"Strength & Song" is good, honest, heart-felt music. John Raymond's compositions show his intent to continually move forward as a musician and person. Search out this music and you'll be richly rewarded. For more information, go to johnraymondmusic.net.
No need to flip a coin, "Heads Or Tales" is a winner any way you listen to it. I continue to be impressed with Jared Gold's versatility and Mark Ferber's stunning percussion while Dave Allen, who has released several CDs on Fresh Sounds New Talent, adds a sound that works well with the organ and tenor (his rhythm work is also quite good.) Tom Tallitsch has created a strong program with a group that would "burn down the house" in a club setting. For more information, go to www.tomtallitsch.com.
Here's the opening track, courtesy of PosiTone Records and IODA Promonet:
Coming Around (mp3)
Other highlights include the sweet ballad "Illusions of Light", which opens with Wright unaccompanied strolling through variations on the melody he plays when the rest of the quartet enters. Kikoski moves to electric piano for "Search For Truth", a medium tempo piece with excellent work from Edwards (who really controls the dynamics of the song.) "Big Bully" has a scorching opening riff for saxophone and piano then moves right into overdrive for the solos. Here, Kozlov and Edwards propel the piece; Wright and Kikoski handle the changes with aplomb.
Brandon Wright and his fine colleagues have created a very good recording, with melodic and rhythmic variations galore. The solos are uniformly strong and the rhythm section is both supportive and challenging. Does not hurt one bit that David Kikoski is Wright's partner on the front line as he is one of the more accomplished pianists on the scene today. "Journeyman" is satisfying music that gets better each time you listen. To find out more, go to www.wrightjazz.com.
Here's an uptempo taste, courtesy of PosiTone Records and IODA Promonet: