Scotland’s Kevin MacKenzie, a contemporary styled jazz guitarist of international class, is one of a select group of guitarists who, with authority and lyricism, have absorbed the legacy of players such as Abercrombie, Metheny and Scofield to develop an attractive, warm and very fluent personal style. It’s a style based on a mix of interesting melodic lines, subtle contemporary chord voicing’s and all executed with a fine sense of form, rhythm and dynamics.
In this newly released CD all of this is there to listen to in abundance.
Of the ten tracks, nine are MacKenzie’s own compositions, the exception being a contemporary version of Reinhardt’s Nuages played in 3/4 time and whilst very different to the much copied Django version, it is totally respectful and a delight.
Of his own compositions, I would mention the title track, The Ballad of Future Joe, a 3/4 time gentle ballad with an airy, floating quality which gently explores the shifting harmonies and is reminiscent of Metheny. The opener The Mouse Commute is a mid-tempo minor key excursion in 5/4 time which builds to an exciting climax propelled by great drumming from Cosker.
BALLAD OF FUTURE JOE: BEBOP SPOKEN HERE REVIEW
In this trio recording he joins with two more of Scotland’s finest – drummer Alyn Cosker and bassist Mario Caribe, a Brazilian who came to study music in Scotland and stayed. The result is a powerful unit capable of gentle lyricism through to high energy group interaction but always with an overriding discretion brought about by impeccable musicianship and good taste.