Published March 11, 2009
Jason Rigby is a bold and adventurous composer and saxophonist. He blends styles artfully and gives them a tangent and direction that are out of the ordinary and, in doing so, he brings in a perspective that is as exciting as it is satisfying.
Rigby made his debut as a leader with Translucent Space (Fresh Sound, 2006). His second CD, The Sage, absorbs the spirit of his multifarious vision and brings his writing and playing into sharper focus.
The basic thrust of "Crux" is bop and the band gets the beat right off the top. Rigby acknowledges that beat initially, but goes off into a neat trajectory, pushing aside familiarity to turn the wheel of invention with a rolling tide of notes. Russ Johnson is a fresh torrent of inspiration on the trumpet, evoking the bop mode once more. But the best comes when Rigby and he create a volatility that spins not only out of parallel lines but also with cross-current intersections.
The ability of the band to forge something new on the go is seen to advantage on "The Archer." The rhythm section of Gerald Cleaver (drums) and Cameron Brown (bass) is steady. The front line, however, goes for the unusual, with Johnson arcing his notes and then letting short blasts breathe from a free atmosphere. Rigby is gritty on the tenor and then switches direction, his eloquence now drinking in a lighter tonality. As for Mike Holober (Rhodes), he is just in the mood for some swing. The different strands clasp adventure and logic before they converge for the final essay.
Softer shades mark "Shift of Color," a lyrical tune given its soul by Rigby on the flute, but with the whole band working together to turn this one into one of supple grace.
With two CDs to his name, Rigby has revealed his artistry and created the hope that there will be more from him in the future.
Track listing: Magenta; Crux; Shift of Color; The Sage; Tone Poem; Slip; The Archer; Jealous Moon.
Personnel: Jason Rigby: tenor and soprano saxophones, flute; Russ Johnson: trumpet; Mike Holober: Fender Rhodes; Cameron Brown: bass; Gerald Cleaver: drums.
Style: Modern Jazz
Read more reviews of The Sage.