“If you haven’t checked out his work yet, you have some catch-up ball to play.” – Jazz Now
“Wright’s compositions retain the hot and soulful feel of hard bop, while sometimes drawing on elements of third stream and/or fusion. Almost a fused tradition with unique and unexplored realms of jazz; keeping one foot in tradition, while the other foot is stepping into the future.” – Jazz Sensibilities
“Here we have a rare intersection of very accessible and very original jazz. Melodic, a bit funky, often beautiful.” – KFJC 89.7 FM
“A plethora of instruments are channeled through song structures allowing the improvisation and musicianship to flat knock you out.” – Music Morsels
“Collectively, the band isn’t afraid to take huge risks in realizing Rik’s musical vision.” – Still Water Times
“This album should serve as a wake-up call to anyone who thinks Seattle music is all about post-grunge punk or gloomy singer/songwriters, or who thinks nothing new or interesting is going on in jazz.” – Tone and Groove
“Rik Wright takes classic jazz and heaps on piles of influences from across the musical spectrum, helping to perk up ears of those tired of the same old swing.” – The Oregonian
A graph of Rik Wright’s influences would read like a wave, running a gamut from jazz to rock and back again. As a guitarist he has taken on influences—often subconsciously—as varied as Andy Summers of The Police and John Abercrombie. Compositionally speaking, Wright hangs with a different crowd altogether, mingling instead with the spirits of Mingus, Monk, and Miles. Of this alliterative trio, Miles has been a decidedly conscious influence in terms of process. And in fact, as becomes obvious once you acclimate to its flow, Wright’s improvising strikes more of an affinity with horn players than guitarists. As a relatively intervallic, melodic player he prefers his wheat brewed, not shredded.
Growing up with Jeff Beck on one shoulder and Jim Hall on the other, Wright bears the mark of a generation that burned bridges between genres. His latest album builds new bridges in their place. It marks the first time in a decades-long career that he has made music purely for its own sake. And for good reason. Several years ago, Wright suffered an injury that stopped him from gigging altogether. He realized that if he were ever going to get back into the game, then it would have to be on his terms and his alone. He was inspired to write fearlessly. In that interim, the seed of what would grow into this recording was germinated, and with it the evolution of Rik Wright’s Fundamental Forces.
Fundamental Forces has become the primary stage for its leader’s compositions, taking his sound to a deeper and, yes, more fundamental level. Fundamental, too, are the tunes themselves. Blending forward thinking arrangements with a core groove that listeners can tap their toe to, the album allures at every turn. With this release, Wright has stepped outside of himself. He has gotten out of his own way to let the music speak for itself.
1. (She's So) Fragmented
3. Subtle Energy
4. Single Angularity
Rik Wright (guitar)
James DeJoie (alto & baritone sax, clarinet, flute)
Geoff Harper (bass)
Greg Campbell (drums, percussion)