Will Vinson

Perfectly Out Of Place

Nothing seems out of place on this incredibly original album. In fact, so many different things are happening—often simultaneously—that even after multiple listenings, new discoveries may still be made.

Composer-saxophonist Will Vinson has written 10 unique tunes that challenge the notion of how jazz is defined in this era, and the English-born New Yorker has assembled a group of jazz progressives to help with this endeavor. The free-flowing music that evolves from this outing allows all the accompanying musicians to be involved in sometimes brief, sometimes extended ways—but always involved.

Besides Vinson (who doubles on synthesizers, flute and celesta), the players on this album include guitarist Mike Moreno, pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba, bassist Matt Penman, drummer Jeff Ballard, vocalist Jo Lawry and percussionist Jamey Haddad.

Rarely does the group play in a traditional be-bop or straightahead way. Instead, the emphasis seems to be on sound colors, moods and intricate interplay among the musicians.

A composition titled “The Clock Killer” is quiet and slow-moving, creating the feeling of oceanic beauty. And while there are numerous moments of tranquility on this album, there’s also plenty of excitement, such as on the grooving “Stiltskin (Some Drunk Funk)” and the soaring “Skyrider.”

The title track, at 11-minutes long, is representative of much of the album. The piece begins quietly, as if a baby were asleep nearby, with Rubalcaba barely touching the keys. The child wakes, however, when Vinson’s tone turns sharp-edged, and Rubalcaba picks up the pace and displays his marvelous technique in a fleet-fingered solo.

With his expansive tonal and dynamic range on alto, Vinson conjures the sounds of some of the instrument’s most famous players. There is so much happening on these tracks that listeners will miss a lot if they don’t pay attention.

On Sale Now
June 2023
James Brandon Lewis
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