Sunday, October 30, 2011

Joe Cohn - Fuego (Criss Cross, 2011)

Mainstream jazz guitarist Joe Cohn recorded this album on November 16, 2010 in Brooklyn, accompanied by a hard hitting crew consisting of Peter Beets on piano, John Webber on bass and Kenny Washington on drums. You would expect a deeply swinging session from the son of famous saxophonist Joe Cohn, and that is exactly what is delivered here with a setlist that leans heavily on the compositions of the bebop and hard bop masters. The band plays together very well, supporting each other nicely during round-robin cycles of soloing in each tune. Beginning with Jackie McLean’s classic composition “Little Melonae” the group sets an up-tempo pace, developing rippling solos for piano and bass wrapped around a nice shell of guitar and drums. George Shearing’s “She” keeps the action bubbling with some uptempo swing buoyed by a fine piano, bass and a nimble guitar feature. On “Dewey Square” by Charlie Parker, the group releases their inner bebop, Washington's fast cymbal work leads the way into hard guitar based swing, nimble and dexterous, with a happy sounding piano interlude before drums, piano and guitar trade phases to conclude the performance. The group swings in a strong and thoughtful manner on Cole Porter’s standard “Love for Sale” with a well developed guitar solo as its centerpiece. An excellent and lengthy piano solo and bass interlude wrap things up. “Call it Wachawana” by the saxophonist Johnny Griffin is a fun swinger with a strong backbeat Cohn solos over a loping beat, making way for an elastic bass solo. This was a consistently excellent and very well played mainstream jazz album. The music is very accessible, yet exciting and the group makes use of some of the lesser known songs in the jazz canon to keep things fresh and interesting. Fuego - amazon.com

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