Nick Colionne | The Journey

Nick Colionne - The Journey

Nick Colionne | The Journey
Trippin’ N Rhythm’
by Peggy Oliver

Nick Colionne is considered by many of the media and his peers as one of the snappiest dressers in the jazz world today. Yet despite this glowing fashion statement, Colionne’s talents are unquestionable, birthed in the fruitful musical history of his hometown of Chicago while learning his guitar licks since age 9 from his stepfather. Though this guitar whiz has hung his hat in the contemporary jazz market, this Wayman Tisdale Humanitarian Award winner is a more than well-versed musician who has played with The Staple Singers and Natalie Cole, anchored by his strong affection for Wes Montgomery and George Benson. Colionne’s recording resume since the mid-nineties with Lakeshore Jazz, Three Keys and Narada Records is also quite impressive, but it is the jam sessions during his appearances at such prestigious jazz festivals such as Seabreeze and Big Bear. where he fully thrives as a performer.

Currently signed to Trippin’ N’ Rhythm, Colionne’s third CD set, The Journey, features longtime associate and fellow Chicago native keyboardist John Blasucci, Pieces of a Dream’s James Lloyd, veteran producer Chris ‘Big Dog’ Davis and saxophone powerhouse Najee. The title track ushers in The Journey with Colionne’s sweet guitar flows easily alongside those Soul Train-like grooves. One of many tunes off the pen of Davis, “Buckle Up,” intros a familiar voice from the cockpit stating “we are experiencing turbulence,” while Najee fulfills that promise with his soulful saxophone turbulence. A touching dedication to Mr. Colionne, “Uncle Nick,” serves a soft funky appetite of his sweet bluesy guitar. Besides the upbeat tracks on The Journey, Colionne’s sophisticated approach is a shoe in and a must hear for those slow jams.

The James Lloyd composition, “Say What’s On Your Mind,” surrounds Colionne’s guitar with an atmospheric ballad, courtesy of Lloyd’s keys. Although “Just Another Slow Jam” is a bit slow out of the gate, the track moves up a notch when the traditional acoustic piano solo drops in. “On The Move” spotlights another of Colionne’s strengths with shades of contemporary blues, topped with creamy organ fills. The Journey reaches back with “East Evergreen Revisited” – recalling Colionne’s “East Evergreen” from his 1994 release, It’s My Turn. This old-school urban groove laid down by the bass synthesizer focuses on a pure clinic in jazz guitar with his remarkable phrasing and harmonics that carries the seven and a half minute load from beginning to end. Finally, “Closer” leans on an unusual dazzling slow jam hook that reels in the listener with a tasty muted trumpet solo.

Where Colionne truly shines on The Journey is his transforming guitar improvisations that even make a few, too smooth moments, easier to tune out. Yes, Colionne fully dresses the part, however, it is the confidence in his guitar paintings which sincerely counts when all of the notes are played. Four and a half stars out of five.

Peggy Oliver
The Urban Music Scene