Exposé Online banner

Rik Wright's Fundamental Forces — Green
(HipSync , 2015, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2016-01-26

Green Cover art

With the third of their “RGB” series (after Blue and Red), I’m beginning to feel like I could write this review by simply selecting a random stream of positive superlatives. Outstanding, creative, amazing… but that’s not very helpful, regardless of how accurate it might be. This Seattle quartet continues to ply their own path in jazz with a sound that is neither within nor completely outside what passes for the mainstream these days. The first track, “Contradiction,” sneaks up on the listener with a bouncy melody played in unison between leader Rik Wright’s guitar and Jim DeJoie’s alto sax, then takes off into a sax solo that does a masterful job of working from blues-based licks into increasingly outside notes as the guitar ramps up the tension with distorted chords. By the end of the solo, DeJoie is really screaming, then turns it back around with an echo of the main theme before handing the reins to Wright for another improvisational journey, again with roots in bluesy phrases but taking them well beyond. It’s an outstanding tune – oops, I’ve already said “outstanding” once. Next up is “Sugar Crash,” which might be my favorite of the bunch, with an insistent riff reminiscent of 60s spy music. More great playing from DeJoie (on bari this time), and inventive backing from drummer Greg Campbell, whose use of silence is smile-inducing, and bassist Geoff Harper, whose sense of how to vary a riff without losing its spirit is key to the proceedings. “Patience” provides a mellow interlude with some lovely clarinet work, then “Harmonic Tremor” gives us an energetic workout and proves that solos on drums can be just as interesting as any other instrument. This band is about subtle mastery of tone, whether it’s the perfect selection of effects on the guitar or the choice of woodwind for DeJoie to play or Campbell’s use of found metal objects as part of his kit. Green should provide enjoyment for jazz fans and non-fans alike, as they avoid the features of jazz that often turn off outsiders and provide hooks into the music that don’t rely on the well-worn cliches of the genre. Superb! (Have I used that one yet?)


Filed under: New releases, 2015 releases

Related artist(s): James DeJoie, Rik Wright

Latest news

2019-08-20
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more

2019-06-05
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more

2019-04-24
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more

2019-03-25
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

MK II - Burning Daylight – Remember the long protracted intro to "Shine on You Crazy Diamond"? That's a fair enough reference point for the first track on this British trio's debut. Other reference points for this album might...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues