"Brilliant original compositions...breathtaking." - Contra Costa Times
"A whole new sub-genre of jazz" - National Public Radio
"Exploring uncharted territory...uncannily familiar and yet completely fresh" - Andrew Gilbert, Jazz Critic
"Stunning...one of the more interesting releases of the new year" - JazzWest
All original compositions with odd time signatures & polyrhythms, engaging melodies, funky grooves, & soulful jazz-jam improv by virtuosic quartet.
"stunning...fuses bebop-inspired jazz, folk, and a jam band attitude into an irresistibly cool, intriguingly textured style." - Acoustic Guitar Magazine, July 2003
"Remarkable, unusual, wondrous!" - Down Beat
"...West's unorthodox approach always breathes deep with originality" - Creative Loafing, Atlanta
Curvature's new release, Around About Now, is a dynamic collection of smokin' tunes - definitely Curvature at their most gregarious. Produced by Jack West with generous assistance from Lee Townsend, Curvature's fifth CD showcases seven of West's new compositions presented by the ensemble on unusual and wonderful instrumentation. Around About Now integrates West's unique take on acoustic jazz and blues with elements of country, electronic music, hip/hop and gospel brought in by the ensemble. Featuring Jack West on 8-string acoustic guitar, Joel Davel on electronic marimba, David Phillips on 14-string pedal steel, and drummer Darian Gray. These world-class musicians have developed masterful improvisational techniques and tight ensemble timing.
Although West is hesitant to categorize his music, he defines it as "modern American music by a musician from Georgia that's living in the diverse cultural landscape of California." Residing in the San Francisco Bay Area has allowed Jack to experiment with unusual combinations of instruments that give shape to his compositions and have helped him develop his style. It has also given him a chance to work with a slew of top Bay Area artists: Mike Marshall, Calder Spanier (formerly with Charlie Hunter Quartet), Scott Amendola, Jon Evans, George Brooks (Zakir Hussain's Rhythm Experience), Jenny Scheinman, Mark Summer (Turtle Island String Quartet), and many others.
Completely fresh, all-original, acoustic jazz featuring 8 string acoustic guitar with slide, cello, marimba and drums.
Big Ideas is the fifth release from 8-string guitar virtuoso Jack West and his ensemble, Curvature. Produced by Lee Townsend, who specializes in recordings of an interdisciplinary, cross-genre nature by contemporary composers and improvisers (Bill Frisell, Pat Metheny, Charlie Hunter), this recording is a perfect fit for both musician and producer. First class players include drummer Scott Amendola, marimba player Joel Davel, and cellist Mark Summer. Each of these musicians has developed his reputation based on his distinct approach to his instrument-the perfect combination for West and the right timing for producer Lee Townsend to step in. West's strikingly original compositions, his soulful slide-guitar work and the band's seamless ensemble playing have drawn rave reviews.
Publishers Pick of the Week, 12/31/00, www.allaboutjazz.com
highly original, progressively funky acoustic jazz quartet with elements of slide blues and odd-time grooves featuring 8-string acoustic guitar, marimba, and drums
"A fertile blend of acoustic blues, progressive jazz, and an international folk music feel, Curvature's music bristles with instrumental virtuosity and a freewheeling improvisational spirit." - SF Bay Guardian
As We Know It is the third release from 8 string guitar virtuoso Jack West and his ensemble Curvature. West has once again created a completely original and compelling work. This album marks the first recording of West on his custom fan-fret 8 string acoustic guitar as well as the first recorded meeting of West and master guitarist Dean Magraw (recipient of the NAIRD Best Acoustic Instrumental Album of 1994).
The music on As We Know It is a unique and modern acoustic sound that is characterized by unusual rhythms, odd time sinatures, playful melodies, and intense improvisation. While the music is complex and difficult to play, it is also very palatable and welcoming to listeners of all levels. Recorded live in the studio, the record truly captures the live ensemble sound of Dean Magraw with Curvature regulars Joel Davel on marimba and Peter Valsamis on drums.
More than anything else, the compositions are the distinguishing feature of this recording. Well respected in both the jazz and folk communities for his innovative approach to writing tunes, West definitely showcases his set of tunes to date on this recording. He has an uncanny ability to write instrumental compositions that are musically complex, strikingly original, and totally accessible-all at the same time. While it is clear that these tunes draw from general influences like jazz, folk, funk, and blues, the end result is absolutely not a simple collage of standardized stylistic elements: it is a unique and completely original new style.
