Wayne Eagles
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Wayne Eagles

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On the How’s Now? CD:

"Although he was the first instructor to ever teach rock guitar at Carleton University when he joined the music department in 1992, guitarist Wayne Eagles' own music blends a variety of styles including blues and jazz on both electric and acoustic guitar. Last year he released his debut album How's Now?, showcasing Eagles' guitar licks in a style similar to 70s jazz-fusion performers like [the] Gateway Trio and Miles Davis."
Wes Smiderle, "The Eagles Has Landed", Ottawa Citizen, August 23, 2001

"It’s not surprising that [Wayne] Eagles takes a perfectionist’s approach to recording . . . It’s a testament to Eagles’ musicianship that [Dave] Holland gave him the thumbs-up to record ‘How’s Never’ (the third track on How’s Now?). "
John Lytle, Ottawa XPress, May 4, 2000

On Wayne Eagles' musicianship:

"The sweet sounds of jazz wow-ed an audience at Carleton University tonight. The Wayne Eagles Quartet jazzed-up the Alumni Theatre with some choice guitar licks . . . "
CJOH NEWS with Kimothy Walker, April 21, 2001

"The amicable musician's relaxed attitude comes through in [his] smooth chops and easy-going solo work . . . an enjoyable hybrid of rock melodies and jazz riffs . . . spontaneous spirit . . ."
Alex Bustos, Capital City, November 19-25, 1998

"Though the teamwork of the band members is evident in the group vibe, so is individual talent, notably in the intricate, bubbling guitar of Wayne Eagles . . ."
Lynn Saxberg, The Ottawa Citizen, Saturday, May 15, 1996

"Guitarist Wayne Eagles shines . . . and his use of solid tones permeates the album . . ."
Matthew Crosier, Zedd Online, April 1996
- varied


review by Grego Applegate Edwards
Milligan Eagles Project (TetraArtist CD-001)
Mike Milligan - ac. bass, Wayne Eagles - guitar, Billy Kilson - drums

On Milligan-Eagles Project we are offered eight originals and one by Dave Holland in the debut of a musically sophisticated fusion trio. Notable is the combination of Milligan’s big toned, supple bass sound, funky and solidly riffing at times, hauntingly lyrical in other spots, exploratory and free-wheeling in still other moments; Eagles’ centered yet edgy electric guitar—he is fleet of finger and can freely articulate with an advanced harmonic sense while getting various ringingly evocative electric sounds on his guitar; finally there is Kilson’s stylistically diverse drumming, which is all over the kit and furiously in the pocket as required. He from the start seems to revel in the opportunity this trio provides—a chance to play more freely and or more densely than is sometimes the case within the structural concerns of Holland’s larger units. All this makes for a potent, heady program and some of the best fusion I’ve heard in years—by turns rocking, meditative, and out in the ozone. That Milligan has studied with Dave Holland is clear. It is what he does with the knowledge that is so interesting. He shows in his compositions and in his playing a more electrified conception of Holland’s celebrated later style. The tunes throughout are stirring vehicles for a three-way dialogue. Liner notes mention that the trio has been inspired by the Gateway trio sessions and various Lifetime units. That is apparent. Terje Rypdal’s wonderful middle period also comes to mind. Still, the Milligan-Eagles Project manages to mark out its own trail in this well-traveled region. It is one gorgeous CD from start to finish.

© Cadence Magazine 2005. Published by CADNOR Ltd. All rights reserved.
- Cadence Magazine


