Perfectly Out of Place by Will Vinson, review by John McBeath


Album:  Perfectly Out of Place
Artist:   Will Vinson
Release Date: 2016
Label:    5Passion

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This is New York saxophonist Will Vinson’s sixth recording as a leader, where his ten originals utilise groups from duo size up to twelve piece, using his quintet plus overdubs, synthesizers, vocals and strings – firsts for Vinson.

Vinson gives high praise to the foundation musicians of his quintet with whom he’s been playing for two decades: guitarist Mike Moreno, pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba, drummer Jeff Ballard and Matt Penman on bass.

This collection incorporates wonderful musical design, and as Vinson says he’s explored writing music that is ‘a touch more through-composed’ than his previous work and he introduces additional sounds to the quintet: astute overdubs, the Mivos String Quartet, vocalist Jo Lawry, and percussionist Jamey Haddad.
The Mivos Quartet begins the opener Desolation Tango in an untango-like semi-classical, pastoral passage, soon joined by restrained guitar notes and Vinson’s passionate soprano sax in a romantically desolate mood.

The superb duo of piano and alto traverses an almost tempo-less Limp of Faith with each player excelling in both solo and duet passages.
An exhilarating uptempo Upside with a memorable post-bop theme lifts off with Vinson’s racing alto underscored by guitar, Rubalcaba’s always imaginative piano and Ballard’s clever stick work.

The entire twelve musicians reassemble for a powerful Skyrider travelling forcefully with strings weaving around the quintet and its members’ solos, plus Jo Lawry’s amazing wordless vocals way up on top of the highest strings.
This is a highly artistic album of admirable, varied compositions and performances of highly skilled musicianship.

Review originally published by the Australian

For just over 24 years I have been a freelance writer, publishing in that time a wide variety of genres: news items, live concert reviews, travel articles, features, personality profiles, and CD and book reviews. I have written for various in-flight magazines, The Adelaide Review, The Republican, The Bulletin, The Australian, The Advertiser, The Melbourne Herald Sun and several regional newspapers. In 1994 I won a national travel-writing prize sponsored by The Australian newspaper, which led to my writing regularly for that paper. Since 2003 I have been jazz critic for The Advertiser and The Australian newspapers, on average contributing weekly to each paper. In 2005 I won a national Jazz Writing Competition sponsored by the Wangaratta Jazz Festival.