Seattle-based saxophonist Neil Welch represents a new breed of young players who thrive in today's eclectic musical atmosphere. With one foot rooted in the tradition of those who have preceded him (one can't mistake the influence of John Coltrane and Pharaoh Sanders in Welch's playing), Welch forges ahead creatively, drawing from diverse influences, under the umbrella of improvised music, with a solid foundation not often found in such a young player.
With his debut release, Narmada, Neil Welch has established himself as a creative force in the Seattle jazz scene. Joining Neil on the album are a number of Seattle's young lions, as well as world-renown sitarist Debi Prasad Chatterjee, and Tor Dietrichson on tablas- who with Neil also comprise the traditional Hindustani ensemble, Nada Brahma. Narmada effortlessly draws from Welch's diverse musical influences with an honesty that accommodates his almost spiritual approach to improvisation. The core of the rhythm section (with Chris Icasiano on drums and Luke Bergman on bass) bring a driving, post-bop approach that underpins Welch's compositions, giving the record fire, shape and unity.
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Every time I get to my mail of a dozen or so CDs a day to open and slip into the player, I pray that there'll be a chestnut like Neil Welch's Narmada awaiting my ears.
- Laurence Donohue-Greene, All About Jazz, New York
Neil Welch solos with really fine, well-developed ideas.
-Gary Mortenson, International Trumpet Guild Magazine