Milligan-Eagles Project CD Release with Adam Nussbaum
By John Kelman
Theatre of the National Library, Ottawa, Canada, March 3, 2005
With the ink still fresh on their new CD, Milligan-Eagles Project featuring Billy Kilson, double-bassist Mike Milligan and guitarist Wayne Eagles brought their music to a sizable crowd at Ottawa’s National Library on Thursday, March 3, 2005. While the CD features drummer Billy Kilson, ex-member of double-bassist Dave Holland’s Quintet and Big Band, touring commitments with trumpeter Chris Botti made it impossible for him to be on hand for this CD release show. Fortunately, Milligan and Eagles were able to recruit Adam Nussbaum, a drummer who has played with a wide range of artists over the past thirty years, including guitarists John Scofield and John Abercrombie. In fact, Nussbaum’s experience with Scofield’s aggressive power trio of the early 80s and Abercrombie’s organ trio of the early-to-mid-‘90s made him the perfect player to round out this trio which, while clearly leaning towards fusion, does so with the more thoughtful approach of groups like Abercrombie’s Gateway project with Holland and drummer Jack DeJohnette.
With negligible rehearsal time, the trio was surprisingly tight while, at the same time, demonstrating the kind of loose improvisational approach that makes the CD such a treat. Opening up with Milligan’s riff-heavy Skunk Theory, the group set the pace for the whole evening, featuring Eagles’ scorching solos combined with Milligan’s ability to maintain a strong forward motion while, at the same time, being responsive to his surroundings. While the CD was recorded live in the studio with little, if any, in the way of overdubs or editing, clearly being in front of a receptive audience pushed them to explore even further. Eagles peppered carefully considered melodies with rapid-fire and smoothly-executed legato lines a la Allan Holdsworth, with the occasional speed picking thrown in for good measure.
As much a textural player as linear one, Eagles is disposed towards peppering his solos with chord shots and odd sound effects that flesh out the sound of the trio. And, while his playing was more prone to extroverted displays of skill and speed than on the CD, he also demonstrated a light touch and more tender side on Milligan’s ballad, Like Water, which also featured a particularly melodic opening solo by Nussbaum, as did the group’s rendition of Wayne Shorter’s Footprints.
Nussbaum, in fact, combined power, dexterity, groove and melody throughout the show. Soloing over an ostinato during the trio’s take of Holland’s How’s Never, Nussbaum demonstrated just how broad his reach is. While Kilson clearly comes from more of a funk background -- and Nussbaum is certainly capable of stepping up to a groove, as he did on the closing Exit Wounds -- his roots in the tradition are also more evident, making Like Water swing more than it does on record. His ability to divide and subdivide time is nothing short of remarkable and, while he had negligible time to prepare for the show, his ability to navigate the compositions -- in and out of regular meter -- shows just how adaptable he is to any situation.
Milligan is an intriguing bassist, one who combines steady time with a penchant for more free devices during his solos, where unusual chordal passages alternated with abstruse yet melodic lines. He meshed nicely with Nussbaum on a 5/4 interpretation of Miles Davis’ All Blues, with a solo that was both lyrical and adventurous.
And, while the group plainly worked within set structures, they also took some credible risks, in particular during the free improvisation that preceded All Blues. One doesn’t often hear local players tackle completely free playing, but Milligan and Eagles were clearly up to it, with Nussbaum playing a greater role as colourist. And Eagles’ open-ended introduction to Plankton Comes Alive demonstrated that, while his interest may be in looser improvisation, he has a real penchant for more aggressive and effected Hendrix-like rock tones.
To get a close-to-capacity crowd out on a Thursday night for an evening of adventurous improvisation in Ottawa is a rare thing. Certainly there were a number of musicians in the crowd who were attracted to the opportunity of catching Nussbaum in a relaxed and informal setting (and, let’s be honest, it’s not as if he makes it to Ottawa on any kind of regular basis), but the crowd was equally demonstrative towards Eagles and Milligan, with rounds of applause and hoots of appreciation common throughout the 70-minute set.
With Eagles living in Ottawa and Milligan in Toronto, it’s uncertain whether or not this project will become more than a studio project with the occasional live performance, but on this evening a group of appreciative fans were treated to engaging compositions and strong performances from all involved, and a particular treat in Nussbaum, a player who affirmed his reputation for sheer musicalit - All About Jazz


Milligan-Eagles Project featuring Billy Kilson
Milligan-Eagles Project | TetraArtist
Track Listing: Skunk Theory; How's Never; Like Water; Improv 1; Exit Wounds; For the Love of Trains; Zone B; Improv 2; Plankton Comes Alive
Personnel: Mike Milligan (double-bass), Wayne Eagles (guitar), Billy Kilson (drums)

