All About Jazz

Home » Musicians » Jack West

Jack West Jack West

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. If the title of his record, Big Ideas, suggests that this is heady music, 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 Bay Area-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.”

Deeper still, West says that these musical ideas are directly related to his personal experiences. “All of my tunes are about something that's going on in my life. The music for me is my way of processing and interpreting the world around me. Everything that goes in, comes back out in my music— either in the form of a fixed composition or just an improvised solo.”

Read more

Tags

Album Review
Read more articles
”[Big Ideas is] a remarkable outing of cool curves, gently sloping musical parabolas, and wondorous bends in compositional structure. With rhythm at the fore West offers unusual sound colors, fluid slide work, and percussive attack” - Down Beat

“Stunning...one of the more interesting releases of the new year” - JazzWest

“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

“brilliant original compositions” (Contra Costa Times)

“sounds like something never heard before” (Oakland Tribune)

“astounding rhythmic dexterity and unorthodox technique” (SJ Mercury News

“immediately accessible, owing to West's beguiling melodic sensibility and his absorbing percussive attack” (SF Bay Guardian)

“tight arrangements, musical use of odd-time signatures and polyrhythms, and engaging, intricate melodies” (Electronic Musician)

“A whole new sub-genre of jazz” - National Public Radio, Perspectives in Jazz

“Hauntingly beautiful” - East Bay Express

“The interplay [between West and marimbist Joel Davel] is the kind of thing that makes listeners go gaga!” - SF Weekly

“Curvature explores an original, rhythmically astute amalgam of blues, jazz, funk, and folk

Read more

Photos

Albums

Album Around About Now by Jack West

Around About Now

Ahead Behind Music
2003

buy
 

Big Ideas

Ahead Behind Music
2001

buy
Album Big Ideas by Jack West

Big Ideas

Ahead Behind Music
2000

buy
Album As We Know It by Jack West

As We Know It

Ahead Behind Music
1999

buy
Album Big Comet Headed for Earth by Jack West

Big Comet Headed for...

Ahead Behind Music
1998

buy
Album Continuum by Jack West

Continuum

Ahead Behind Music
1996

buy
Big Ideas

Big Ideas

Jack West
Big Ideas

Similar

Shop Amazon

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.