Jack West & Curvature | Around About Now

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United States - California - SF

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Jazz: Jazz Fusion Rock: Jam-band Moods: Featuring Guitar
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Around About Now

by Jack West & Curvature

All original compositions with odd time signatures & polyrhythms, engaging melodies, funky grooves, & soulful jazz-jam improv by virtuosic quartet.
Genre: Jazz: Jazz Fusion
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Backwards Over Bend
7:44 $0.99
2. Deliverance
6:38 $0.99
3. Balance Like This
8:53 $0.99
4. Conversation #3
7:52 $0.99
5. What Next To What?
8:19 $0.99
6. Not What You Think
7:18 $0.99
7. Christina's Song
4:20 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
"stunning...fuses bebop-inspired jazz, folk, and a jam band attitude into an irresistibly cool, intriguingly textured style." - Acoustic Guitar Magazine, July 2003

"Remarkable, unusual, wondrous!" - Down Beat

"...West's unorthodox approach always breathes deep with originality" - Creative Loafing, Atlanta

Curvature's new release, Around About Now, is a dynamic collection of smokin' tunes - definitely Curvature at their most gregarious. Produced by Jack West with generous assistance from Lee Townsend, Curvature's fifth CD showcases seven of West's new compositions presented by the ensemble on unusual and wonderful instrumentation. Around About Now integrates West's unique take on acoustic jazz and blues with elements of country, electronic music, hip/hop and gospel brought in by the ensemble. Featuring Jack West on 8-string acoustic guitar, Joel Davel on electronic marimba, David Phillips on 14-string pedal steel, and drummer Darian Gray. These world-class musicians have developed masterful improvisational techniques and tight ensemble timing.

Although West is hesitant to categorize his music, he defines it as "modern American music by a musician from Georgia that's living in the diverse cultural landscape of California." Residing in the San Francisco Bay Area has allowed Jack to experiment with unusual combinations of instruments that give shape to his compositions and have helped him develop his style. It has also given him a chance to work with a slew of top Bay Area artists: Mike Marshall, Calder Spanier (formerly with Charlie Hunter Quartet), Scott Amendola, Jon Evans, George Brooks (Zakir Hussain's Rhythm Experience), Jenny Scheinman, Mark Summer (Turtle Island String Quartet), and many others.

Make no mistake, Jack West is on the path less taken. It's not only that he plays the eight-string acoustic guitar, a unique instrument that he had specially constructed while searching for the sounds he had been hearing in his mind. West is a musician dedicated to exploring uncharted territory, mapping stunning, minutely detailed soundscapes that feel uncannily familiar and yet completely fresh. This is heady music and there is a rigorous sense of structure to many of West's tunes. But in the fine-grained textures he creates with his quartet, there's also an intuitive sense of interplay and generosity of spirit found in the finest jazz ensembles.

"My main goal as a writer has always been to try and create music that sounds like something I haven't heard," says the Oakland-based guitarist. "For me, song writing is usually a process of following. I never sit down to intentionally write a tune-I just start to play, then as new ideas happen, I try to follow the ones that surprise me...the ones that don't sound like anything I've ever heard before."

A mostly self-taught musician, West, 35, grew up in Savannah, Georgia and moved to California for college. After 7 years of playing mostly original rock, blues, and Afropop, he decided to work in an acoustic vein. Even before he hired Santa Cruz guitar-maker Jeff Traugott to build his eight-string instrument, West had developed a highly personal sound using unusual tunings and a dazzling combination of bluesy slide work, finger-picking, and unorthodox percussive techniques. The extra strings, a low A and a high A, have enabled West to further expand his bag of tricks, for instance slapping a percussive line on the extra bass string while simultaneously playing slide or creating screaming-high octave slide runs with his first and third strings.

West's innovative yet accessible compositions combined with Curvature's dynamic concert performances are rapidly creating a buzz on both coasts. Though he may be an artist with big ideas, there's nothing academic about Curvature's sound. West's music is as emotionally vibrant and pulsing with life as any being created today. And his rapidly growing fan base in the jazz, acoustic, and jam communities is a testament to the timeless appeal of the curved musical reflections of this honest and talented rising star.

"A whole new sub-genre of jazz" - National Public Radio

"...sounds like something never heard before...nothing short of astounding!"- Oakland Tribune

"Curvature explores an original, rhythmically astute amalgam of blues, jazz, funk, and folk. Although complex in terms of time signatures and improvisations, Curvature's music is immediately accessible, owing to West's beguiling melodic sensibility and his absorbing percussive attack." - SF Bay Guardian

"serious talent...serious ideas...a technically gifted guitarist determined to create a sound and a grove that's totally out of bounds from most of the formulaic jam band music..."- Flagpole, Athens

"Jack West is not only a fine musician, but he has an original approach and sounds like no one else. To my mind, that is one of the most important qualities that a musician can possess." - Lee Townsend

"Bold, boundless exploration...seamless ensemble give and take...West's fluid, innovative guitar stylings are matched in daring and virtuosity by the contributions of his sidemen. By all means, expect the unexpected." - Pacific Sun.

"Jack West negotiates surprising twists and turns and attains boggling musical heights...remarkable." - SF Bay Guardian.

"...unique and enchanting...otherworldly..." - Connect Savannah

"Hauntingly beautiful...gorgeous, tightly structured compositions built on shifting rhythmic patterns...extraordinary!" - East Bay Express

"Jack West snaps & slides out mellow, woody jazz compositions that are both technically improbable and sonically impressive...his unorthodox approach always breathes deep with originality." - Creative Loafing, Atlanta

"[Big Ideas is] a remarkable outing of cool curves, gently sloping musical parabolas, & wondrous bends in compositional structure. With rhythm at the fore West offers unusual sound colors, fluid slide work, & percussive attack" - Down Beat



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When I listen to Jack's music, its when I want to take a journey through places of my psyche that are gratefully touched and evoked. Whether I am driving, cooking, dancing in my kitchen, just sitting...I revisit his music often as each recording has such incredible depth, color, and beauty, it is always compelling and satisfying.


Totally original, absolutely smoking, virtuosic ensemble playing. Beyond jazz, this music is fresh, dynamic with heavy groves and odd-time signatures. Soulful 8-string acoustic guitar with pedal steel. Highly recommended!


If you want to hear a contemporary jazz ensemble with a unique sound, this cd is a good place to start. Jack West's strong sense of rhythm and his excellent compositions provide a great vehicle for the inventive soloists in this ensemble. West's beautiful acoustic guitar tone in tandem with percussion and steel guitar make for a very appealing sound. I've owned this cd for three years and it still sounds fresh. Recommended!