With Coleman's harmolodic theory, jazz took a new direction--in which
harmony, rhythm, and melody assumed equal roles, as did soloists. Ever since Coleman disbanded the original Prime Time Band in 1987, harmolodics has remained an essential element in Nix's growth and personal expression as a jazz guitarist, as evidenced here on Alarms and Excursions--The Bern Nix Trio.
The linear phrasing and orchestral effects of a jazz tradition founded by guitarists Charlie Christian, Grant Green and Wes Montgomery are apparent in Nix's techniques, as well as his clean-toned phrasing and bluesy melodies. Nix harks back to his mentors, but with his witty articulation and rhythmical surprises, he conveys a modernist sensibility. "I paint a mustache on the Mona Lisa," says Nix about his combination of harmolodic andtraditional methods.
Reviews"Nix's sound is absolutely straightahead--a clean jazz guitar tone without any fuzz or rock influence. His approach is entirely tonal, but within the outlines defined by Coleman's concept of 'harmolodics'--Nix's effort to explain this famously nebulous concept in the liner notes isn't much more comprehensible than Coleman's own, but its main point is clear enough: 'All players are simultaneously soloists, as well as accompanists. The idea is to create spontaneous music that is compositional, as well as orchestral in scope.' That last phrase throws me (orchestral??) but the rest describes quite well the feel of the music."