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Brandon Wright: Journeyman

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Tenor saxophonist Brandon Wright came out of the gate locked and loaded with a big, hard-hitting, classic sound on his debut, Boiling Point, and he’s got plenty of ammo left for Journeyman. Joined by three of his associates from the Mingus Big Band-veteran pianist David Kikoski, bassist Boris Kozlov and drummer Donald Edwards-Wright blows up the modest album title. If he’s a journeyman, it’s only in his ability to move convincingly among styles.

“Shapeshifter,” one of six originals, sets the tone with its full-tilt bop swagger, rich tonality and well-timed Bird citing. Covering Pearl Jam’s “Better Man,” Wright shows off his ability to irrigate a melodic desert with compelling harmonies, and to match Eddie Vedder’s guttural intensity with his own. On another of his own tunes, “Walk of Shame,” the saxophonist gets funky à la Eddie Harris.

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