"Jack West snaps & slides out mellow, woody jazz compositions that are both technically improbable and sonically impressive...his unorthodox approach always breathes deep with originality." - Creative Loafing, Atlanta
Live progressive acoustic jazz featuring acoustic guitar, sax, marimba, and percusion with emphasis on highly original compositions, smokin' improvisation, and deep grooves.
Recorded live in the studio, this CD captures the essence of the Curvature Quartet with the brilliant saxophonist Calder Spanier (of Charlie Hunter Quartet fame). Mind-blowing improvisational interplay, unusual rhythms, and instrumental virtuosity combine to create a highly original and progressively funky acoustic jazz sound. The ensemble includes Jack West on acoustic guitar, Calder Spanier on soprano and alto saxophones, Joel Davel on marimba, and well-known Bay Area drummer Ricky Carter performing on his hybrid percussion/drum kit, with a guest appearance by Brian Hill on guitar.
Carving out new territory in the world of acoustic sounds that you can actually listen to without hurling, Big Comet Headed for Earth steers completely clear of the "smooth jazz" and "out jazz" population centers. This is real, creative music played by four real people live in the studio.
Truly a musician's musician, West pulls off some acoustic guitar work that is nothing short of ground breaking. This "explosion of acoustic guitar" (Dirk Richardson, KPFA) includes everything from chopper-like percussive neck beating on "Helicopter" to simultaneously performed counterpoint bass and melody lines (bass line in 9/4, melody in 6/4 at the same time) on "Closer to the Sky" to smokin' and mysterious slide playing on "Moon with a View" to darkly melodic interplay with sax on "Oil Vein".
Of particular note on this CD is the incredible horn playing of the late musical genius Calder Spanier. A very close friend and band-member with Jack West, Charlie Hunter, and many other musicians around the world, Spanier's tragic death on December 4, 1997 was a great loss to the musical community. Big Comet Headed for Earth is Spanier's last recording and is dedicated to him and his music.
"I really enjoyed listening to Big Comet Headed for Earth. It's better than good for an independent recording. The concept was realized well and the compositions are great!" - Lee Townsend, Producer and VP of A&R Verve.
virtuoso acoustic guitar, sax, and percussion creating highly original and listenable, world influenced acoustic jazz
The music of Curvature is quite simply like nothing you have ever heard before. Well respected in both the jazz and folk worlds, Jack West's innovative and at times brilliant compositions are creating a new musical style that pushes the envelope of instrumental acoustic music. This CD is the first recording by Curvature and as such it documents the band's first forays into this new musical universe.
Continuum is distinguished from other Curvature recordings by it's eclectic sounds and mellower acoustic feel. The original Curvature ensemble herein includes Jack West on acoustic guitar, Scott Proffitt on percussion, Calder Spanier (of the Charlie Hunter quartet) on sax, Mike Marshall (of David Grisman Quintet fame) on mandolin, and others.
"...the strength of Curvature is the group's original, consistently recognizable sound...distinguished by the all-acoustic instrumentation...tight arrangements, musical use of odd time signatures and polyrhythms, and engaging, intricate melodies that weave through a landscape of hypnotic yet subtly fluctuating grooves."--Electronic Musician
"...a soundwave treat for the senses...without being too new age, slick, arty, or weird."--The Muse, Berkeley CA
"...an incredible recording...great rhythmic interplay between guitar and percussion."--Charlie Hunter, Blue Note recording artist
Solo steel string acoustic guitar with emphasis on groove and melody - virtuosic, original, and compelling with no overdubs.
This CD is the first Ahead Behind Release by Jack West (of Jack West & Curvature) and the only recording to date of West in a completely solo acoustic setting. It was recorded live to 2-track DAT with no overdubs.
Though it is certainly the mellowest of West's recordings, it is by no means a "sleeper". West maintains a safe distance from the ramblings that the format frequently inspires and produces a wide variety of tunes with solid melodic foundations, brilliant rhythmic interplays, complex counterpoint bass line and melody work, and harmonic invention.
The 11 compositions herein run the gamut from introspective ballads to up-tempo, string-popping acoustic "muscle" tunes. As with his ensemble, Curvature, West places his primary emphasis here on writing unique and original tunes. You will like this record if you like solo guitar music or if you enjoy hearing an artist push the technical and expressive boundaries of his instrument. This CD has become a favorite among many of West's fans.