Louisiana is known as a hotbed for jazz and its associated traditions. As such is the case, the genre comes in a variety of flavors and is always forthcoming in one form or another. Historically, the music has been at the very substance of what Louisiana is all about. Keeping that tradition alive has been marked by Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet, Kid Ory, Illinois Jacquet, The Marsalis Family, Donald Harrison, Nicholas Payton, Harry Connick, Jr. and an up and coming saxophonist by the name of Quintin Gerard W. Although the latter named jazz artist's latest CD does not aptly fit the title he has chosen, Quintin has the potential to become another heralded Louisiana jazz influence. His latest CD entitled Fnkysax is thought to be an expression of upbeat down and dirty funk-oriented rhythms; however, I do not see this in the album's overall theme. In fact, this recording is tame in approach, especially when it comes to highlighting the funk side of jazz.
Born in Norco, Louisiana, Quintin’s extended career beyond his home state includes stints with Harry Connick, Jr., Jeff Lorber, Kenny Garrett, Najee, Dave Koz, Ron Brown, Rick James and a host of other notable individuals. In hindsight, Fnkysax is the culmination of doing everything right to get from point A to point B. The results of those efforts has brought to bear a recording of 11 dynamic tracks that melodically provides a laid back smooth jazz stylized recording. Fnkysax is a release that is not funky, but does have elements of R&B, gospel and melodic expressions of exotic grooves. The CD is sensuous in approach, yet provides a simplistic rhythm that gives over to an upbeat finger-snapping mood. Quintin has also honed in on an aspect of smooth jazz that few artists have mastered, ¾ music that has an urban feel attached, that is often found in contemporary jazz, as heard with Grover Washington, Jr. Having the ability to create something other than a feel good generic jazz album is quite an accomplishment in an environment where intuitive creativity is not the norm.
Quintin Gerard W.’s approach to jazz is refreshing and likable. As a solo musician, he has great potential and stands to become one of jazz’s premier musicians in the years to come. Fnkysax may be too urban for smooth jazz radio by standards dictated by the industry; however, for those jazz connoisseurs who are not influenced by that notion, this CD is a great addition to any library. Although Quintin Gerard W. may not receive extended airplay, word-of-mouth may carry him to the height of popularity. This CD is one that will definitely renew your faith in smooth jazz and in the genre as a whole.