Vintage bebop with a soul pop flare, Minor Suggestions from the jazz combo Northwest +1 explores the elasticity of the saxophone performed by bandleader Damani Phillips and the springiness of the piano keys made by the nimble reflexes of Danny McCollim. Joining them are Kevin Woods on trumpet, John Hamar on bass, and Julian MacDonough on drums. The quintet’s collaborations move through a myriad of jazz-inspired expressions that show reverence for the work of their predecessors in addition to expanding the perimeters of jazz.
The title track is spun from bebop fibers arched in lobbing keys and the aerobatic twirls of the saxophone reminiscent of the music of Bud Powell and John Coltrane. The soft simmering embers of “Clarity” have a soul pop shimmer fringed in bluesy tinted threads. The cool swagger of the rhythm section in “Flotsam and Jetsam” is partnered by the suave stroll of the keys and the latticework of the saxophone, giving the track a nocturne polish.
The rhythmic pumping of the bass starts “Sunset’s Last Embrace” off with a bluesy vibe that migrates into a palette of warm colors likened to Kenny G’s stylistic imaginings. The improvised ringlets of the sax are layered in breezy drumbeats and lounging keys which move into the upbeat rhythm of “Lisa,” displaying a swing jazz pulse as the bluesy texture of the horns in “Curly” are carried along sails of reclining drumbeats. The lacy patterns fanned across “Jump off Joe” exhibit a soul pop bent that switches to the wispy torchlight cinders of “Blues for Mingus,” a tribute to Charles Mingus, contrasting the flashy horns of “Big Bird.”
The members of Northwest +1 come from diverse backgrounds, bringing to the table various influences and multiple talents. The combo performs as a cohesive unit that is aware of each other’s place and able to navigate their improvisations to complement one another. Minor Suggestions contains supplements of bebop, blues, swing, and soul-filled pop that forms a warm blend of jazz-enriched arrangements.
“Minor Suggestions,” “Clarity,” “Flotsam and Jetsam,” “Sunset’s Last Embrace,” “Lisa,” “Curly,” “Jump off Joe,” “Blues for Mingus,” “Big Bird”
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