"Thinking Out Loud" is the latest introspective from guitar-stunner Trey Wright. Mr. Wright assembles a trio for this rendering of eight originals and two bold covers of current rock artists.
"Thinking Out Loud" captures the magical interplay that drummer Marlon Patton (Universal Music Group's Heavy Mojo) and bass-ace Marc Miller have developed live. The strong melodic bass lines braid through modern jazz/rock drum rhythms and provide a unique, fresh foundation for Mr. Wright's contemplative voice. Recorded mostly live and with minimal overdubbing, there is a dynamic interplay captured by Mr. Wright and producer/drummer Marlon Patton. The raw energy and often dark mood of the songs from "Thinking Out Loud" make it one of the more compelling releases this year.
"Rat Race" starts off the album and sets the tone perfectly. It's mood is a reflective and utilizes multiple time signatures while the melody that Mr. Wright floats deftly on top cuts perfectly against the counter melody of the bass. Mr. Wright also chose to include Soundgarden's "Blow Up The Outside World". This adventurous cover contrasts a somber with romantic melody. This creates a captivating tension between that which is familiar and something that is shadowy and hidden. It is quite a unique take on a traditional rock song.
Trey Wright and his trio have created an intriguing contrast of sorts with "Thinking Out Loud". It is both dark and hopefully melodic while modern with traditional instrumentation. "Thinking Out Loud" keeps the listener on edge and at the edge of their seat until the end...anticipating more from this rising star.
This exclusive Emusic.com two CD set, recorded live at the prestigious Berlin Jazz Festival showcases the true depth and artistry of Punk Jazz Trio Megaphone Man.
"Look What the Cats Drug In" opens with ripping guitar work from Dan Baraszu on "Neutron Star", a song inspired by Stevie Wonder's "Too High". There is no slowing down with the complex harmonies by Eugene Maslov on "Last Ray". Blue Canoe's stable of talented artists is further exposed in "Symmetry 1" with the fluid, highly polished lines of virtuoso trumpeter Thomas Heflin. The album continues with unimaginable horn players Bryan Lopes and Ron Westray as well as the stellar compositional and orchestral arranging of the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra. The compilation brings it home rhythmically with percussionists Philip Smith and Jimmy "Junebug" Jackson. Listen for the famous Jimmy Smith on the B3 on the final tune by Junebug, "Save Your Love For Me (live)".
"Look What the Cats Drug In" is a vibrant exploration of the post-bop gems in Blue Canoe Records' vast and ever-growing catalog. Quite literally, "Look What the Cats Drug In" displays the finest musicianship of modern jazz.
Bryan Lopes Trio's debut CD for Blue Canoe Records,"Bryan Lopes Trio Volume 1", is a high energy expedition crossing from jazz to R&B to funk and back again. This trio also displays the talent of award-winning drummer Jeff Sipe (Jonas Hellborg, Leftover Salmon, Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi, featured in Modern Drummer August 2008) and multi-instrumentalist Neil Fountain on bass (The Fiji Mariners, Jimmy Herring, Megaphone Man).
Atlanta first-call session man Bryan Lopes works with numerous incarnations of experimental jazz jam bands as well as some of the greats of jazz, pop, rock and R&B music including Chick Corea, Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, Natalie Cole, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Stone Temple Pilots and Don Henley among others. "Bryan Lopes is one of the most stylistically aggressive saxophonists living in the Southeast", says Jazziz writer James Rozzi. Lopes and crew lead listeners on a prismatic journey from jazz to funk to turbulent improvisation on this offering.
"Bouncy Pants" opens the release displaying the complex interaction between Sipe and Fountain as Lopes use of complex harmony suggestive of Michael Brecker. By the third and fourth tracks, "Happy Evil" and "Landau" the crew show their bop-chops with swinging rhythmic interaction and fantastic improvisatory stretches for which Lopes is famous. The album concludes with a funk jam of generous interplay and constantly changing tempos in "Terrelism" and the sultry "Two Pavilion Way" that conjures images of the lonely sax-man on a foggy, deserted street at 3am.
The first Blue Canoe Records release of the Bryan Lopes Trio does not disappoint. "Bryan Lopes Trio Volume 1" offers an adventurous journey into the modern jazz exploits of three of the most promising modern music-men of today.
