Philip Wigfall - Cosmic Soul

Perseverance followed by nurturing influences were the guiding vehicle for saxophonist Philip Wigfall to apprehend his life long of producing and recording his debut record titled “Cosmic Soul” 2000. According to Philip’s bio his music is described as being “A mixture of 80's Miles Davis, Weather Report, and traditional jazz with a side order of R&B Hip Hop for extra flavor. These elements combined create a soundscape that takes the listener on an electric, funk-driven, metaphoric journey”… One of Philip’s most valued influences occurred in 1985 after hearing saxophonist Kenny Garrett for the first time at the Village Vanguard in New York. Intrigued by Garrett’s performance and diversity Philip begin to realize the importance of what Kenny was saying musically, therefore encouraging Wigfall to become more “flexible and open-minded as a musician”.  

The players: Philip Wigfall plays alto, and soprano saxophones, keyboards, drum and percussion programming. Michael Winslow and Gregg Neer trumpet, Darren Kramer trombone, Stepfan Karlson piano, Jerome Lopez & Brian Monroney guitars, Myriam Santucci cello, Rochon Westmoreland plays bass, Miguel Alvarado percussion, Eddie Garcia drums DJ Rob additional programming.  

At a first glance the opener “Sextant”, immediately reminded me of Herbie Hancock in theory. Once I heard “Sextant” the first note revealed that I no longer agree with my original assessment however, Philip’s opener reflects a prelude too a quite storm, a theme song or a “Mariners Tool” as Philip suggests. Ironically, the second track leads you into another dimension compositionally with “Kinetic”.  This powerful piece envelopes you immediately with intoxicating rhythms and crisp horns by Wigfall, Winslow, Neer and Kramer, thumping bass licks in the higher octave by Rochon Westmoreland followed by the piano wizardry of Stefan Karlson as he invades “Kinetic” with the ultimate underlying melody making this track memorable. 

“Critical Mass” drops in at the third slot with another funky groove filled masterpiece with devastating interplay by some the funkiest players in Las Vegas or anywhere for that matter. Philip describes the title “as the greatest and deadliest scientific discovery in human history, the atomic bomb”.  The intensity of this composition provides a whirlwind like effect that draws from within the core of this musical concept makes, “Critical Mass” down right breathtaking funk that moves you into the next hemisphere. 

Philip’s fashionable compositional skills dressed in funkiest form continue to resonate this sequence of events with a track called “Spherical”. Wigfall’s admirable musical stylings and grooves elevates without blunder championed by this talented cast of incredible musicians assuring us that enforcing the rule of the groove has its dividends. 

“Eyes of the Alchemist” is a tune decided to Wayne Shorter’s wife and niece in remembrance of their passing after the fall of TWA Flight 800. This dedication truly exemplifies Philip’s love and passion for Shorter the musician and spiritual friend.   

At the sixth comes the title cut “Cosmic Soul”, this mid-tempo number that resembles Philip’s “fascination with astronomy”, the muted trumpet rumbles focused tonality at it’s best by Winslow, as Philip probing sax explores the ecstasy of the renown spirit of the groove that makes the titled track well worth a revisit. 

“Zero Gravity” is a transitional tune on the recording; a prelude that doesn’t shy away from the hipness of Wigfall’s atoning attributes as a saxophonist (Philip describes it as an interlude that ties two parts together). 

Straight out of the woodshed, Philip drops another chart stopper with “The Lotus Eaters”. This contagious hip-hop groove accented by Middle Eastern and Indian flavored jewel laced with turbo charged bass slapping licks by Westmoreland and killer circular saxophone exploits by Wigfall makes this a pleasurable masterpiece to embrace.     

“Fall From Grace” is a ballad. Philip charms you with haunting melodies, and mind-blowing solos executing without flaw anointing him as the newly crown prince of contemporary jazz alto horn.   

At the tenth spot we have “Lost”, according too Wigfall “Lost symbolizes the separation between God and man. Philip says that he composed the tune in a way that makes the saxophone part sound isolated and calling out for help”. The surreal beauty of “Lost” speaks with immeasurable atoning quality leaving you in awe longing for more!  

“Event Horizon” is the final selection on ‘Cosmic Soul’, comprised by Wigfall. Professor Stephen Hawkins inspired this track, Philip indicates that, “the title itself symbolizes entry into the unknown”. Event Horizon is yet another powerful composition that exhibits exhausting tonality and intriguing interplay by Wigfall and his bandmates “Cosmic Soul” derives from a cauldron of riveting compositions delivered by Philip Wigfall.  

Beware, “Cosmic Soul” is bona fide non-cosmetic jazz at it’s very best, complimented by an array of unfaultable influences making this record a must for serious contemporary jazz lovers everywhere!  Thanks to my friend in jazz from Las Vegas for singing praises about this fabulous musician named Philip Wigfall, therefore your love for jazz is very much appreciated. What’s most appealing about Philip Wigfall? His compositions and production skills are creative, aggressive and explorer of meaningful contemporary jazz without vocals, preservatives or additives makes his music a winner. There’s absolutely nothing commercial about “Cosmic Soul”, Philip Wigfall is indeed true too the music and proving naysayers wrong every step of the way.