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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke

TOM HARRELL

LIVE AT THE VILLAGE VANGUARD


Tom Harrell,trumpet / Jimmy Greene, tenor saxophone / Xavier Davis, piano / Ugonna Okegwo, bass / Quincy Davis, drums.

Recorded live November 15-18, 2001 at The Village Vanguard, New York City.

RCA Bluebird CD 09026 63910 2


Crotchet
 


1. Asia Minor
2. Manhattan, 3 A.M.
3. Where The Rain Begins
4. Blues In Una Sea
5. A Child's Dream
6. Design
7. Everything Happens To Me
8. Party Song

0ne of the most attractive features of this release is that it actually uses the leader's regular working band. So many discs now ( even the live sessions ) utilise an aggregation of so called star players in an attempt on the part of the recording company to garner greater interest and, consequently, greater sales. While one can appreciate this attitude with today's difficult markets, the public do not always have the best of this deal as most bands are much tighter and more coherent in their normal format. On the majority of occasions the performers are more relaxed and the inspiration flows a little more freely. There are obviously times when an added player can act as a catalyst to spark new ideas, but in the case of a band such as this there is no necessity for any added stimulus.

Tom Harrell has been recognised for many years now as one of the finest trumpet players in modern music and he occupies an area formerly associated with such as Art Farmer and Kenny Dorham in that he performs with great sensitivity and a lyrical rather than brash approach . His improvisations are always masterful constructions with delicate shadings of tone and balance. All of the compositions here are by Harrell, except for " Everything Happens To me ", and they reflect his performing style as well by being carefully constructed and varied in style.

Jimmy Greene on tenor saxophone is a new name to me and is a most interesting player . He comes squarely into the post Coltrane category but shows many influences including Joe Henderson and to my ears more than a touch of the late great Booker Ervin in his delivery and phrasing. He plays with a big open sound and has the ability to cook without cramming a note into every available space - he has a maturity of performance far in advance of his years and is a name to look out for in the future.

Xavier Davis is an excellent pianist with hints of Gene Harris and Bobby Timmons in his almost funky stylings - once again he is an instrumentalist capable of driving without overplaying. The bass and drums are a very tight unit and whilst not heard to any great degree in a solo capacity underpin each track most effectively. This is modern mainstream jazz of the highest calibre - miss it at your peril !


Dick Stafford



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