Guitarist Corey Christiansen's early days recording for Seattle's Origin Records featured a pair of superb organ jazz recordings, Roll with it (2008) and Outlaw Tractor (2010). A versatile player, the guitarist expanded his vision with his "American West" set Lone Prairie (Origin Records, 2013), in addition to his "avant cowboy/surf rock band" on Factory Girl (Origin Records, 2016).
Throughout Christiansen's eight Origin Records releases, with all their shifts and thematic changes, the music has held firmly to its American music sound. With La Proxima, he takes his vision into the realm of Afro-Cuban grooves, juiced up with a shot of modern jazz.
The band's sound is a tight and polished percolation—a quartet comprising guitar, bass, drums and an added percussionist. Danceable grooves pervade it. Sometimes Christiansen soars into the stratosphere—he does that in all of his albums. And, as often as not, settles into stinging, succinct single note forays, in the embrace here of the bubble and pop of the rhythms of Africa, served up after the marination in the Caribbean.
In some respects La Proxima can be compared to pianist Herbie Hancock's Inventions & Dimensions (Blue Note, 1964), an exploration of the Latin sound, and an overlooked bit of his extensive discography which has stood the test of time as well as what are considered his best works.
The vision is focused sharply on La Proxima, with a near Zen-like immersion in the Afro-Cuban moods, enhanced with the sound of a quintessentially American guitar.