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