Highly-regarded saxophonist and composer Jack Wilkins morphs a holistic viewpoint derived from Appalachian Mountains culture and spins a hip, Americana vibe into the modern jazz vernacular. Where other projects of a similar nature fail due to superfluous content or perhaps lean too heavily on one genre, Wilkins' mood-evoking sentiment and zesty arrangements proclaim a well-rounded scenario.
With a large cast of predominately alternating personnel, the leader intertwines the blues, bluegrass and jazz components into the grand schema. Wilkins integrates catchy hooks, harmonious themes, and chutzpah while abiding by a deterministic gait throughout the program, also featuring spirited soloing jaunts, spiced with stinging breakouts.
The breadth of Wilkins' recipe covers earthy intonations and a relatively broad spectrum. And the piece "Black Bucket Stomp," is a shiny glimpse into his diverse vernacular. Based on a classic New Orleans shuffle groove, the hornists' brassy choruses amid trombonist Tom Brantley's towering solo spot, signals a jubilant post-Katrina outlook and parlays a festive spirit ingrained within a gutsy impetus. However, guitarist Corey Christiansen's animated, jazzy and soul-stirring solo also incorporates a bluesy feel along with swirling motifs, adding a serious edge to reaffirm the band's conviction and focus. During the finale, the musicians literally stomp out the primary theme. Hence, "The Blue & Green Project" offers a paradigm modeled on good cheer, clear-sighted vision, hope and impressive musicianship, intimating a top-shelf selection for 2011.