Note, y'all, that this Mr. Wright's first name lacks a 'c'. He is not Pink Floyd's keyboardist Rick Wright. Nonetheless, he's a guitarist whose material is as much in a progressive vein as the famed Floyd boys. In fact, the promo lit nails it: Wright's one of those musicians coming from a leading edge that "burned bridges between genres" and hasn't seen any reason to give the practice up. In fact, purely in terms of twists and turns harkening back to the roots beneath all the abstractions, the feel and timbre of Blue companion what Steve Khan has been doing to little-noticed but momentous effect in his highly fusioned latinate LPs from Eyewitness forward.
Wright prefers, by force of circumstance (an injury that for years kept him from playing at all), a slo-hand approach pregnant with meaning and nuance, a highly lyrical evocation drenched in lush tones and elongated notes, though he can indeed cut loose when the urge strikes. Strange how adversity can provoke startling changes (just ask Tony Iommi), but that's what happened here. A huge presence in Blue is drummer Greg Campbell, whose work is more than once almost directly the opposite of Wright's: oft brash, pronounced, emphatic yet perfectly complementary…until he lays back, as in Nonchalant, and helps things flow like quicksilver. James DeJoie switches up between alto sax, clarinet, and flutes as colorations require while bassist Geoff Harper anchors the entire joint with patient dark repeating patterns; before long, you realize that Wright, who wrote all this, understands exactly what 'ensemble' means.
Nonchalant also captures a finely extended flight by him, one that infects and spreads like mildly hallucinogenic bourbon flowing down throat to gullet and thence to brain. Then the song lets into the Jade Warrior-ish Parting Ways, and that little-known esteemed band may be the best second referent. There's a lot of the brainworks in Blue that Jon Field and company expended in their breathtaking quartet of LPs for the Island label, as well as a search for the perfect blue note in arabic musics that Gabor Szabo and, later, Robert Plant ceaselessly pursued, the which DeJoie likewise lays pathways towards. Check his progressively intensive work-out in the 12:05 Miss Thing, going deliriously crazy as the composition crecendoes and folds back into itself, creating a new space for Wright to harken to an early David Gilmoury frenzy.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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