Jamie Fox: When I Get Home (2007)
Guitarist/Composer Jamie Fox has plenty of experience to bring to his debut album as a leader. The Californian has been the musical director for Joan Baez for a three-year tour, played lead guitar for Blood Sweat & Tears, and worked for artists including Dr. John, Carla Thomas and Otis Clay. Fox, it seems, wants to bring as many influences as possible to this album so that it is not just your average blowing session.
The ensemble that Fox has assembled does have a rather unusual front line, shared by saxophonist Dan Willis along with pianist Kenny Werner, bassist Stephan Crump, drummer Michael Sarin and reed/horn multi-instrumentalist Peck Allmond.
True to his word, Fox does keep his listeners on their toes. The closing track, the title tune, is played on an acoustic guitar in an Americana-type setting. Without the occasional hint of a Willis saxophone or Crump bass, this could be lifted from the latest Leo Kottke album or from one of Bill Frisell's countrified guitar albums like Nashville (Nonesuch, 1997).
Likewise, the opening tracks "Five One & A Half," otherwise a rather pleasant bossa nova-influenced tune, and "Row After Row" reveal a guitarist who knows his Pat Metheny balladry, with clear and round notes.
On "All in Time," reflection turns into funk as Fox kicks in a harder edge. Beginning with "Ognat, Fox seems to play more concisely and with a surer style. His solo on this tango composition is more decisive and fine. The tunes that follow"Leisure" and "Mine and Yours"also take advantage of a keener sense of dynamics, and both "Moniker" and "New News" turn the heat up a little more in terms of a jazz guitar exposition.
A few of the tunes feature an intriguing arrangement for horns and guitar used in counterpoint, and hearing more of them would have been interesting, but undoubtedly would have sacrificed some of the other moods that Fox wanted on display.
There are several solos from Crump, Werner and Willis. In addition to this album, Fox works with bassist Crump and his wife, Jen Chapin, on their individual albums. When I Get Home offers a multi-faceted picture of a guitarist who has a lot to share.
Track Listing: Five One & a Half; Row After Row; All in Time; Moniker; Ognat; Leisure; Mine & Yours; Childhood; New News; When I Get Home.
Personnel: Jamie Fox: guitars; Kenny Werner: piano; Dan Willis: saxophone and bass clarinet; Stephan Crump: bass; Michael Sarin: drums; Peck Allmond: trumpet, saxophone, euphonium.