Chris Massey leads a slinky outfit through original compositions as well as covers of Henderson and Corea.
In all my googling I could not find a scientific definition of the word galactus, and so I write here with the assumption that Vibrainium, by Chris Massey’s Nue Jazz Project, begins with an ode to Marvel’s eater of planets, foe of the Fantastic Four. As such, the album begins strongly. Following the Art Blakely-esque ten minute, smashing earth-eater that is “Galactus”, come “Smooth,” a Nue Jazz Project composition with more of a downtown, but equally improvisational, vibe. Although those first two tracks are enjoyable, it was difficult not to skip immediately to the third selection, a version of Joe Henderson’s amazing “Inner Urge”. Being a bit of a Henderson fan, I met this frantic piece with hope for some leavened influence and it was there. The Nue Jazz Project takes “Inner Urge” and the Corea track, “Windows”, to effervescent heights. Unfortunately, though the enthusiasm is certainly there, the original compositions are all quite standard in comparison.