Too often in today’s era of media excess, artistic intention in jazz is shunned for the sake of commerce. With so much uninspired blandness being passed off as innovation, it’s refreshing to hear a recording with unbridled passion and integrity. San Diego based trombonist Scott Kyle has produced just such a disc. Facing East, Kyle’s second recording as a leader, is a dynamic collection of original compositions and fresh takes on classic gems.
Kyle is a trombonist of conviction whose sound brazenly displays the lineage of jazz trombone. He blends the influence of masters like George Bohannon, Bill Watrous, and Frank Rosolino effortlessly to form a bold, forward looking approach.
Writing in a logical manner, Kyle’s tunes have well crafted harmonic structures underlying lyrical melodic development. Stylistically, his compositions emulate the methods of the masters whom he interprets (Chick Corea, Joe Henderson, Bill Evans). "Springtime," a spirited waltz, is an especially strong offering in classic post-bop fashion.
Highlights of the session include a sensitive rendering of Wayne Shorter’s timeless ballad "Infant Eyes," Randy Brecker’s shuffle "Inside Out" (with Kyle’s son Colin tearing it up on electric guitar), and Woody Shaw’s challenging "Moontrane."
Kyle’s colleagues, all San Diego veterans, share a penchant for progressive sounds. Front line partner in crime, saxophonist Tripp Sprague, is an endearing soloist with inventive ideas on tenor and soprano. Bassist Justin Grinnell, pianist Rick Helzer, and drummer Duncan Moore provide outstanding support and lyrical solos.
The music on Facing East is hard-swinging, honest, and most of all enjoyable. Kyle stretches the boundaries of convention while preserving past innovations. He is truly an artist deserving of wide recognition.