Chris West – Surprise Trilogy Vol. 3 Review

It’s hard to believe that this is the 3rd installment of an album as it sounds as fresh and alive as a debut.

Saxaphonist Chris West had a great vision and great personal challenge, when he decided to embark on his journey of creating ‘The Surprise Trilogy’. He could see each album from conception to birth but making each one stand up to the first and to keep coming up with engaging music for the listener would be a challenge – which he throughly succeeded in achieving.

The 3rd volume goes through a range of instrumental Jazz styles from different eras showing off Chris’ deep roots and knowledge in the genre.

From the first to the last track on the album, it’s hard not to be in awe of the range of instruments used and the way in which they’re arranged. Opening up with ‘Surprise 4’ the track comes with just enough chilli sauce to get your jazz-buds tingling and thirstful for more. As the album moves onto ‘Where I got my groove’ you begin to get a taste of Chris’ impressive saxophone skills. The track ‘Summertime’ takes the listener back to the 1950’s cotton picking days and if movie makers ever thought to re-make the movie ‘A Painted House‘ by John Grisham, ‘Summertime’ would make the perfect film score.

There are some awesome pieces of music on this album, look out for ‘That’s all there is to it’ with its breakbeat style, ‘Surprise 5’ which sounds like a remake of ‘That’s all there is to it’ and my personal favorite ‘Origami’!

Origami just seems to sum up the whole history of Jazz for me. It starts off with a blank sheet of Afro-cuban jazz music, the drums and saxophone providing the sound. Within a few folds of the sheet it evolves into smooth Latin Jazz incorporating the flute and piano to create the melody – reflecting the eras, but just when you’re enjoying the ride the next fold of the page turns everything on its head! Entering the jazz fusion era where artists experimented with the rock guitar (see ‘The Abominable Snowmann‘ by Manfred Mann) Chris incorporates this making it almost seem out of sorts, and just when you think the track is over what emerges is a beautiful sound featuring all the styles.

The track ‘Origami’ is clever in that just like the work of Origami what emerges is a beautiful piece of art, each crease and fold significant in achieving the end result.

The ‘Surprise Trilogy Vol. 3’ is a must for all Jazz fans.

For more information on Chris West and to purchase the Trilogy visit

Facebook: Chris West & Twitter: @chriswestmusic

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