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Show Me the Justice by David Bixler

Appearances can be deceiving. With the liner notes stating that the title track "reflects the culmination of some unjust personal challenges topped by the (World) Trade Center tragedy" coupled with David Bixler’s dour photo on the cover, you’d initially think that his "Show Me the Justice" album would either be a solemn affair or reflect a sense of outrage.

The evidence as presented, however, is contrary to these initial appearances. The first track, ‘I’ll Get the Bags,’ is upbeat and even earnest. It’s a celebratory piece that introduces Bixler’s band with generous solos that include Bixler on alto, Wendhelt on trumpet and Hart on guitar. The music is bright with a levelheaded attitude.

The next piece,‘Mentiras,’ may be the key to the album. It means Spanish for lies. ‘Mentiras’ begins with a beguiling melody and allows Hart to stretch out on the melody backed by the steady rhythm work of Watson and Okegwo. ‘Mentiras’ is restrained and beautiful.

A superlative piece, ‘Longing,’ is a slow burning drag on a cigarette that exhales loneliness and regret. Although reflective of the pain of loss, it does not scream of injustice. However, the piece demonstrates the brilliant workmanship offered by Bixler and band.

Despite its prominence of being the title track ‘Show Me the Justice’ may be the most difficult to decipher. The clues are deceptive because the tune would suggest a carefree cakewalk through the streets of Bixler’s home, Upper West Side of New York City.

Bixler is like a magician or merely a card shark. His sense of misdirection compels you to pay close attention to what is being played and what is not. Consequently, "Show Me the Justice" is a very good, compelling body of work.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: David Bixler
  • CD Title: Show Me the Justice
  • Genre: BeBop / Hard Bop
  • Year Released: 2003
  • Record Label: Bixler Records
  • Tracks: I’ll Get the Bags, Mentiras, How Did It Feel Like?, Longing, Tenor Envy, Quack, Show Me the Justice
  • Musicians: David Bixler (alto saxophone), Scott Wendhelt (trumpet), John Hart (guitar), Ugonna Okegwo (bass), Andy Watson (drums)
  • Rating: Three Stars
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