And plays it very well. Too well perhaps if you are looking for freshness and innovation. Still, as my friend and fellow contributor, the late Richard Palmer used to say, “What’s wrong with just being good?” The answer is, of course, nothing and these musicians are particularly good.
The immediate association, I suggest, is with the Cannonball Adderley Quintet where Sam Jones spent most of his musical time playing and composing much of this music. Particularly evocative are pieces like Unit Seven, Some More Of Dat and Del Sasser. These compositions were designed to showcase the Adderley quintet’s soulful approach to post-bop jazz and Sam’s earthy, fat bass sound.
The tracks here do the same thing with altoist Antonio Parker breaking into Cannonball mode and digging into the bop and blues mode of his hero. Not surprisingly perhaps, Kent Miller’s bass lines are muscular and the quintet as a whole swings in time-honoured fashion. It was bassist Miller that approached producer Ron Kearns with the idea of a programme of Sam Jones music and the final Tragic Magic, written by Kenny Barron, was added for good measure.
All these musicians are conservatory- and/or university-trained and play with precision and invention. The blues styled lines are obviously taken up with great relish and all the solos are all highly suitable for this musical programme. Altoist Parker has the skill to play in the Cannonball style at any tempo and his solos are always of interest. The others are not far behind.
There is only one ballad, Lillie, and this has fine alto and a first-rate piano solo from Darius Scott. Del Sasser is perhaps the standout track, with some healthy blowing from Russell’s tenor and Parker’s alto. Not particularly innovative then, as I suggested at the start, but a lively, hard-swinging session by five musicians who are very good.
Unit Seven; Bittersuite; Some More Of Dat; Lillie; O.P; Del Sasser; Tragic Magic (38.42)
Kent Miller (b); Darius Scott (p); Greg Holloway (d); Benny Russell (ts); Antonio Parker (as). Probably USA, 2020.