The word “considered” is not something one would usually associate with the fusion genre. All too often fusion players engage in a kind of demonstrative overplay that concerns itself far too much with technical virtuosity and considerably less with plain musicality. While Canadian bassist Mike Milligan and guitarist Wayne Eagles don’t have the same recognition factor as the third member of their trio for this project--drummer Billy Kilson, who has worked with artists including Dave Holland, Chris Botti, and Larry Carlton--they demonstrate a similar concern for the overall shape and complexion of sound. Fusion Milligan-Eagles Project may be, but it’s more the kind of thoughtful fusion of John Abercrombie, Dave Holland, and Jack DeJohnette's Gateway Trio, where space and melody is paramount and instrumental virtuosity, while never in question, remains strictly in service of the material.
Milligan, who contributes three of the nine compositions, has studied with Holland and George Mraz, worked with artists including saxophonist David Binney, pianist Richie Beirach, and Canadian guitar icon Sonny Greenwich, and was the bassist for The Shuffle Demons, a group that gained considerably notoriety in Canada but, sadly, nowhere else. Possessed of a warm tone and unhurried confidence, his writing ranges from the folk-like ambience of Like Water to the more riff-driven funk of Skunk Theory. His opening solo on Exit Wounds demonstrates that he's equally comfortable exploring the free side of things as he is laying down the powerful groove to which the tune eventually evolves.
Eagles may possess the technical prowess to shred with the best of them, but he rarely resorts to pyrotechnics, although his solo on Exit Wounds approaches the kind of power of John McLaughlin, but in a more Holdsworthian legato style. His acoustic work on the tender For the Love of Trains demonstrates a genre-bending approach indicative of the broad range of styles in which he’s worked for the past thirty years as a performer and educator in his hometown of Ottawa. With a tone that ranges from down-and-dirty to warm and clean--in the case of the closer, Plankton Comes Alive, in the space of the same tune--Eagles is equal parts jazzer and psychedelic cruncher.
Kilson’s power was on constant display during his tenure with Holland, and there’s no shortage of it here, including his paradoxically relaxed yet frenetic work on trio’s cover of Holland’s How’s Never. But his more spacious and delicate work on For the Love of Trains is something of a revelation, a side of Kilson that rarely gets to be heard.
As engaging as the composed pieces are, most revealing are the two purely improvised pieces, which demonstrate everyone’s ability to work in a freer context. Improvisation 1, in particular, is equal parts soundscape and open exchange.
For fans of fusion with forethought and a liberal dose of unencumbered free thinking, Milligan-Eagles Project featuring Billy Kilson is just what the doctor ordered.
Visit Milligan-Eagles Project, Wayne Eagles, Mike Milligan and Billy Kilson on the web.
~ John Kelman
Source: http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/review_print.php?id=16748
- All About Jazz


Wayne Eagles
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
“Plankton Comes Alive”

Bizarro jazz is not a genre that typically populates my iPod, but I do love being surprised, and Eagles pulls off some truly startling and fascinating mojo shifts on this track. Even more impressive, he shanks, shreds, and sizzles without letting the heady stuff overwhelm the tune’s butt-nasty groove.
myspace.com/wayneeagles - Guitar Player


…Eagles’ blend of rock, funk and jazz spits and swings in ways likely to win converts across the spectrum. His style and sound owe something to Frank Zappa, John Scofield and early-70s John McLaughlin, but Eagles has developed a vibe of his own that gives the album its finest moments. He’s at his best on "Exit Wounds", on which his searing guitar and Kilson’s pounding drums engage in an exhilarating dialogue over Milligan’s throbbing bass. Eagles’ greasy funk on Dave Holland’s "How’s Never", his sci-fi distortion on the self-penned "Plankton Comes Alive!" And his ringing acoustic work on "For the Love of Trains" are also worthy of praise…
Doug Fischer, "Recordings", Ottawa Citizen, February 26, 2005 - Ottawa Citizen


Review from the OTTAWA CITIZEN by Wes Smiderle
"Recordings - Ottawa Scene", Saturday February 16 2002, p. I4
How's Now? - Wayne Eagles (Carleton Sound)
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

