Monday, August 17, 2009

Ron Horton - It's a Gadget World (Abeat, 2009)

This interesting trans-Atlantic collaboration came about when trumpeter Ron Horton met pianist Antonio Zambrini during an Italian tour in 2005. Coming together with bassist Ben Allison and drummer Tony Moreno, they develop a fine album of modern hard-bop. Opening with his ode to the fast paced, on the go lifestyle that people take part in today "It's a Gadget World" is an edgy fast paced beginning to the album. Horton's rich creamy tone on trumpet and flugelhorn and the pianists lush chording give the music an emotional and at times romantic feel. This is especially true of "Waiting for That" where the pianist gets room for a lengthy and full solo followed by Horton's clarion and brassy tone, coming forth like a call to arms. "Shorter" is presumably dedicated to the great Mr. Wayne, and contains some of the obtuse complexity in the band's improvisation that made his compositions beloved by jazz musicians. Horton takes the lead with a clear and punchy trumpet solo. "9x9" composed by Paul Motian is more emotional and darker composition, with the musicians using deeper musical hues in the development of their improvisations. Dark deep classically inspired soloing by Zambrini propels this moody and enigmatic piece along. "Toeing the Line" is a mid tempo performance with a fine Horton solo. Ben Allison's thick supple bass playing underpins "Old West" providing excellent support to a sharp and bright trumpet solo. Originally written for a group of five trumpets plus rhythm, Horton adapted "Chorale" into a spare an haunting performance with his naked sounding and unadorned trumpet at the center. "Laverne" is a nice Andrew Hill composition, with a fine bass interlude for Allison, and fine trading of phrases between Horton and Moreno. This is a patient and thoughtful album of mainstream jazz which is quite accessible and enjoyable. Trumpet partisans in particular shouldn't sleep on this as Horton's agile playing is a joy to hear.
It's a Gadget World -

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