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Artist Pick: “Bright Moments” by Bill Boris

Jonathan Ross

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Jonathan Ross shares, “We all have those albums in our collection which after we hear them, makes us want to go the woodshed and practice afterwards.”

I know there are quite a few in mine, and to this list, I’ve added “Bright Moments” by Bill Boris, his new album on the Mikomi Records label. Bright Moments is a mix of original tunes and standards. This album covers a lot of ground, and still makes a strong, cohesive musical statement.

Bill has always been someone I look up to as a professional. He’s always looking to learn more and improve. To use a saying, do your best and forget the rest. His progress is always positive, and his playing is always evolving and improving through dedicated study and hard work.

Every good bandleader needs a solid backing band, and Bill Boris certainly has that in Dan Chase (Hammond B3, Fender Rhoades) and Tyrone Blair (drums), both longtime veterans of the Chicago Jazz scene with extensive resumes to prove it. The chemistry of the band is undeniable from start to finish.

The album begins with the title track “Bright Moments”, an original by Bill Boris, a high energy start to the album that immediately gives a warm welcome to all of the following tracks on the album. This is immediately followed by a soulful rendition of “I Can’t Help It” by Stevie Wonder. 

There are several outstanding renditions of some classic standards including “My Funny Valentine”, an old evergreen in the Jazz Repertoire. The warm intro slowly turns into a slow funk groove. It just feels good, really good.Bill’s arrangement breathes new life into this old standard. The same is achieved on Dave Brubeck’s “In Your Own Sweet Way” as well as the trio’s inspired take on Benny Golson’s “Stablemates”.

My favorite parts of this album are the funkier, groove-based tunes including “The Fallen Angel”, “You’re the One”, the soaring melody of “Cozumel” and “Number 3”. These are definitely in the bands wheelhouse. Each of these tracks starts off with a hook-laden intro riff that will draw you right in. 

This is a fantastic album from start to finish. Originality oozes from every track. Sometimes it’s not just enough to play a Jazz Standard. Sometimes you have to put a different spin on it, and it was refreshing to hear a band have a new and original take on the standards chosen for this album, especially “My Funny Valentine”.

It seems no matter what this band is playing, there is an immense amount of enjoyment in what they’re doing. You can hear it in the music. The one word that comes to mind when listening to this album is “joy”. There is an intense amount of joy in the playing of the entire trio. This is certainly personified in the playing of Bill Boris. His playing reminds me of Mike Stern, and at times, I hear hints of Pat Martino as well. But his sound is still his own. Again, his playing, as well as the playing of the trio, is joyous. You can hear the difference. The proof is in the music, and no doubt this album will bring joy to you. “Bright Moments” represents some of the best in Chicago Jazz. Pick up a copy today!

You can get your copy here: https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/billboris2

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