A play on the tune "How's Never" by jazz bassist Dave Holland, How's Now? is a fluid and sometimes frenetic jazz-rock album by Carleton University guitar instructor Wayne Eagles. The disc features a cover of the Holland song, along with equally slippery, whimsical riffs on original material like "Hagglin'" and "B.C-ing-ya". Eagles has taught at Carleton for almost a decade and was the first guitarist to teach rock guitar in a Canadian university. The breadth of his ability is clearly evident on this disc as he turns on a dime from the funk-based rhythms of "What You Need" to the more esoteric, atmospheric ditties. How's Now? Also features a variety of excellent guest musicians, including bassists Brian Eagles (who also sings) and Mike Milligan, sax player Rob Frayne and drummers Lorne Kelly and T. Bruce Wittet. - Ottawa Citizen


Review from MUZIK ETC by Halley Southgate
The magazine for Canadian musicians, Nov-Dec 2001, p. 52
How's Now? - Wayne Eagles (Carleton Sound)
W. Eagles, guitar; M. Bussiere, keyboards; B. Eagles, vocals, bass; R. Frayne, saxophone; L. Kelly, drums; B. Wittet, drums; M. Milligan, bass; M. Parizeau, percussion.

The title of Ottawa guitarist Wayne Eagles' debut release is a play on the Dave Holland tune, "How's Never", covered herein. On that tune, as ragged and rocky as Holland is jazzy, Eagles displays a fine melodic sense. A guitarist of great improvisational facility, he leans towards the romantic and wistful yet isn't afraid to take it way out fearlessly - for example, on "How's Never". Mike Milligan stamps his personality all over this album, playing upright when others go electric. Great performances by vocalist Brian Eagles and the ever-solid Lorne Kelly. In what turns out to be a melange of styles, "B.C-ing-ya" stands as a song that could survive another take and triumph as a fusion jazz standard. - Muzik Etc.


Local quintet to pay tribute to Miles Davis

by Andrea Poncia
Fulcrum Contributor.

Bitches Brew, the Miles Davis album that popularized the method of combining musical styles, techniques and people into one distinct genre (often called jazz fusion), is a musical milestone.

On Oct. 27, the Bayou Jazz and Blues Club will see five musicians pay tribute to that album and its era.

The quintet is made up of five experienced musicians with mixed backgrounds. Wayne Eagles, Rob Frayne and Clyde Forsberg are educators and musicians, Bruce Wittet is a musician and journalist for Modern Drummer and Canadian Muzik and Mike Milligan is a jazz musician who has played in the Montreal circuit for years.

For Eagles, the decision to do the tribute concert was a simple one.

"These were some of the band members' earliest jazz records," said Eagles. "And they continue to have an influence on their playing."

For those new to the jazz scene, this concert should provide a good opportunity to jump in. It will feature the music of many of the most influential artists in modern jazz history.

Frayne, who has been doing the tributes for years, picks his favorite players to sit in at the concerts, which revisit the material that continues to have an impact on music today. As such, the quintet is made up of musicians who have played in bands like Chelsea Bridge and The Shuffle Demons. Many of them have also produced their own albums and have participated in similar tributes in the past.

The concert promises to feature arrangements of songs from the Davis albums In a Silent Way, Bitches Brew and A Tribute to Jack Johnson. There will also be spontaneous improvisations, which will incorporate the experiences and people that have influenced the five musicians throughout their careers.

"By improvising and having musical relationships with other musicians, you learn about your strengths and weaknesses as a player and you become open to inspiration," said Eagles. "You learn about yourself."

Eagles continued by stating that when jazz musicians come together, they can connect in a way that leads to cohesive improvisation and many interesting surprises, especially when the group has played together and known each other for years. This familiarity also contributes to an atmosphere very similar to an open jam session among friends.

Eagles claims that this almost telepathic bond between musicians is a big part of improvised music's appeal.

It should be noted that the Bayou Jazz and Blues Club has a tendency to fill up fast. Consequently, newcomers should drop in early, as jazz fans will pour in to hear the music that changed the genre forever.

