For almost a decade Nigel Price and Vasilis Xenopoulos have established a strong musical partnership through their shared stylistic and artistic connections.
Their new album 'Sidekicks' is a compilation of jazz standards, where each one of them pays homage to some of the greatest guitar/saxophone collaborations in the history of Jazz such as Jim Hall/Sonny Rollins, Wes Montgomery/Johnny Griffin, Kenny Burrell/Stanley Turrentine, Stan Getz/Charlie Byrd and from the UK jazz scene Dave Cliff/Geoff Simkins and the legendary Morrissey/Mullen.
Vasilis Xenopoulos - Tenor Saxophone
Nigel Price - Guitar
Dario Di Lecce – Double Bass
Steve Brown - Drums
For part one of this 2-CD release, Price revels in his collaboration with Hammond organist Ross Stanley and drummer Matt Home. Together, they shape his original music through the earthy authenticity of the organ trio idiom, their connectivity sparking relentless verve and invention. He also invites saxophonists Alex Garnett and Vasilis Xenopoulos to guest on a number of tracks, adding further weight and dynamism to the guitarist’s material.
The second session, recorded entirely as solo guitar performances or duo overdubs, pulls into even sharper focus the demanding intricacies of Price’s varied technique. These nine, intimately-recorded gems of standards glisten timelessly, from the blithe demeanor of Ray Noble’s ‘Cherokee’ and Rodgers & Hart’s ‘Have You Met Miss Jones?’ through to a crunchy, rocking interpretation of Joe Pass’s ‘Fragments of Blues’, the brazen, dual-guitar strut of ‘Midnight Blue’, and a mellow bossa impression of Horace Silver’s ‘Peace’.
Nigel, a Ronnie’s regular struts his strings with Pete Whittaker on Hammond organ and Matt Home on drums plus their good friend Vasilis Xenopoulos guesting for the final track on tenor sax. They have recorded a clutch of numbers they toured together in 2012 and have the obvious fluidity of a well-oiled live act, switching between grooves and tempos mid-number and sounding relaxed no matter how many bpm. The title track Hit the Road, opens the show and nods towards Nigel’s personal hero, Wes Montgomery’s “Jingles” as well as Clifford Brown’s “Daahoud”. It’s slick, quick introduction of tight stops sets the stage for several swinging choruses. The trio well and truly establish their groove.
Lover Man as a samba is performed as a tribute to Dick Morrisey who apparently used to call the tune this way. Nigel’s country style blues licks cool the hot bed groove like a sea breeze across scorching sand. Go is an upbeat 12 bar blues by Price but not just any old 12 bar – I’m certain I have not heard more catchy syncopated shapes thrown together off the cuff - it just shows what regular jamming and practice can do, transforming an often exhausted sequence into something totally fresh.
Some might say the fine young bop guitarist Nigel Price is stuck in a 1960s time warp in which Wes Montgomery was the king of jazz guitar – but he sounds happy about it. Price's rolling swing and mix of the improv lyricism of Montgomery and Django Reinhardt are enhanced by saxophonist Alex Garnett, who delivers an authoritative tribute to the hip gravitas of sax heavyweights such as Dexter Gordon. Price's Hammond organ trio with Garnett and Latin-jazz percussionist Snowboy play the first of these two discs, breezing through a mix of jazz classics and apposite originals. Disc two (Tales) features Price on acoustic guitars, in overdubbed duets with himself on a set of standards. Garnett's superb contribution lifts the venture above the nostalgic, and for classic-jazz fans, it'll be pretty appealing.
Nigel Price Organ Trio - Live! Was recorded at three venues during a UK tour in April and May 2009 (Milestones Jazz Club, Hotel Hatfield, Lowestoft; The Bull’s Head, Barnes; and Dereham Jazz Society, The Lakeside Country Club, Norfolk).
Nigel Price Organ Trio - Live! sees Nigel once again supported by Pete Whittaker on organ and Matt Home on drums, the live album format capturing perfectly the energetic spirit of this gritty three piece.
Nigel is an excellent jazz guitarist often found playing with rising stars, but here he has released an album by his own trio featuring the striking organ of Pete Whittaker and impressive sticks and brushes work of Matt Home. Brisk opener Booze Blooze, written by Nigel, gives each player the opportunity to show us their chops in turn and introduces their artistry and ability. The mellow title track, however, presents Nigel’s inventive single string playing and the subsequent take on Wes Montgomery’s Blues Riff also allows Pete room to blend a little Jack McDuff-style chord material into the mix
Keith Ames, Musician magazine (Fool’s Gold review)