by Stamish Malcuss
Kevin Quinn has spent many hours behind the scenes sound engineering at ShapeShifter Lab in Brooklyn, NY. This experience has afforded him the opportunity to work with such notable artists as: Aaron Parks, David Savitsky, Rachel Therrien, Dean Sharp, Sean Wayland, Andrew Atkinson, Mark Ferber, Ira Coleman, and more. Quinn began his journey on guitar at eighteen, furthering his education at State University of New York at New Paltz. Quinn pursued an interest in jazz while obtaining his bachelor’s degree in Jazz Studies. On his debut album Paramedic, Quinn who is featured on guitar is joined by Mark Dziuba on guitar, Dave Savitsky on alto sax, Ira Coleman on bass and Jeff “Siege” Siegel on drums.
Opening the album is “Final Fantasy,” a Quinn original that is dedicated to his late brother who lost his life in 2010. With a swinging waltz feel, the melody is built on a strong motif that is developed through the form. Quinn’s writing style is no-nonsense, resulting in a tune that has a strong chord progression with a sing-able melody and clear form. The ensemble creates a wonderful sound space, Coleman and Siegel have a chemistry that is energetic, but never rushed. Quinn’s guitar solo is a further testament to his non-nonsense approach to jazz. He keeps his melodic ideas focused with strong resolutions, his time is clear, and his tone is warm. Dziuba’s solo is equally interesting, his approach is also clear and musical, but with more activity. The result is a track that has a nice musical arch, and the two-guitarist share a common language that makes the tune work beautifully.
The album closes with the title track, another original by Quinn. This track is dedicated to Quinn’s father, who selflessly gave his life to save others from the World Trade Center on 9/11/01. The song’s intro is set up by Coleman and Siegel, again the chemistry is evident. “Paramedic” is an outstanding composition. The melody is unforgettable, the form has multiple sections and the feel changes throughout the form add interest. Quinn still maintains his ability to be musically clear, even when the composition has more twist and turns. Dziuba’s solo has a balanced mixture of chords and active single note movement. Savitsky’s alto saxophone solo is melodic and builds the energy. Quinn’s soloing is again based in developing and exploration of motifs through the changes. His tone takes on a little more edge as he digs in for bluesier sections of the solo, building the energy and emphasizing the statement. Savitsky and Quinn’s trading phrases at the end of the track is inspired.
Though a debut offering, Quinn’s maturity of playing exhibits great clarity and depth. Rounded out by a stellar cast of supporting musicians Paramedic is a notable listen.