With the documentation of his latest cd "Twilight", Victor Goines leaves no doubt that he is one of the most important men working in the jazz idiom today. His compositions are a reflection of a man in search of the betterment of himself and humanity. At 50 years of age, Goines is at that intersection of life where knowledge and understanding have become one. From his travels and life experiences, he fully understands the weight of his aesthetic statement. In the jazz world, this aesthetic of self-discovery has rung true from thought to thought, decade to decade, and more importantly, heart to heart. With Twilight, Goines fully illustrates that he has learned his lessons well both on and off the bandstand.
The men who join Goines on this recording are bringing fresh perspectives to the music by the sheer velocity of their playing and passion. On each tune, they bring a unique interpretation of the moment to the crest of bright illumination. Aaron Diehl is the pianist on this date and one of the brightest things to happen in jazz in recent years. On this recording, Diehl provides Goines with a creative accompanist who stokes the fire on a moment's notice. In the bass seat, Goines engages two of the best young bassists working in jazz today. Yasushi Nakamura, who appears on the tracks After Hours and Insights, is quickly becoming one of the first call players on the New York scene. Philip Kuehn, who appears on the subsequent tracks of "Twilight', is a native of Lucernemines, Pennsylvania and has worked with Wynton Marsalis, Roy Hargrove, Tony Bennett and Jonathan Batiste. The drummer, Marion Felder, has quickly become one of the most in-demand drummers in jazz. Felder currently sits in the drum chair of the Count Basie Orchestra. In addition to his quartet, Goines employs two Chicago-based musicians who bring unquestionable Latin fire to the proceedings. Conguero Ruben Alavez has been a Windy City stalwart for more than four decades. A constant presence on the Chicago music scene, he has worked with everyone from Ramsey Lewis to Chuchito Valdes. Felipe Fraga is also one of Chicago's most recognized percussionists. Originally from the Curitiba state of Brazil, Felipe has worked with a myriad of artists including Robert Irving III, Wallace Roney and Joe Vasconcelos.
"Twilight" is a collection of ten original compositions from Goines' pen that spans that range of human emotion. Regardless of the tempo, Goines and company deliver the goods from note to note and bar to bar. The set begins with 'Insights'. On this composition, Goines begins with his tenor saxophone, darkly romantic - simultaneously brooding and searching with profound elegance and élan. It features a middle section with a beautiful flamenco turnaround that's both arresting and sensuous to the core. 'Autumn' is a song that signals the time of year when the burnish of summer is coming to an end and leaves are turning sepia brown. 'Joie de Vivre' is one of the most beautiful ballads Goines has written and recorded in recent memory. This is a love song for hearts that beat as one. 'After Hours' is an uptown burner that features Goines' return to one of his first loves - the alto saxophone. It reminds this writer of the kind of songs that are always employed during jam sessions. 'Twilight' is taken in two distinctly views. The first is a bolero, which illustrates an excursion into the beauty of Cuba. The second is submitted as a ballad and serves as the finale of the recording. It presents Goines in full romantic posture and reflection. 'One For My Brother' is a majestic jazz waltz that evokes similar feeling that John Coltrane brought to so many of his compositions. From the first notes, the spiritual vibe is unmistakable. 'In the Midst of the Morning' is another one of Goines' recent compositions that shows his ability to mesh human emotion through music. Goines is a master tunesmith. Much like Benny Golson and Jimmy Heath, once you hear his songs, you'll find yourself whistling them long after first hearing them. 'Precious Forever' is a beautiful ballad that Goines penned almost seven years ago. The statement is both tender and loving - an exquisite example of Goines' ballad mastery via the sound of Ben Webster and Sonny Rollins. 'Broken Lines' is a bebop line which sounds like Bechet meets Monk. The tune is very reminiscent of the great Alvin Batiste - both in its spirit and compositional complexity. A descending line of 4/4 counterpoint, Goines plays inside and out while Diehl feeds block chords of dissonance over the blues frame of the composition. 'Anniversary' is a celebration of life via the Caribbean groove line. This tune deftly illustrates the impression of Goines' visits to Brazil and its cultural ties to his naive New Orleans.
With this recording, Victor Goines clearly illustrates that he has spent a great deal of time in the woodshed - not only sharpening his battle axes, but consciously melding his life experiences into a cogent statement that is both bold and intoxicating. Yes, Victor Goines is one of the premiere thinkers in jazz music. And after listening to "Twilight", I'm quite sure you'll agree he has a lot to say as well.
December 20, 2011