Tuesday, July 15, 2014

New Releases: Javon Jackson - Expression; Louis Hayes - Return Of The Jazz Communicators; Vincent Herring - The Uptown Shuffle

One of the best Javon Jackson albums we've heard in years – a great live session that really gets back to basics, and reminds what a hell of a soloist Jackson is on tenor! The group's got a sharp, soulful feel right from the start – thanks to wonderful piano from Orrin Evans, who manages to bring all these creative touches to the music, but all without ever losing his swing – a swing that's driven strongly by Corcoran Holt on bass and McClenty Hunter on drums. Jackson's tenor is the real star of the show, but clearly gets great inspiration from the creative phrasing of Evans – and the pair soar together wonderfully on tunes that include "Richards RAP", "Lelia", "88 Strong", "Think On Me", "TJ", "Mr Taylor", and a great version of Wayne Shorter's "One By One". ~ Dusty Groove


Drummer Louis Hayes always finds a way of working with great groups – and here he's got an especially well-chosen lineup with Abraham Burton on tenor and Steve Nelson on vibes! Both players ring out with this strongly soulful vibe that's clearly inspired by the leader – Burton's very deep tones a perfect complement to some of the sharper, more modern lines from Nelson – driven strongly by the work of David Bryant on piano and the excellent Dezron Douglas on bass. Hayes' power can be felt strongly, even in mellower moments – and Nelson's oft-percussive approach to his tones makes for an excellent choice for the group. Titles include "Shape Shifting", "Groovin For Nat", "Soul Leo", "Simple Pleasures", "Vagabond Ron", and "Lou's Idea".  ~ Dusty Groove


A strong, soulful set from alto saxophonist Vincent Herring – of the sort he always seemed to get on earlier recordings, but which he hardly ever hits this well these days! The album's got a no-nonsense quality that really brings out the best in Vincent's horn – with a rock-solid rhythm section that features Cyrus Chestnut on piano, with Brandi Disterheft on bass and Joe Farnsworth on drums – all driving things with a nicely romping sensibility, in ways that push the richest, most soulful elements from Herring's horn – those almost tenor-like bits of phrasing we love so much when he's at his best. Tracks are relatively long – as befits the well-recorded live setting of these Smoke Sessions albums – and titles include "Elation", "Uptown Shuffle", "The Atholete", "Don't Let It Go", "Big Bertha", and "Tenderly". ~ Dusty Groove

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