The Bitches Brew-era tribute concert takes place at the Bayou Jazz and Blues Club, on Friday Oct. 27, at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 at the door. For more information call 738-1709

Taken from: The Fulcrum (University of Ottawa Student Newspaper), Vol. 62, Issue no. 9, October 25 2001 - The Fulcrum


Discography

Milligan-Eagles Project w/ Billy Kilson
(TetraArtist CD-001, 2005)

Wayne Eagles - How's Now? (Carleton Sound CSCD-1005, 2000)

Soul Finger - The Buddha of External Sexual Pleasure (1996)

Photos

Bio

There must be something in the Canadian water as one more fine guitarist joins an already impressive list of great musicians, north of the border.
Audiophile Imports, Jazz & Fusion CD’s (Maryland, US)

As any who has followed guitarist Wayne Eagles’ career will give testament to, Wayne has always thought globally but acted locally. Based in Ottawa, Canada, Wayne has performed and recorded both as leader and sideman, executing a variety of musical styles within diverse ensembles over the past thirty years. Twenty of these he has spent teaching, both privately and at Carleton University. In fact, Wayne Eagles is credited as being the first rock guitar teacher at a Canadian University, where he acquired a Bachelor of Arts (Honors) in music and a Masters Degree.

The first to admit that his playing informs his teaching, Wayne works with a dazzling array of local and internationally known artists. In addition, he often plays on unique gear, manufactured and or customized to his specifications. Wayne endorses other companies he feels are doing it right, including G&L Guitars, VHT Amplifiers, DiMarzio Pickups, Eminence Speakers, and John Pearse Strings.

While maintaining a busy private music-teaching schedule, Wayne still finds time to do independent concert promotion. From June 1993 until April 2002 Wayne has acted as Concert Manager for the Carleton University Committee on Cultural Activities. Among the events Wayne has promoted are performances and clinics with local as well as international artists including The Dave Holland Quintet, The Mike Stern Band, and The Dave Weckl Band, this in addition to numerous Ottawa area bands.

Wayne Eagles is the recipient of grants from The Canada Council, numerous radio stations, and various provincial and regional funding bodies. His vast performance history includes appearances at various Canadian Jazz and Blues festivals, university music showcases, numerous television appearances, and extensive club work. For these he draws upon influences as varied as Jan Akkerman, John Abercrombie, Allan Holdsworth, Bill Connors, John McLaughlin, Ollie Halsall, Lenny Breau, and Jimi Hendrix.

Current projects include: Eagles/Wittet, a guitar/drums duo; the jam band 3 Jimmys; and, a proposed ensemble with Adam Nussbaum (John Scofield, Steve Swallow, Dave Liebman).

Recent recordings include Milligan-Eagles Project with bassist Mike Milligan (Shuffle Demons) and drummer Billy Kilson (Dave Holland, Larry Carlton, Chris Botti).

Past projects include the Bitches Brew Tribute Band, the jazz-rock jam band CHUNGA, and Moe Tongue, a blues-rock and funk band. Eagles’ first CD release was entitled How’s Now? (Carleton Sound, 2000). About that album, Muzik Etc. magazine states: “Eagles displays a fine melodic sense. A guitarist of great improvisational facility, he leans towards the romantic and wistful yet isn’t afraid to take it way out fearlessly….”

Among Wayne’s most exciting recorded work is his trio featuring internationally renowned jazz drummer Billy Kilson (the Dave Holland Quintet) and virtuoso double bassist Mike Milligan, the latter a longtime collaborator with Eagles. Milligan-Eagles Project featuring Billy Kilson certainly helped establish Eagles worldwide as an artist to be reckoned with, and one who is apt to contrast languid long tones with abrupt exclamations.

Equally conversant in romantic ballads and what they used to call “free jazz” excursions, Eagles has a large palette of sonic textures, colors, and techniques from which to draw upon. He can lay waiting in the weeds, contributing understated and inventive lines, or he can stand forth aggressively and, dare we say it, rock!

Few guitarists are blessed with the good judgment to know the precise times to exercise.