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On his first album of all original material, trumpeter Ryan Kisor delivers an atmospheric mix of organ-based post-bop. Calling to mind the work of such late-'60s luminaries as Pat Martino, Freddie Hubbard, and Wayne Shorter, Awakening coalesces various harmonic and rhythmic themes Kisor has explored on his previous efforts. That said, there is something deeper and more crystallized about his work here, especially on the two-part opening title track, an eerie, spacy, and fractured bossa nova piece. Throughout the album, Kisor displays a knack for unpredictable, intellectual improvisation. He draws you in with warm storytelling phrases and pretty birdcall-like tones. Urging him on are the expansive organ sounds of Sam Yahel and sensitively funky guitar work of Peter Bernstein. Together they bring a mix of angular minimalism and gooey nonlinear swing to Kisor's understatedly hip compositions. Similarly, tenor saxophonist Grant Stewart and drummer Willie Jones III add their distinctive styles to an ensemble that seems to thrive on subtle group interplay. While Kisor does not push the boundaries of jazz style and form to their edges, he has found a fresh way to imprint his persona on the tradition with an album that ranks as his best so far.
Performance CreditsRyan Kisor Primary Artist,Trumpet
Peter Bernstein Guitar
Grant Stewart Tenor Saxophone
Sam Yahel Hammond Organ
Willie Jones Drums
Technical CreditsGerry Teekens Producer,Cover Design
Max Bolleman Engineer
H. Bloemendaal Cover Design
K. Hasselpflug Executive Producer
Christopher Hovan Liner Notes