Birdland, David Bixler, THE NEAREST EXIT
Birdland hosts a CD release party for David Bixler's latest project The NEAREST EXIT MAY BE INSIDE YOUR HEAD on Thursday, October 18th at 6pm. In conjunction with Zoho Music ZM 201206, the Street Date for the project was August 14, 2012 and it features Bixler on alto sax, John Hart on guitar, Scott Wendholdt on trumpet, Ugonna Okegwo on drums, and Andy Watson on bass.
"David Bixler is a conflicted individual. He has many musical (and non-musical) directions pushing and pulling at him. He is a jazz saxophonist, a classical and jazz composer, he is an arranger, he is an Afro Cuban, Afro Celtic composer and performer. He is an educator, a family man and an avowed Curling enthusiast," says composer and pianist, Arturo O'Farrill.
"I’m afraid he’s also developed a questionable habit. He’s got a small group. They play his compositions. In his defense, you can understand the addiction. I mean look at the personnel. John Hart plays the guitar with impeccable swing and taste. Scott Wendholdt is a trumpet players’ trumpet player, playing modern but without disavowing the tradition. Ugonna Okegwo lays down a plush carpet, defiantly flexible but rock solid. Andy Watson has a motianesque usage of space and never ever forces the groove, it just flows. It’s no wonder Bixie (as we call him) is hooked."
Furthermore, O'Farrill praises his musicianship and savvy for great songs: "And then there are his tunes. As betwixt as he is. The product of a brilliant mind, an outsider looking in at all the restraints of what is normally called jazz but like true observers not bound by any of them. His is an original voice. A beautiful and reflective antidote to fad oriented or doily covered jazz (the only two directions the machine seems hell bent on rewarding)."
On The NEAREST EXIT MAY BE INSIDE YOUR HEAD, Bixler runs the musical gamut from swing, to "hard bop, cool jazz," to rock, to the "aimless" and pensive, and improvisation. He brings together all of these styles into a cohesive work with innovation.
O'Farrill acclaims Bixler's penchant for innovation, "I am glad there are musicians like David Bixler. Complex, perhaps tortured but reassuring to me. In this age of safety pin jazz, with the world evenly divided between classicists, replicating styles of yesteryear or modernists content to groove in odd meters and call it a day. It’s nice to see someone who balances the idea of coming from somewhere and going in new directions. Why would anyone choose otherwise. David has the skills and knowledge as a player and as a writer to go in either direction. That he has the heart and sensitivity to straddle both is the mark of a true artist. I kept listening for the piano on this record, it must’ve been broken."
Birdland is located at 315 West 44th Street, New York, NY 10036. Please call 212-581-3080 and visit www.birdlandjazz.com/ for more information.