Alto saxophonist, composer, and producer Logan Richardson has just released his Blue Note debut album called “SHIFT”. Logan played on the Next Collective’s album “Cover Art” in 2013 and also played and recorded with numerous others, like Billy Hart, Jason Moran, Joe Chambers, and Nasheet Waits. Heavily featured on the album is guitarist Pat Metheny who enhances the opening track “Mind Free”, a meandering jazz groove that also has Jason Moran imaginatively supporting the free-flowing composition with the leader’s fancy spots and lyrical entries.
Another groove-oriented piece with rolling Fender Rhodes by Jason, is “Creeper”, where Logan plays some lilting, fascinating solo over the bubbling Rhodes and tumultuous backing by bassist Harish Raghavan and drummer Waits. Pat plays some of his signature, distorted guitar solos which build into a glorious fanfare until the tempo is taken back to make room for the final sparkling key and guitar moments.
The wonderful crankiness of “In Your Next Life” with its passionate, subdued rhythm and moderate digressions of both Pat and Jason, is an effective tool for the leader to come up with some pretty embellished work. And the piano work here is expressively resonant and soulful. There is a lot going on during those 7 minutes – a fascinating piece with aplomb and elation. Logan’s only cover is the Bruno Mars track “Locked Out Of Heaven”, reminiscent of some Headhunters material from the 70s with Jason conjuring some tricks on Rhodes and a haunting, penetrating motif played by sax and guitar. More of a mood piece with thunderous stabs toward the end.
Pat and Jason are both featured with blazing solos on the harmonically intricate “Slow” with its various layers of mysterious loads. More thickening lines can be heard on a touching piece called “Imagine” which sounds as if played in various languages with both sax and guitar exchanging balms, seemingly disconnected at times, only to come back together as one and held together by some warm Rhodes sounds and a forceful drum. Repeat listen guaranteed! Pat is playing some haunting and truly flowing opening charts on “Alone”, a track that can be described as the only real ballad on this album. A beautiful piece with some of Logan’s most sensitive and breezy playing.
There are some nice comic graphics in the booklet by the way and the group finishes up this album with a densely accentuated “Untitled” which has some oblique parts but both sax and Rhodes make up for a demanding sound. Catch Logan with SHIFT on tour, mostly with Nir Felder on guitar, John Escreet on piano, Max Mucha on bass, and Tommy Crane on drums:
03/26 Utrecht – Transition Festival
04/08 Paris – Duc des Lombards
04/09 Paris – Duc des Lombards
04/11 London- Pizza Express
04/12 Berlin – A-Trane
04/14 Rome – Il Cantiere
04/15 Karlsruhe – Karlstorbahnhof
04/17 Amsterdam – Bim Huis
05/20 New York – Dizzy’s Club
05/21 Los Angeles – Blue Whale
05/23 Kansas City – The Blue Room