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Jackson Rice – The Firefly

May 3, 2012

If subtle, smooth, and fluid trumpet is your thing, you’re sure to enjoy this handsome debut offering from Jackson Rice entitled Firefly.  It has a sweet, refined feel to it combined with just enough thump and bump for the moderate funk rhythms we jazzers so love in our music.

Each track here stands on its own, not resembling any of its album mates but still sharing that melodious magnetism found throughout. Let me clarify here that not all of this project is sweet and smooth as the snappy track, “Sweet Brown,” and the title track will demonstrate with gritty, edgy guitar runs sneaking In on the action. A really cool mix, if you ask me.

“Otra Cerveza” demonstrates Rice’s ability to turn the corner with an interesting touch of reggae and Latin that still sports some of that gruff guitar work in spots again.

Some slow, deliberate reggae power is introduced on “When You Think of Me” which also has the great guitar effects of the wah pedal sitting on top of the piece.

The phrasing and timing in this entire project are certainly worth noticing, as is evidenced on “Why Wait.”

Guitar definitely has a huge share in this album as Mark Wilson lets it fly with equal amounts of style and fire throughout. He does show a softer side as he chills with some charming and mellow runs on “Out of Town.” 

This album has balance and integrity as a contemporary jazz undertaking. Rice is clear on where he wanted to take this work, and the journey is truly a very pleasant one. – Ronald Jackson