Keith Oxman: Two Cigarettes In The Dark


The Oxman band with two tenors and rhythm section works well in a programme of hard bop, three originals by the leader, one by pianist Jeff Jenkins and the rest of the material jazz standards. Or common standards.

I’ve Never Been In Love Before is one of the least hackneyed of all good standards and it kicks off this programme with Oxman sounding lean and light just as Houston Person is, by contrast, fat and juicy. The contrast works well and with Oxman placed on the left and Person on the right it is easy enough for anybody to identify them. Voss Is Boss is a warm swinger written by Oxman and the rhythm section get behind him well, thrusting him ever forward in his improvised choruses. Person sits this one out.

Annette Murrell sings Everything Happens To Me and sounds as though she means it. An expressive vocalist in the jazz style, she has a style that is personal and individual. She has one more track, Crazy He Calls me and does well with it.

The two tenor men tackle Hank Mobley’s infectious samba Bossa For Baby, a good tune seldom played or recorded after Hank’s 1960s offering. Sweet Sucker is a down-home type blues by Johnny Griffin and the two tenor men work up a good head of steam here, as they do on Two Cigarettes In The Dark. Murphy’s Law Impacts LEAP has good Oxman and drummer Romaine gets a chance to solo, tastefully.

Overall, this is a good, solid four-star session and worthy of purchase.

I’ve Never Been In Love Before; Voss Is Boss; Everything Happens To Me; Two Cigarettes In The Dark; Bossa For Baby; Murphy’s Law Impacts LEAP; Crazy He Calls Me; Wind Chill; Sweet Sucker; Murrrellancholy (55.10)
Oxman, Houston Person (ts); Jeff Jenkins (p); Ken Walker (b); Paul Romaine (d); Annette Murrell (v). Denver, 14 December 2018.
Capri Records 74161-2