Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Ryan Kisor: The New Power Source

Ryan Kisor (trumpet, b. 1973)

Ryan Kisor is a native of Iowa, of all places. He quickly became a fixture on the New York jazz scene in the '90s and has over 15 albums to his name. He is one my favorite artists from the new crop of trumpeters in the last two decades. Not in the same arena as Dave Douglas or Roy Campbell who prefer to push beyond bebop, Kisor has chosen to embody the influences of bop and hard bop while still creating his own voice.

Many will immediately notice the influence of Freddy Hubbard, Lee Morgan and Clark Terry in some of his compositions. But after a few listens you can hear the distinction in his sound and the vibe of a musician reaching the peak of his performance.

Ryan Kisor's career spans a number of different labels with much of his recordings either out of print or on high priced imports. There are few albums with Kisor as a session member available on iTunes which I also recommend. But if you really want to seek out this impressive trumpet player you won't go wrong with any of Kisor's CDs. The most readily available ones on the Criss Cross label and are actually reasonably priced for imports ($14-$17). You can also find a very unique and highly rare compilation The Best Of Ryan Kisor 2000 - 2006 at J&R ( really cheap. It covers 6 albums he made exclusive for the Japanese market and consists of mostly standards, but it does give a decent overview of his strength.

The easiest to find of the Criss Cross titles is Power Source and is also relatively in the same price range as mentioned above. Power Source is a full bodied post hard bop session that really highlights Kisor's skill as trumpeter and arranger. While only including one self-written piece (the title track) Ryan has also allowed fellow band member, Chris Potter (sax) to showcase his growing talent with the two tracks that are delightful, "Pelog" and "Salome's Dance." This is definitely one of those incredible outings that will make you step back and say "Wow!" Truly one of my favorites that I would hope everyone has a chance to listen to. You might even enjoy the hunt for his records as well.

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