An excellent modern soul-jazz outing, Roll with It marks guitarist Corey Christiansen’s second outing as a bandleader, and showcases some outstanding playing by the quartet. The pieces are all straightforward soul-jazz compositions, all from the pen of Christiansen, and all give the players, a motley crew from around the country, room to stretch out on extended solos and a general sense of improvisation. Though the compositions provide a core around which to build, the band spends the bulk of their energy jamming around that core, using the easygoing groove as a basis for some quick shots of virtuosity. Christiansen himself, a St. Louis-based guitarist, evokes everyone from Charlie Christian to John Mayer in his playing, with a tendency toward the players of the ’60s rooted in his grooves. As much of a groove as Christiansen’s got however, it’s held up quite a bit by New York Hammond player Pat Bianchi and a driving set of chords that acts both as a basic comping tool and as a vehicle for extended solo grooves worthy of comparisons to the greats. Seattle drummer Matt Jorgensen keeps the rest of the quartet on point with a steady rhythm, and Salt Lake City-based sax player David Halliday rounds out the group with some comping and occasional soloing, though staying in the background for much of the recording. When he does break out for a solo however, he stretches out for dizzying heights. The group works well as a collection of excellent individual soloists, but it’s really in the collective, nearly improvised, extended groove that the magic lies here. Thick with funkiness and ripe for a listen.
- 05/05/17 - 05/07/17 Corey Christiansen in Wrexham, North Wales at North Wales International Jazz Guitar Weekend Buy tickets