Guitarist Dave Wright comes from a famous jazz lineage. His father, Rayburn Wright, was head of the Jazz and Contemporary Music Department at the Eastman School of Music, following a successful career as a composer, arranger, conductor, and former arranger and co-director of music at Radio City Music Hall. He was also a film composer whose scores were nominated twice for Emmy awards.
Son Dave’s schooling came, in part, from lessons with guitarist Gene Bertoncini and Tom Rizzo, and he studied at the Studio Jazz Program at the University of Miami, Coral Gables. As a performer Dave has worked in the Radio City Music Hall Orchestra, done New York studio work, performed with the Rochester Philharmonic Pops Orchestra and performed on the largest cruise ship in the world.
9 Dreams finds Wright working in a straight-ahead, yet modern oriented, organ trio - with organist Scott Bradley and drummer Jared Schonig - augmented by guest saxophonists Matt Pivec and Bill Tiberio. Overall the CD is full of pleasant and attractive music solidly locked in the tradition except for some interesting metric and rhythmic diversions. "Tracey’s Revenge," for example, has a rock-ish veneer that allows both Schonig and Wright room to let it rip. Together the two build the piece straight on to the end within a series of cyclic vamps. The melody’s quirky offbeat accents are a perfect preamble for the tune’s closing solos.
A diversion from the CDs ensemble format is Wright’s nice unaccompanied electric guitar take on the Thelonious Monk standard "Crepescule With Nellie." Wright makes the tune his own by imbuing it with a taut rhythmic structure similar to the manner Monk would use when he played it without his band.
Other highlights include the title track. Opening with delicate phrases the piece morphs into a hot double-time ride before the solos take over. Wright’s solo is slightly constrained before Tiberio comes in to lay down some searing lines in his all-too-brief solo. The piece just seems to get going when a reflective ending section stops the wonderful mayhem; here Wright solos the tune to its end. He truly nails the emotion in his solo with beautifully constructed lines based on this section’s new ensemble sonic characteristics. One wishes this part of the piece had had some real length; not only is it truly scenic music played exceptionally well but it would also have been nice to hear where Wright would have taken his solo had he allowed himself to further develop his ideas.
While most of the music is wonderful some tunes seem a bit flat. Wayne Shorter’s "Elegant People" lacks the spark Shorter’s bandmates always bring to his own performances of this piece and the standard "Knocks Me Off My Feet" doesn’t move. These letdowns, however, don’t ruin the disc’s many fine qualities.