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

2017-11-16
Celebrate 10 Years of Fruits de Mer – As a special celebration for a decade of cool vinyl releases, our friends at Fruits de Mer records have prepared a limited edition reissue of an album by the first band ever to appear on the label: Schizo Fun Addict. The band is known for unusual release strag » Read more

2017-11-02
Mega Dodo Presents New Charity Album – Our friends at Mega Dodo have put together a lovely compilation of their artists performing new arrangements of nursery rhymes, and all the profits from sales of the album will benefit Save the Children. It features a number of artists we've covered. » Read more

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Gerard - Meridian – One of Japan's longest lived symphonic bands, Gerard has produced a long string of albums beginning with their eponymous debut in 1984, featuring an expanded six-piece lineup, which by the second...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues