Jazz CD Reviews
David Bixler – Call It a Good Deal – Zoho
Published on July 6, 2006
(David Bixler, alto sax; Scott Wendholt, trumpet; John Hart, guitar; Ugonna Ugekwo, bass; Andy Watson, drums)
As a member of the Chico O’Farill Afro-Cuban Orchestra, David Bixler is the leader of the alto sax section. Chico’s son Arturo has done the obligatory rave notes, calling Bixler a major “voice in the wilderness.” I wish I could agree with his assessment, however I can’t. I found Bixler’s new Zoho release, Call it a Good Day, a mishmash of styles with no real direction. Interestingly enough, the real soloist of this CD is guitarist John hart. Many of the tracks on this release seem to be features for Hart as the CD takes the direction of a John McLaughlin or Pat Metheny CD. Such can be said for both the opening tracks, Aiding and Abetting, and Unraveled.
Game Face has a counterpoint melody with Bixler and Hart that can peak your interest. Next Gemenlie opens with a pretty vibe that soon gives way to a nice solo by trumpeter Wendholt and an effective solo by bassist Ugekwo. Scratch and Sniff is a funk exercise, largely a feature again for Hart, which failed to move me. Following this track is the one ballad offering, He Cries Everyday, and here for one of the few times Bixler takes center stage to a gentle and reflective effect matched by some introspective soloing by Hart. The closer, Good Deal?, takes us back to the the CD‚s opening tracks as being unfocused blowing by Bixler, with his band mates getting their brief chance to solo and Wendholt coming out on top.
While mostly disappointing to this reviewer, Bixler’s CD shows him to be a generous sharer of the limelight. Perhaps his next CD will provide a more focused effort to take center stage and display his talents as displayed in the O’Farill Afro-Cuban Orchestra.