West Side Stories conveys eleven tracks of daring music featuring his amazingly multifaceted quintet members: pianist George Colligan, tenor saxophonist Gary Thomas, trumpeter Alex Norris and drummer Kenny Grohowski. The album is also host to: Cassandra Wilson, Ravi Coltrane, Steve Coleman, Clara Cook, Jeff Haynes, Gary Pickard, David Lee Jones, Jeff Hermason, and Khalil Kwame Bell.
Six out of the eleven tracks are Plaxico’s compositions. "West Side Stories" opens the album, ransacking contemporary jazz with a touch of funky rhythms and piercing appurtenances. "I Want To be" showcases Cassandra Wilson and the electric bass of Plexico bowling soberly notes. "Robin’s Dance" works out funky-groovy music stirred with orchestral and rhythmic grace. "Funkadelic" boasts Ravi Coltrane’s rabble-rousing/always in time soprano. The whole instrumentation of this track grizzles a jazzy-lyric charge of phrases and aesthetic arrangements. "Duke It Out" clusters a jingle texture and horn-tale statement in the overall favor of mood, form and peachy pitch. "Speaking In Tongues" clamours assertive lyricism and the musician’s friendly drifts on the piece. "Your Love Speaks To Me" closes West Side Stories with a semi-romantic approach, teeming with raspy horn attacks.
Lonnie Plaxico leads as the concerted musician he is, full of funky tendencies which will certainly gain the inveterate detractors but will without a doubt convince others. His West Side Stories is indisputably well done!