.
In 2006, Trey released his first CD "Where I’m Calling From", receiving rave reviews and airplay throughout the United States, New Zealand, England, Australia, Germany, Italy, Canada, Luxembourg, Scotland, and The Netherlands. The Trey Wright Trio released "Thinking Out Loud" in 2009 on Blue Canoe Records. In 2010, the CD was included in the first round of Grammy Nominations/Entries for Best Jazz Instrumental Album. Trey’s long-awaited collaboration with Grammy-winning saxophonist Mace Hibbard "The Hibbard/Wright Project" was released in May 2013. In 2015, Mr. Wright released his Blue Canoe follow up titled, "Songs From Oak Avenue". Since 2017 Trey has been working with vocalist Laura Coyle as a duo and she is featured on three songs from “Begin Again”.
"Begin Again" leads off with a moving tribute to Carl Lindberg entitled "From Now On". Mr. Wright says of this work, “...it was inspired by Carl’s passing but over time the song began to represent all of the life changes I experienced in my early 40's”. Trey starts off with a sweet-toned arpeggiated bounce that sets the song's theme. He is quickly joined by expert rhythm section Marc Miller on bass and Marlon Patton on drums. Mr. Wright lets it breathe with a spacious solo as the rhythmic dynamics drive the bus. As the solo fades, Mace Hibbard really brings some energy with a soaring saxophone melody. Unique ideas, sympathetic solos and melodic mastery mark this stellar opening track.
Also of note, Laura Coyle knocks out the Joni Mitchell classic "Hissing of Summer Lawns". Ms. Coyle really nails Mitchell's unique phrasing and, while distinctly marking her territory, brings an immediately recognizable feel to the melody. The collaboration is not to be missed and, as Mr. Wright puts it, “Laura and I collaborated on a concert of Joni Mitchell’s music at Kennesaw State University and I thought it would be fun to record one of the songs. The song references suburban ennui which, although the album is overtly hopeful, I think fits the tone of the album”. Wright concludes, “For me, recording this album was cathartic and a reminder that you can always begin again.”
Past Press Quotes:
"Wright’s playing serves to accentuate the rich harmonic ambiance of the compositions. It is sparse and floating, at times almost minimalist, but tastefully captivating." - Mike Reynolds, muzikreciews.com
"Trey Wright knows how to arrange and build a track to tell a story, merging music and drama into a seductive mix that maintains a strong grip on your attention. With its mainstream accessibility and distinctive sound world, Wright's music is truly original." -AllAboutJazz.com
Nineteen year old Kalen Henry explodes onto the scene with her debut album, “Not Forgotten”, an exploration of the love songs from the catalog of Nat King Cole. Ms. Henry explores these classic love songs with spacious country and pop instrumentation that perfectly supports her sultry Norah Jones-style voice. The result is a current presentation of classic jazz standards that intimates at every turn Joni Mitchell’s folk-pop exploration into the jazz world.
The idea for this project came simply from a high school choir final that Ms. Henry performed with her father, Trey Henry. The duo performed “Orange Colored Sky” (track 3) and the response encouraged her to explore her growing love of Nat King Cole’s work. “I decided to take the ten love songs that I love the most and order them in a way that depicts a love story”, says Ms. Henry.
“Not Forgotten strikes the perfect balance between old and new”, says Trey Henry. Mr. Henry, Kalen’s father, is a renowned bass player, arranger, producer and performer. He has logged performance credits over the years with Henry Mancini, Johnny Cash, Linda Ronstadt, Quincy Jones, Ray Charles and Natalie Cole to name just a few. Performing with the Tierney Sutton Band, he has recorded eight albums earning five Grammy nominations. Mr. Henry produced, arranged and played bass on “Not Forgotten”.
“Not Forgotten” opens with “Straighten Up and Fly Right”, written by Nat King Cole in 1943. The song spent ten weeks on the Hit Parade and was number 1 on the pop charts. It is based on a folk tale that Mr. Cole’s father told as a theme for one of his sermons. The track opens to an ambient, ringing foundation when Ms. Henry enters with the fable. Her sultry jazz-pop, resonant mood is immediately head-turning. As the song builds, the listener is treated to bluegrass-tinged, guitar and mandolin (Paul Viapiano - The Chemistry of Crying, LA Philharmonic) based feel and a groove that really moves the audience.
The fourth track on “Not Forgotten” leads with a rhythmic acoustic guitar and follows with Kalen Henry’s haunting expression of awe at the purity and emotion in her love’s eyes. Simple and sweet, the song builds with bass and drums (Ray Brinker - Maynard Ferguson, Ray Charles, Natalie Cole) supporting perfectly the pulsating guitar. The mood escalates but never spills over and leaves the audience captivated as Ms. Henry sails the mystery of “your eyes...your eyes...your eyes...”.
“Not Forgotten” by Kalen Henry is the best debut album that you will hear this year. It is the most listenable fusion of jazz, pop and country since Alison Krauss burst onto the scene...and pop-folk radio is long overdue. Kalen Henry’s tribute raises the bar to ensure that Nat King Cole is “Not Forgotten”.
“I'm living the dream, I'd say” - Kalen Henry