…Most of the compositions were written by Gini Wilson and to her credit, the music reflects international influences. SFCJQ begins with a samba, "Amor Un Poco Tragico." Heckman states the melody on soprano sax along with fine piano work from Wilson, understated vocalese from highly regarded jazz vocalist guest Jackie Ryan … "Maybe" … features Heckman's on tenor sax, which he plays most lyrically … "Mussorgsky in Marrakesh from "Pictures At An Exhibition"… where Badr Karram on dumbek and Heckman's soprano provide the sound of a Near Eastern marketplace ... Heckman picks up his tenor sax for a tribute to Oakland, California on "O Town Blues” The result is a toe-tapping quartet performance.
… Jazz is the keyword, to be sure. We reviewed Steve Heckman‘s alto sax, clarinet & flute on this outing and were highly impressed ... They congeal into one of the tightest jazz quartets we’ve heard in a while …"Lucky Monkey" just rocks & jumps! I'm especially fond of (Heckman’s) "O Town Blues", which blends Gini's sweet keyboards with a really full-throat sax sound, & kicks right along ... perfect music for th' road! If you're looking for a jazz album that will take you along for a joyride - GET this one... it's MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for jazz fans th' world over.
Legendary in the Bay Area for her irreverent sense of humor as well as her mix of numerous jazz-related styles …pianist Gini Wilson founded this ensemble with reedsman Steve Heckman in 2002. Effortlessly and beautifully blending the realms of jazz and classical . "Un Amor un Poco Tragico" eases effortlessly from a classical hypnosis to a playful swing vibe …Anchored by Wilson's deft playing and quick-shifting mood swings, SFCJQ continues… with the help of guest vocalist Jackie Ryan and a centerpiece from composer Amandio Cabral ("Suave Duqueza," very much a biography of Wilson both literally and musically). Heckman's playful, strutting "O Town Blues" is good old- fashioned bebop away from the classical tone completely... with a little ingenuity, seemingly disparate musical styles …create perfect harmony.
Is there a more pure, sensual, & tasteful sound than what these (4) great jazz artists create? … the group resonates with a certain innate rhythmic energy & melodic clarity that you can only hear to appreciate. The combined level of inventiveness & virtuosity is manifest in their highly interactive style of melodic technique & control. This is a group that partakes of an organic relationship with each other, while retaining the integral ''sound'' of their musical unit.
5 STARS Ms. Wilson has graced us with another gem ... SFCJQ, displays as much vitality and brilliance as before. Gini "The Duchess" Wilson's talents as a pianist and composer are in full force once again, her style combining virtuosity with an adventurous spirit … a force to be reckoned with, and SFCJQ is sure to become a classic jazz album. Simply superb!
|... An exciting quartet with a connection to classical music as well as an intimacy that requires deliberate use of space. They stroll gracefully through a program of serious delights. Crisp and crystal clear,their interpretations come with variety ... (from) the careful manner of a chamber music quartet (Mussorgsky in Marrakesh) to the casual spirit of cabaret or a downtown swing session (O Town Blues) ... guest vocalist Jackie Ryan's inclusion on the program works wonders. From the heart, SFCJQ lets the music do its talking with impressions that can satisfy any musical need. Jim Santella, Cadence Magazine|
Rating 4 STARS In the spirit of the Modern Jazz Quartet, this ensemble
(SFCJQ) combines great jazz improvisation with the structure and intimacy of a chamber ensemble in the classical tradition…Their panache shapes the 12 originals in a variety of styles. Vocalist Jackie Ryan offers three tunes and sings vocalese in the opener with Heckman on soprano. From ballads to a bossa nova and a jazzy reading of sections of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, this CD presents a stimulating tour d'horizon of the broad spectrum of possibilities in the jazz idiom.