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Standards inspired by Jim Hall, Bill Evans, Kurt Rosenwinkel.
22 JAM D E C EMB E R 2 0 1 2 + J ANU A R Y 2 0 1 3
f o r t h e r e c o r d
Brian Baggett Trio
Brian Baggett Trio
Personnel: Brian Baggett, guitars; Bill McKemy, bass; Josh
Adams, drums
Tracks: Stella by Starlight, The Days of Wine and Roses, God
Bless the Child, Beautiful Love, Angel Eyes, I’m So Lonesome I
Could Cry, Solar, You Go to My Head
Recorded and mixed at Studio 17, Lawrence, Kansas, 2012.
Guitarist Brian Baggett’s
new CD is a compelling, innovative
standards album.
You may have also heard
Baggett as the guitarist in Ken
Lovern’s OJT or as the leader
and guitarist of the fusion/
rock band DOJO. A talented,
skilled guitarist with a foot in
more than one city, Baggett
performs regularly in KC, manages Supersonic Music in
Lawrence, and teaches at Ottawa University.
Reminiscent of the Jim Hall style on this album, Baggett’s
playing is often sparse, but Baggett says a lot with each
note; he chooses with wisdom, artistry, and grace. Baggett’s
guitarist voice is clear, bright, and intelligent--and
wisely, vibrantly understated.
One of the most compelling tracks on this CD is Baggett’s
group’s rendition of the standard “Solar,” executed
with a funky fusion feel. Upbeat, contemporary, but still
grounded in the roots of the original, Baggett’s version
of “Solar” feels a little like Chick Corea’s Electrik Band
meets Sonic Youth. Baggett’s playing is at first sparse and
contemplative, but heats up and gets busy as the tune
progresses--and everything about this track is forward
moving, solar hot: from yellow flame to blue flame hot.

22 JAM D E C EMB E R 2 0 1 2 + J ANU A R Y 2 0 1 3
f o r t h e r e c o r d c o n t i n u e d
The vamps on this tune highlight the comping and soloing
skills of each group member, from drummer Josh Adam’s
funk-march riffs and fills in which he skillfully lands the
backbeat in innovative places to bassist McKemy’s soulful,
low, grooving ostinato lines to guitarist Baggett’s ‘70s
feel, echoing notes, which in the sparser spots sound like
hip, held, Morse code signals for a space landing. Like
much of the album, this tune grooves hard, is melodic
and filled with sensitive full-band interplay, but is understated,
played with the low steady flame of discipline and
measured, but vibrant, control. And, remarkably, this is a
memorable version of the tune that appears to chart and
stake some new territory. You won’t hear another band
play “Solar” quite like this.
Another of my favorite tracks from this album is
Baggett’s trio’s rendition of “Beautiful Love.” A more
traditional arrangement, this love song swings hard,
and features Baggett’s soloing skills, often reminiscent
of Hall, but at times of Metheny. Baggett’s sound is his
own, though, full of characteristic repetend, a meditative
approach, and just the right approach to space. Baggett’s
introductions are often filled with pregnant pauses that
lead to bright, crafty, compelling runs. And Baggett is not
often one to overplay, although he is not afraid at the arc
of the solo to get busy. Returning to the tune, the end of
“Beautiful Love” includes a tasty duet between Baggett
on low tones and Adams on toms. Each plays just enough,
as in a conversation between people who truly know each
other. This final interlude is one reason to play and replay
this track.
A mix of swung tunes and fusion/funk revisionings,
Brian Baggett Trio is an album for the jazz aficionado, the
seasoned player, or the listener new to the scene, but interested
in new views, new interpretations. A clean, vibrant,
polished album--but one with lift--this CD can be set to
play on repeat and should not disappoint. Its nuances--
some classical (golden age jazz), some contemporary--are
worth listening to, and returning to.
Copies of the CD can be purchased at Baggett’s
website: brianbaggett.net
—Kevin Rabas, Jam Magazine, Kansas City

credits

released September 10, 2012

Brian Baggett, Bill McKemy, Josh Adams

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about

Brian Baggett Trio Lawrence, Kansas

Brian has appeared in Guitar Player Magazine, was featured in Jazz Ambassadors Guitars Galore cover story and appeared in the 2011 PBS special “Kansas City Jazz & Blues - Past, Present and future”. For over a decade Brian has been a regular on the Kansas City jazz scene working as a freelance guitarist and as a member of Ken Lovern’s OJT. He is the guitar Professor at Ottawa University. ... more

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