Friday, January 17, 2014

William Hooker - Heart of the Sun (Engine, 2013)

Although this album is credited to William Hooker and he plays splendidly, it is hard not to hear this as a testament to the extraordinary power of the recently departed trumpeter Roy Campbell. Rounded out by David Soldier on violin, guitar and banjo, the trio is a potent and thrilling unit. This is a wonderful collectively improvised performance recorded at Roulette in Brooklyn in February of last year. Campbell lays out for the first part of “Rainwater” before entering with a stoic tone and excellent timing. Strong drumming and wordless vocal scatting add to the tension. It is perhaps the penultimate track on the album. “Reflector of Truth” sets the stage for this album, with excellent trio interaction, Soldier is able to use his different instruments to good effect, reflection the mood of the music and allowing Campbell an excellent foil for his improvisations. William Hooker is simply a force of nature throughout the album, allowing shades of rhythm to dictate the flow of the music. There’s really not much more that can be said about Roy Campbell. Through the course of his musical life he developed as a wonderful player and on this album, he unveils a secret weapon, the flute. His flute playing is unexpected and quite beautiful. He uses it sparingly and strategically adding swaths of color and texture where needed. So while each of these men is a formidable talent in their own right, it is when they sublimate their egos and allow the music to combine and flow, the result is a sterling album of progressive jazz. Heart of the Sun - amazon.com

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