Punk jazz improvisational trio Megaphone Man, pride themselves on a loose avant-garde approach in creating their unique blend of jazz music. Hailing from Athens Georgia USA, Megaphone Man consists of Neal Fountain on bass, Jeff Reilly on drums and Bryan Lopes on tenor saxophone. With carefully crafted thematic notes and rhythms, this young group of virtuosos demand as much from themselves as they do the overall group interplay of their contributing melodic ideas. Megaphone Man's debut CD recording "Live At The Tabernacle", is such an experience.
Recorded live at The Tabernacle Concert Hall in Atlanta, GA USA, Megaphone Man's performance captures their forty-five minute opening set with headliner and James Brown sideman, Maceo Parker. Instrumental songs such as "Razor Egg Hunt", "Reoccurring Nightmare", "Fat Gambling Liar", "Miles of Rust" and "Bubble Hat" not only demonstrate clever and witty song titles, they musically transform these titles into a work of art. Megaphone Man is not timid in taking chances with their improvisational skills, which should be evident by the fact their debut CD is a live recording and not a conceived studio recording.
"Megaphone Man has a style all their own," states Jazziz writer James Rozzi. "The manner in which these accomplished musicians approach a particular tune will drastically change from one performance to the next. In an effort to maintain their own interests, they create an abundance of spontaneous, razor-sharp musical maneuvers for their audience. One concert with these guys is like a lesson in improvisational wit and daring." With Megaphone Man's turn-on-a-dime approach, one particular song will metamorphose numerous times--harmonically and rhythmically--before coming to a close. The end result is an exciting foray with enough depth to please an audience of hard-core jazz fans--or the more laid back patrons of the jam band circuit.
Describing the music of Megaphone Man is difficult. Although all members shy away from calling themselves a jazz trio, their music contains full elements of jazz--and then some. "We all have wide varieties of music in our backgrounds," states Fountain, "so I think it best not to call ourselves a 'jazz band' per se." Whether it's hard-bop, funk, free-form, R&B, R&R, country…you name it and Megaphone Man has it in the mix somewhere. As Lopes (whose inspirations include Coltrane and Joe Lovano) is quick to inform, "Hey, if I want to quote Led Zeppelin, I'm going to quote Led Zeppelin!"
In 2001, Atlanta based culture rag and weekly newspaper 'The Creative Loafing', named Megaphone Man the "Best Jazz Band" in the Atlanta metro area. One only has to listen to "Live At The Tabernacle" to see why the Creative Loafing title holds true. The trio of bassist Neal Fountain, saxophonist Bryan Lopes, and drummer Jeff Reilly is genuinely articulate, highly artistic, intellectually stimulating, and perhaps best of all, full of surprises. If this debut CD recording is any indication into the future of Megaphone Man, many exciting performances and musical journeys await.
"Symmetry", the debut of jazz trumpeter Thomas Heflin, explores the vast possibilities of contemporary post bop jazz through a carefully balanced program of original compositions and thoughtfully selected cover tunes. The self produced cd admirably showcases Heflin's brilliant, highly praised improvisational skills as well as the formidable talents of his band, including four tracks featuring the late world renowned pianist James Williams.
A rising star in the jazz world, Heflin made waves on the international jazz scene in 2005 when he placed second in the prestigious Carmine Caruso International Trumpet Solo Competition in Seattle. One reviewer described his playing as "a very fluid approach... generating lines in a seamless, highly polished manner that is really a joy to experience."
Among the original compositions are "Symmetry", the title track which opens and closes the album; "Salutation", a piece based on Kalidasa's poem "Salutation to the Dawn", and the ballad "Eastern Star", dedicated to James Williams. Heflin also covers material ranging from Louis Armstrong's anthem "When It's Sleepy Time Down South" to Cole Porter's "Night and Day" to Stevie Wonder's "Ma Cherie Amour".
"Symmetry" is aptly titled: Thomas Heflin has achieved a fine sense of proportion through his original pieces and covers. And though it is one of the last recordings James Williams made before he passed away, perhaps a new jazz legend, Thomas Heflin, is emerging in his own right.
William Ellis - drums
Joseph Patrick Moore - bass
Shawn Perkinson - guitar
EMP Project releases sophomore CD dubbed, "Wherever We Go".