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Westport Art Ensemble by Westport Art Ensemble

The Westport Art Ensemble (WEA) is a Kansas City-based jazz quintet that focuses on new music.

The band is made up of Jake Blanton, guitar; Josh Sclar, tenor and alto saxophones; Gerald Spaits, bass; Todd Strait, drums; and Roger Wilder, piano and Fender Rhodes.

The group’s self-title debt features nine original instrumental numbers plus a mesmerizing jazz take on Hank Williams’ classic "I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry," which is highlighted by Sclar’s mournful sax. Sclar also takes flight with some hard, but fanciful, playing on several other songs.

The ensemble’s music is infused with a contemporary vibe that carries through from song to song. Most of the songs are free spirited and avoid any tight-fitting structure.

High points include the richly textured "A Theme for This American Life" and the playful "Almost Hit That Lady," one of two live tracks recorded at the Westport Coffeehouse Theatre.

A true ensemble, the group makes room for each musician to shine whether it’s Wilder’s piano runs on the opening track, "Haenehmehr," or Gerald Spaits' solid support and solo work.

This CD is recommended for fans of original instrumental music.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Westport Art Ensemble
  • CD Title: Westport Art Ensemble
  • Genre: Contemporary Jazz / Modern
  • Year Released: 2003
  • Record Label: Passit Productions
  • Tracks: Haenehmehr, Dot of Oz, Labyrinth Therapy, I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry, Worlds Past, Lullaby For Naomi, Krazy Kernels, A Theme For This American Life, Almost Hit That Lady and Art Isn’t Always Pretty.
  • Musicians: Jake Blanton, (guitar); Josh Sclar, (tenor and alto saxophone); Gerald Spaits, (bass); Todd Strait,(drums); and Roger Wilder,(piano and Fender Rhodes).
  • Rating: Three Stars
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