Artist: Ricky Rodriquez
Album: Looking Beyond
Label: Destiny Records
Release Date: 06/17/2016
NYC bassist and composer Ricky Rodriquez brilliantly adapts two lines of genius he’s learned from elder jazzmen before him. First, from iconic Brit prog/fusion guitarist Allan Holdsworth “Pulse is the most important thing.” And from none other than the Duke himself “Write from your players strengths.” And beyond doubt, Looking Beyond is the strength of the pulse or the pulse of strength. Take your analytical tic, hang your own pundit’s shingle, and let Rodriquez’s music – its roaming explorations and evolving, world rhythmic language – defend it on any of these ten highly charged, densely animated tracks.
What I deeply appreciate is the composer’s willingness to let his imaginings, and those of his spirited peers, primarily saxophonists Myron Walden and David Sanchez, keyboardist Luis Perdomo and drummers Obed Calvaire and Obanilu Allende, probe the peaks and valleys of their own harmonic landscapes. This makes for several expanded, captivating performances, clocking in at over eight minutes each. Hear ideas pirouette on the Playboy After Dark noirish “Living,” where the hip ‘n the sexy hang to hear a cool band blow. Take in the expansive tidal dialogues of the fusion powered “The Last Chance,” the horn driven “The Real Truth” and the textural elegy of “The Humbleness.”
Throughout Looking Beyond, Rodriquez not only locks in the groove, he also locks in your head, giving testimony to another yet past master, Carl Jung, who said “The debt we owe to the play of the the imagination is incalculable.”
– Mike Jurkovic