Dec. 7, 2016
I just got wind of this promising saxman – Derek Ryan Edwards — recently, although his debut release, 10 West, has been around for three months now, and I’m certainly glad he contacted me with this smooth piece of work.
Coming to us from the jazz-rich L.A. area of California, Edwards brings a sweet richness and clarity, as well as well-composed and melodic tracks to introduce his brand of c-jazz.
From the mellow, swaying lead track “Night Sky” to the nicely arranged up-tempo title track to the head-boppin’ “Heads Up” to the sweet “On the Coast,” Edwards delivers a somewhat soft and unimposing style and material on this album. Deliberate melodies dominant his style, not necessarily in-your-face rhythms or heavy funk. This is actually fine with me, since his softer, slower tunes are truly captivating.
Influenced by the likes of such late great pioneers as Cannonball Adderly, Charlie Parker, and John Coltrane – as well as the contemporary sounds and styles of Dave Koz, Everette Harp, Kenny G, Kirk Whalum, Najee, and Kim Waters, the saxman has a deep well of inspiration from which to draw, and a lot of it is shown here.
From a purely sax skill standpoint, Edwards has a really nice grasp of what moves jazzers. I have no doubt that this album will find its mark among many who listen to it. As debuts go, kudos to Edwards for a job well done. – Ronald Jackson