To Journal Square
Saxophonist Russell Kirk delivers an ambitious second album with the release of To Journal Square, and in it he demonstrates the type of musical versatility that master musician Greg Osby looks for when adding artists to his label Inner Circle Music, of which he is now a part.
Russell’s stylish compositions are complex but never over the top. Reminiscent of classic 80’s fusion, his layered Path Suite composition for example, perfectly captures the mood and texture that bespeaks big city life, in four movements, and pays tribute to one of New Jersey’s busiest hubs.
Russell teams with several uniquely gifted artists including the incomparable singer/songwriter Sonya Kitchell who adds her honey soaked voice to Waiting Patiently and local, Baltimore hipster/poet, impresario Eze Jackson, who melds with distinction on the funk inspired Circling and on Who’s in Control.
The pedigree ensemble that joins Kirk on this musical journey, adds lyrical balance to each track and Kirk unselfishly allows them to shine. Among them are Grammy Award-winning jazz drummer/composer Terri Lyne Carrington, fusion guitarist Wayne Krantz, concert & film composer Jacob Yoffee on tenor Saxophone, the extraordinary Dontae Winslow on trumpet/vocals and Cuban export, award-winning keyboardist Aruán Ortiz.
This native son of Baltimore, Maryland – educated at Johns Hopkins University, Peabody Institute, has been developing his lush sound for years, playing with everyone from The Cab Calloway Orchestra to Parliament Funkadelic. His is a fluid sound, strong and sensual is best articulated on The Path Suite No. 2. But throughout this surprisingly bold new album, Kirk shows himself to be a master technician who is always in control - quiet when he has to be and assertive when he needs to be.