Zack Foley – Silent Boomer X

Zack Foley – Silent Boomer X

July 7, 2024

Zack Foley – Voice
Frank Wagner – Bass
C.J. Everett – Drums

Joined by bassist Frank Wagner and drummer C.J. Everett, adventurous vocalist Zack Foley turns his attention to standards in an economical chord-less trio configuration on his third outing as a leader, Silent Boomer X, available from Jazzheads.On Silent Boomer X, Foley goes all-in on standard repertoire but in a non-standard way, departing from the conventional “crooner” sound and letting his tenor voice play a role traditionally filled by the saxophone. In that vein, Zack aspires to link the improvising vocal lineage of Betty Carter, Chet Baker and Sheila Jordan, with the refined lyricism of saxophonists Don Byas and Lester Young. Delivering one exemplary scat solo after another on Silent Boomer X, Foley takes up that mantle, proving himself a poised improviser with excellent time and taste.

The title Silent Boomer X is a nod to the band’s generational spread: Everett was born in the ’40s (so-called Silent Generation), Wagner in the ’60s and Foley in the ’70s. The outcome is a joyful and timeless interpretation of music primarily composed in the first half of the 20th century. Foley’s vocal style is rhythmically vibrant yet relaxed and decidedly un-showy. In the absence of a chordal instrument, there is space for the rhythm section to breathe and respond, with Wagner’s warm bass sound shining as he turns in one fine solo after the next. Everett commits himself to playing brushes throughout, embodying an authentic expression of jazz rhythm of the past and present, while moving vocal jazz improvisation toward a new future.

Currently based in San Antonio, Texas, Foley lived and worked in New York until 2020. (He grew up in Houston.) “I loved Frank Sinatra and Harry Connick Jr. when I was 12 or 13,” he recalls. “Then I got into instrumental jazz, and for decades my heart has been in instrumental music. I wanted to get closer to the sound of saxophone-based trio music, which I adore. Sonny Rollins Trio, Chris Speed Trio, Maria Grand Trio: I love the openness of that sound. It always feels right.”

Foley also takes the liberty of updating topical lyrics, making the songs fresh for the 2020s. There are several instances of this, better to be left as Easter eggs for the listener to discover. It’s another great way that Foley engages with the tradition, resulting in a fresh and pertinent take on vocal jazz in our time.

Release Date: Friday, August 23rd 2024