Sunday, November 22, 2009

Jon Crowley Quintet - Connections (Jon Crowley Music, 2009)

Continuing the great track record of jazz musicians from Philadelphia, trumpet and flugelhorn player Jon Crowley has moved on to New York, earning his stripes with a wide variety of musicians. His debut album album has the feel and passion of a Blue Note date from the mid 60’s, but is still modern and fresh, not time worn in any way. Crowley is joined by John Beaty on alto saxophone, Yayoi Ikawa on piano, Peter Schwebs on bass and Nick Anderson on drums. “Connections” opens the album with an uptempo, ear-catching melody then a strong fluid saxophone solo backed by propulsive piano trio. The music becomes very exciting as Ikawa’s piano has a full bodied sound, Tyner-ish in its inflections. Crowley’s trumpet takes things out with strong clarion melodic statement. “Momentum” has a mid tempo yearning melody, then a supple and patient trumpet solo. A spare piano interlude opens like a gentle rain shower. After a spacious bass opening, “Tabula Rasa” has spare haunted trumpet and lonely saxophone intertwining, before the rest of the group falls in. The pace picks up behind some strong trumpet soloing in front of the piano trio. Schwebs’ strong elastic bass keeps everything well grounded. “Vista” has mid tempo trumpet and saxophone trading ideas, then picking up speed like a couple of trapeze artists before proceeding to exciting full band collective improv, and then slowing down with nice piano trio interlude. “Ambrosia” is a ballad with Crowley getting a rich and lush tone from his instrument. “Icarus” has mid tempo trumpet and saxophone collaborating for a nice round patient sound, before making way for a punchy trumpet solo. “Right Now” is a strong fast uptempo performance centering around a wicked hot saxophone solo, spiraling notes a focused beam, and a strong deeply rhythmic drum solo. “City Mood” slows things to a medium tempo, with strong yearning saxophone, Beaty is really pushing hard, occasionally overblown, echoing the most exploratory playing of Kenny Garrett. The musicians come to a strong collective finish. “Decision” opens in a spare and thoughtful fashion, and then picks up to mid tempo with nice searching saxophone solo. Round sounding trumpet, mid fast controlled a supple bass solo finish things off. This was an excellent example of music being made by young musicians on the New York scene. Talented performers drawing for a variety of inspirations making wonderful sounds.
Connections - amazon.com

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