Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Tom Harrell - Number Five (HighNote, 2012)

Trumpeter and composer Tom Harrell’s latest project, Number Five, is a quintet recording where he is accompanied by Wayne Escoffery on tenor saxophone, Danny Grissett on acoustic and electric piano, Ugonna Okegwo on bass and Jonathan Blake on drums. The album opens very well with an exciting rendition of “Blue ‘n’ Boogie” where fast paced trumpet and drums ratchet the speed ever higher. The music is fast and hard hitting and features a nice drum solo from Blake. The title track is the original “No. 5” features the whole group playing in a well developed fast swing formation. Harrell’s trumpet really moves over rapidly paced bass and drums before making way for Escoffery’s dark toned and well constructed saxophone solo. After that it’s solos all around with Blake emerging as the winner again with an epic rhythmic drum feature. The group makes some fine ballad statements as well, on “Journey to the Stars” where tender piano and smears of trumpet make for a gentle and haunting performance. Harrell even takes the standard “Star Eyes” unaccompanied making for a spare and lyrical account of the song. Number Five -

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