As We Know It is the third release from 8 string guitar virtuoso Jack West and his ensemble Curvature. West has once again created a completely original and compelling work. This album marks the first recording of West on his custom fan-fret 8 string acoustic guitar as well as the first recorded meeting of West and master guitarist Dean Magraw (recipient of the NAIRD Best Acoustic Instrumental Album of 1994).
The music on As We Know It is a unique and modern acoustic sound that is characterized by unusual rhythms, odd time sinatures, playful melodies, and intense improvisation. While the music is complex and difficult to play, it is also very palatable and welcoming to listeners of all levels. Recorded live in the studio, the record truly captures the live ensemble sound of Dean Magraw with Curvature regulars Joel Davel on marimba and Peter Valsamis on drums.
More than anything else, the compositions are the distinguishing feature of this recording. Well respected in both the jazz and folk communities for his innovative approach to writing tunes, West definitely showcases his set of tunes to date on this recording. He has an uncanny ability to write instrumental compositions that are musically complex, strikingly original, and totally accessible-all at the same time. While it is clear that these tunes draw from general influences like jazz, folk, funk, and blues, the end result is absolutely not a simple collage of standardized stylistic elements: it is a unique and completely original new style.
"Jack West snaps & slides out mellow, woody jazz compositions that are both technically improbable and sonically impressive...his unorthodox approach always breathes deep with originality." - Creative Loafing, Atlanta
"[Big Ideas is] a remarkable outing of cool curves, gently sloping musical parabolas, & wondrous bends in compositional structure. With rhythm at the fore West offers unusual sound colors, fluid slide work, & percussive attack" - Down Beat
"A whole new sub-genre of jazz" - National Public Radio
"...sounds like something never heard before...nothing short of astounding!"- Oakland Tribune
"Curvature explores an original, rhythmically astute amalgam of blues, jazz, funk, and folk. Although complex in terms of time signatures and improvisations, Curvature's music is immediately accessible, owing to West's beguiling melodic sensibility and his absorbing percussive attack." - SF Bay Guardian
"serious talent...serious ideas...a technically gifted guitarist determined to create a sound and a grove that's totally out of bounds from most of the formulaic jam band music..."- Flagpole, Athens
"Jack West is not only a fine musician, but he has an original approach and sounds like no one else. To my mind, that is one of the most important qualities that a musician can possess." - Lee Townsend
"Bold, boundless exploration...seamless ensemble give and take...West's fluid, innovative guitar stylings are matched in daring and virtuosity by the contributions of his sidemen. By all means, expect the unexpected." - Pacific Sun.
"Jack West negotiates surprising twists and turns and attains boggling musical heights...remarkable." - SF Bay Guardian.
"...unique and enchanting...otherworldly..." - Connect Savannah
"Hauntingly beautiful...gorgeous, tightly structured compositions built on shifting rhythmic patterns...extraordinary!" - East Bay Express
Check out the artist's website:
1. Hauling Stones
2. Interaction Shift
3. Quarter Past Stockton
4. Nice View of the Cooling Tower
5. Mass Hysteria
6. Nigel's Dream
7. Song for Calder