Nate Birkey

Nate Birkey: Just a Closer Walk

$16.32 $18.98
Product Type: CD
Artist: Nate Birkey

Title: Just a Closer Walk
Label: CD Baby

NYC-based jazz trumpeter, vocalist, composer Nate Birkey has built a solid reputation for creating a modernizing "mainstream" musical voice, steeped in subtle swing and expressive lyricism while making careful, tasteful detours into other rhythms and genres. He steps into some terrain both new and old by offering fresh yet traditional approaches to the realm of gospel music and spirituals on his latest album Just a Closer Walk, for Household Ink Records. Recorded live in St. Michaels Church in Isla Vista, CA, the inspiring all-instrumental song set features the ripe and empathetic work of his "west coast" quintet, with pianist Jamieson Trotter, tenor saxist Tom Buckner, bassist Jim Connolly and drummer Peter Buck. This isn't the first time Birkey has followed a particular conceptual path on an album: he focused his musical attentions on earlier albums with the deceptively simple, self-descriptive titles, 2001's "Ballads" and 2008's "Christmas." Alongside the pulse of "straight ahead" jazz in the foundation of Birkey's approach, his taste for New Orleans, Latin, Country and other genres can also be heard on 1998's Indelibly You, The Mennonite (2001), Shortest Day (2004) and Almost Home (2008). Just a Closer Walk, similarly, stokes the long tradition of a gospel influence in jazz while adding some twists of Birkey's own devising. Jazz classics with a gospel pedigree include the opener "Cristo Redentor," the Duke Pearson tune made famous by trumpeter Donald Byrd. A New Orleans 'Second Line' groove percolates on his arrangement of "What a Friend We Have in Jesus," while a brass chorale effect lends a hushed, spiritualized glow to the 19th century hymn "O Sacred Head, Now Wounded" - one of the favorite hymns of Birkey's mother back in his childhood home in Evergreen, Colorado. That brief, sanctuary-suitable track segues gracefully into the title hymn, "Just a Closer Walk with Thee," given a natural jazz cred and improvisatory flex by the quintet. The album closes with a nod to the great African-American spirituals repertoire, "Soon Ah Will Be Done," by which time we're true believers in the project's musical mission, regardless of one's link to the religious affiliations involved. Just a Closer Walk is another strong addition to a fascinating discography and musical adventure in progress for Birkey.

1.1 Cristo Redentor
1.2 What a Friend We Have in Jesus
1.3 And Can It Be
1.4 His Eye Is on the Sparrow
1.5 If Thou But Suffer God to Guide Thee
1.6 O Sacred Head, Now Wounded
1.7 Just a Closer Walk with Thee
1.8 Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus
1.9 The Deacon
1.10 Soon Ah Will Be Done

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