Will Vinson

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Reviews of Will Vinson


30/04/2009 Time Out London

NYC-based guitarist Rosenwinkel is widely regarded as
one of the instrument's most important and gifted players
today. While his Metheny-ish touch is smoothly melodic,
he's capable of astonishingly angular flights and
incendiary, skronking solos. Altoist Vinson is equally
acclaimed and possesses a similarly lethal approach to
writing and soloing. These two nights are their only UK
appearances, and a very rare chance indeed to hear
them outside of their native Downtown territory.


22/02/2009 All About Jazz

By John Kelman

It's been five years since British expat Will Vinson released his debut as a leader, It's For You (Sirocco, 2004), but the alto and soprano saxophonist has been anything but dormant. Working hard in the New York area with everyone from Mike Stern and Chris Potter to Geoffrey Keezer and Seamus Blake, Vinson's follow-up, Promises, may have been a long time in coming, but it demonstrates Vinson's palpable growth as a player but also, and perhaps more importantly, as a writer. Vinson's playing continues to combine the more cerebral nature of Greg Osby with Potter's in-the-gut visceral approach, but five years down the road his own voice is emerging more confidently on this quintet session that features other up-and-comers including Aaron Parks, whose own Invisible Cinema (Blue Note, 2008) and work with trumpeter Terence Blanchard has catapulted the twenty-something pianist into high visibility. Ever inventive, Parks solos with the kind of confident sense of construction that supports his increasing acclaim, while acting as an empathic rhythm section partner with bassist Orlando le Fleming and drummer Rodney Green (Ari Hoenig replaces Green on the staggered funk of "Philos O' Fur.") Vinson also enlists guitarist Lage Lund who—along with Jonathan Kreisberg, Matt Stevens and Nate Reeves— represents the next wave of guitarists behind Kurt Rosenwinkel, Adam Rogers and David Gilmore. Promises is a mainstream set of a decidedly modern bent, featuring eight Vinson compositions that lean largely to the acoustic and the complex—informed by the writing of Rosenwinkel, Potter, David Binney and Wayne Shorter. Still, Lund isn't afraid to pull out the occasional electronic trick, including some looping and reverse attack throughout the ever-shifting "Adventures of Bagpuss," which begins with simmering intensity and a high velocity theme doubled by Vinson and Lund before leading to a vibrant swing, only to cut to half-time for a strong solo from Vinson that ultimately begins an increasingly accelerating return to swing and the composition's knotty theme. Even when Vinson moves into slower territory, it's hardly balladic, although it is lyrical in its own way. On "Rose Tint" he works again in tandem with Lund before a solo from Lund that, despite its wide intervallic leaps, distances him further from Rosenwinkel, who has become an almost too pervasive influence on younger guitarists. Vinson's warm tone on alto, his main axe, smoothes out the occasional jagged edges of his improvised lines while le Fleming and Green, ever empathic, maintain a smooth as silk cushion that's augmented by Parks' atmospheric voicing. If It's For You was a pledge of intent, Promises is the delivery. With increased confidence as a player and writer, hopefully Vinson won't have to wait another five years to follow up to this fine album of modernistic mainstream jazz.


26/07/2008 The Guardian

If you can't tell a book by the cover, you can't tell a saxophone player by what sounds at first like their primary influence either. Will Vinson, the technically adroit alto and soprano saxophonist who went to work in New York, is certainly capable of the kind of sharply accented,minimally lyrical, high-pressure sax virtuosity heard countless times over the years in the foaming wake of John Coltrane. Vinson has a sophisticated interest in the long, twisting, dynamically reserved melody lines of both the pre-Coltrane Cool School era and the linear intricacies of Steve Coleman, Greg Osby and Chris Potter. For these two gigs he's joined by versatile guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel (pictured), who can get started from deceptively reticent, Frisell-like beginnings - but if his solos might begin with sleepwalking chords, they soon find their way to flying double-time runs full of fresh phrasing, intriguingly veering between elaborate caution and deep-breath leaps across abysses.


30/03/2008 New York Times

Will Vinson

Mr. Lund, the guitarist, also contributes to “Promises,” an impressive new effort by another young alto saxophonist, Will Vinson. The album — which will be released on Nineteen-Eight Records (nineteeneight.com) on Thursday, the same day Mr. Vinson plays two sets at the Jazz Gallery — also features Aaron Parks on piano, Orlando Le Fleming on bass and Rodney Green on drums. There’s less of a boppish thrust here and more gentle fluctuations in dynamics as well as pulse. Some tracks, like the unfortunately titled “Adventures of Bagpuss,” flirt with the principles of fusion, but airily; there’s never a sense of being assaulted with technique. Mr. Vinson, who hails from London, has worked around New York in a more strenuous vein, so the lightness here is intentional. It suits him and his colleagues well.


31/07/0009 Sue Wilson - The Scotsman

WHILE this was technically a new line-up, giving the second performance of a short UK tour, the alto saxophonist Will Vinson has worked with East Kilbride double bassist Euan Burton several times in the past, while Burton, in turn, has previously featured alongside pianist Steve Hamilton and drummer Doug Hough, who completed the quartet.

There was certainly a close-knit cohesion and fluency about their interaction that bespoke an assured mutual understanding, with the lead roles often shared more or less equally between Hamilton and the two nominal frontmen. Hough took the spotlight for only a couple of solos, but his sensitively sparing, adroitly responsive contributions played a key role in the music's underlying buoyancy and mercurial sophistication.

Besides winning acclaim as players, Vinson and Burton have also emerged as composers of increasing note, with the set-list mostly alternating original material from each. While Vinson immediately commanded attention with his muscular, authoritatively purposeful style, he proved equally capable of arresting delicacy and lyricism, qualities that attained a particularly impressive balance in his delectable waltz The World Through My Shoes. Burton's solos combined a potent melodic core with a velvety softness of touch, allied to the edgy, spiky complexity of tunes such as Occurrences and Party Time. Hamilton's expansively spiralling solos further exemplified the quartet's absorbing blend of suppleness and precision, and if the show's second half saw a slight loss of focus midway, the blame lies mainly with some loudly talkative punters at the bar.


02/05/0009 The Jazz Breakfast

First gig at Cheltenham for me was the noon bells at the Everyman and a band leader I had no knowledge
of, other than that he has a great guitarist, Kurt Rosenwinkel, in his band. And, after just on an hour of music, I am pleased to report it’s a name I will remember. Vinson’s compositions are strong, real song structures that go in just slightly unexpected directions. They reminded me a bit of Steely Dan verses which sound logical once you have heard them but which you would never have thought of before you heard them. They demand a certain kind of soloing, too, which keeps the melody and the harmonic changes firmly in there as part of the improvisation. The whole band cooked in a fine manner for so early in the jazz day, and Rosenwinkel put in some fine solos. Vinson, on alto, solos like a composer which is always a treat as far as I am concerned. His ballad, Limp of Faith, with an extended solo guitar intro, was especially pleasing. The 75-minute gig was unfortunately cut short at the hour due to the theatre’s backstage power failing which rendered the fire alarms useless. Once again, beautiful art is stymied by health and safety! Followed this youthful New York jazz up with some youthful London jazz from Golden Age Of Steam, but more of that in due course


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