SOPHISTICATED LADY QUARTET/Simpler Times: There’s certainly something to be said about recording jazz for a classical label with jazz sensibilities. Modern with daddio overtones, this crew kicks out sensational chamber jazz that doesn’t come with the baggage 50s recordings of this ilk carried when the record companies were trying to clean up junkies for new, rec room America. These cats come to play and show their debut was no fluke. Low key but with plenty of fire, this almost feels like egghead jazz but it warmly invites everyone in to the tent. Killer stuff.
Sophisticated Lady – Jazz Quartet – Yarlung Records
Sophisticated Lady is thrilled to have a new review which you can find on Audiophile Audition.
A big Shout Out to Yarlung Records for the outstanding production quality of our album.
“A rare combination of expert jazz and modern recording technology.”
Published on December 9, 2014
Quote from Audiophile Audition Review:
Review from Robbie Gerson
“There are several original numbers that are captivating. Drummer Andrew Boyle contributes two songs. “Green Eyed Monster” is harmonic and filled with trumpet/piano counterpoint. “Gone” is a hushed ballad, nudged along with Boyle’s gentle brush strokes. Pianist Adair contributes three unusually complex tunes. “Ropes Of Sand” has a haunting quality and seems to capture the group at its most creative. “Finale” has that crisp, swinging quality of a Brubeck jam with well-time bold strokes. “Fields Of Kurdistan” demonstrates the nuanced flow of a classical piece of music, but with some bluesy flair. All three maintain their freshness after subsequent plays. Bassist Wicks creates a meditative lullaby on “Night Night”, while “Weightless” emphasizes early Miles Davis chord structures (as stated in the incisive liner notes).”
Read the full review at Audophile Audition.
Sophisticated Lady Yarlung Records
We are thrilled to have this new review on our album.
Review by Miles Jordan Chico News & Review
December 12, 2014
Sophisticated Lady is four guys—J.J. Kirkpatrick, trumpet/flugelhorn; Misha Bigos, piano; Gary Wicks, bass, and Andrew Boyle, drums—who met at USC during their graduate studies. Their CVs include work with Manhattan Transfer, Stevie Wonder, Chick Corea, Diana Krall and Plas Johnson, to name just a few. The music is rich and very fresh sounding, thanks to Yarlung Records, an audiophile label that chose to record the CD in a specially constructed concert hall at USC. They open with a lively rendition of Jerome Kern’s “I’m Old Fashioned,” which could also serve as Yarlung’s motto, as its use of an “analog recorder with tube circuitry” epitomizes its “minimalist approach” to this album. Two Duke Ellington numbers, “Isfahan” and “Sophisticated Lady,” get terrific treatments from Kirkpatrick and Bigos. The rhythm section performs flawlessly throughout, especially on the two trio selections. Eight of the 12 tunes are written by the group and their music is more cerebral than foot-patting, especially “Fields of Kurdistan,” a ruminative solo featuring the pianist, whose composition it is. A production mix-up resulted in Bigos’ “Ropes of Sand” (a peppy Latinate number with its composer moving into high gear) having its title switched with “Strange Fruit” (which gets a very strange interpretation).
If you miss the sounds of vintage 50s Miles Davis recordings, here’s a treat for you. The team of JJ Kirkpatrick/tp-fh, Misha Adair Bigos/p, Gary Wicks/b and Andrew Boyle/dr mix standards and originals that have the feel of a Miles Davis quartet session just before Coltrane blew into town. Kirkpatrick’s got a nice clean and warm sound, displayed well on “I’m Old Fashioned,” but he can also make it deliver some emotion as he has it cry on Bigos’ “Ropes of Sand” and sigh on Ellington’s “Sophisticated Lady.” Bigos himself has soft hands on “Night Night” and drives like a trucker on his chiming “Finale.” The rhythm team can go languid and melancholy during “Weightless” and can purr like a kitten on a rich take of Ellington’s “Isfahan.” No changed worlds here, but definitely a friendlier one.
Bill Milkowski Review The Absolute Sound – Sophisticated Lady Review
Sophisticated Lady Jazz Quartet.
This band of young jazz musicians follows in the classy-cool tradition of Shorty Rogers & His Giants, a tasteful swinging late 50s-early 60s outfit led by a principal creator of the West Coast sound. Recorded in Cammilleri Hall in LA, this debut album sounds astoundingly good. Recorded live, it gives one the feeling of having a ringside seat at an intimate jazz club. It opens with a politely swinging rendition of Jerome Kern’s “I’m Old Fashioned” that’s underscored by drummer Andrew James Boyle’s deft brushwork at the intro. Every nuance of JJ Kirkpatrick’s bristling trumpet solo here can be readily felt while Boyle’s switch to sticks on the ride cymbal is like sparklers being set off in the dark. Boyle’s gentle ballad “Gone” is a lyrical highlight while the Ellington-Strayhorn song “Isfahan” is another showcase for Kirkpatrick’s bold tones and sly improvisations. Pianist Misha Bigos contributes the swinging “Finale” and delivers a dramatic solo piano piece, “Fields of Kurdistan,” while bassist Gary Wicks contributes the darkly beautiful “Night Night” and the somber “Weightless.” Kirkpatrick also turns in some bright trumpet work on a faithful rendition of Duke’s timeless “Sophisticated Lady.” A stellar first outing by a group that shows great promise. “
— Bill Milkowski
The Absolute Sound, December 2014
“Sophisticated Lady’s debut album for Yarlung Records is an elegant stew of tradition-based jazz infused with some modern spice, a tasty dish sure to please the most discerning of connoisseurs. Working through a studio set of original pieces and classics, all recorded in one take, the quartet clearly demonstrates there is life in tradition yet. Innovation doesn’t have to be far out, strange, outre. Such innovation can sound “go-o-o-od,” very good. … “ Read more Seattle P-I.
–By Jack Goodstein, BLOGCRITICS.ORG
“Sophisticated Lady Jazz Quartet, Sophisticated Lady: Nice debut from a young quartet that clearly burns for a traditional jazz sounds, and covers of songs like “Strange Fruit,” “I’m Sentimental,” and a couple by Ellington speak to passion, both in song selection in the way the quartet chooses to express it. What kicks the session up a notch is that when they throw in an original constructed more like something of the present day, it doesn’t sound that far removed from the traditional material as to shatter the album’s cohesion. The way a song like “Ropes of Sand” fits neatly into the stream of songs is the best proof of this. The quartet is trumpeter JJ Kirkpatrick, pianist Misha Bigos, bassist Gary Wicks, and drummer Andrew Boyle. A good one for old-school fans who like a little bit of a modern flair from time to time.”
— Dave Sumner, Wondering Sound: “New Jazz This Week: Ryan Keberle, Mario Castro, Ananda Gari“
“Kudos to Sophisticated Lady for some of the most intelligent and soulful playing I’ve heard in a long while. Mr. Wicks is clearly the Stephane Grappelli of the bass. Mr. Boyle’s atomic clock accuracy was outshone only by his remarkable sensitivity and nuanced “drumist” vocabulary. Mr. Kirkpatrick’s winsome lines and lightning-fast coloratura took us beyond the trumpet and through the gamut of melody-instrument domains. And Mr. Bigos’ hands fell lacelike over his ivories with the finesse and speed of traditional Portuguese tatting amid a rainbow of colored threads. The ensemble’s inspired compositions showcased a raft of fresh voices that we must have more of.”
–Peter Rutenberg, Grammy-winning conductor and producer
Simplicity is the ultimate in sophistication and Sophisticated Lady Jazz Quartet has that down cold. Remember west coast cool and what real swing sounded like? Well melody has just been released from the jazz witness protection program! Most releases of this nature would have the 4tet phoning it in with some time tested standards and production values that would sound like the music was sanitized for your protection, not here.
Live in the studio, one take and they just don’t make them like that anymore. The set list here includes some reinvented favorites such as “Sophisticated Lady” along with “I’m Old Fashioned.” There are some most impressive originals that are banged out with a lyrical sense of purpose including “Weightless” from bassist Gary Wicks and “Gone” from Andrew Boyle. Truth be told there really isn’t a weak link to be found here. Each member could easily become a leader in their own right which may be a strong reason for the lyrical synergy that jumps from band.
This is an act to keep an eye on!”
–Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com