Exposé Online banner

Rik Wright's Fundamental Forces — Blue
(HipSync 8-84501-94011-5, 2013, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2014-03-07

Blue Cover artWith Blue, Rik Wright demonstrates that you can move away from overtly outside styles (as he explored back with Jackhammer Trio and Awkward Star, covered earlier by Exposé) to a more conventional type of jazz, but still maintain a sense of originality. With Fundamental Forces, he's assembled a crew of outstanding players, each well versed in their instruments' histories and eager to venture outside the norms. On woodwinds, James DeJoie can bop with the best of them, as well as squawk and squeal, all with an innate sense of what works for the tune; Greg Campbell is a master of the unexpected on the drum kit, whether it's left-field cross-rhythms in a fill, sudden silences in a pattern, or the use of found objects as adjuncts to the normal drums and cymbals; Geoff Harper is a superbly inventive bassist, able to swing like an old-timer or produce an endless variety of unexpected tones from his upright; Wright himself is a deceptively subtle guitarist, blending natural sounds and effects seamlessly, never overstated or in-your-face attention-grabbing, giving us the right notes with a beautiful tone (though his solo on "Miss Thing" demonstrates he's no slouch when he feels like going for it). The other strength of Blue is the quality of Wright's compositions. There's a kind of minimalism at work, with each piece consisting of a melody, a bass line, and a very sketchy harmonic framework. But what they do with these simple materials is marvelous, with a very free, open sound that's never busy or crowded, exploring each for six to 12 minutes, long enough to feel full but not run out of steam. I wouldn't call it "straight" jazz (and isn't it too bad there's such a thing as straight jazz?), but it hits a sweet spot that should be equally appealing to jazz fans and listeners coming from the rock side who dabble in jazz-rock or fusion.

Filed under: New releases, 2013 releases

Related artist(s): James DeJoie, Rik Wright

Latest news

2017-09-06
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more

2017-08-22
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more

2017-07-27
Yestival Dates Beef up the Beat – Word reaches us that Dylan Howe (son of guitarist Steve Howe) will be joining Yes on their "Yestival" tour, drumming alongside longtime band member Alan White. » Read more

2017-05-19
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more

2017-05-05
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Strange Days - 9 Parts to the Wind – One of the better British progressive one-offs has finally gotten the CD treatment it has long deserved. Led by guitarist, singer and songwriter Graham Ward, the four-piece was the standard g/k/b/d...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues