- Folks Who Live On the Hill
- The Suspect
- Lonely Evening
- I’ll Be around
- Liberty Bell
Frank Griffith – Tenor
Tom Harrell – Trumpet/Flugel
Joel Weiskopf – Piano
John Hart - Guitar
James Genus – Bass
Billy Drummond – Drums
John Hart is not on track 5 and Chris Rogers replaces Tom Harrell
on 4 &5.
Recorded in November 1990 at East Side Sound NYC
Frank Griiffith is currently resident in the
UK working as a musical educator in a University and leading his
excellent Nonet at Jazz Festivals, Clubs and concerts around the
UK, as well as making solo appearances. (See my review on this
site 18/2/02 of the Nonet’s Ealing Jazz Festival performance).
This CD was made in 1990, before he left NYC with what has turned
out to be an all-star line up. Tom Harrell is now regarded as
a leading trumpet/flugel player on a worldwide basis, Chris Rogers
the other trumpet player used, played with the enormously successful
Gerry Mulligan Concert Band. The rhythm section is of the calibre
rarely heard outside the various capital cities, where jazz has
a genuine following.
Frank studied jazz composition at Manhattan School
of Music where he completed a Master’s degree, before going on
to study with Bob Brookmeyer and Manny Albam. He wrote six of
the compositions played here and is also responsible for the arrangements
on the other tracks.
Each track is extremely satisfying to listen
to; Frank’s warm tone and Tom Harrell’s inventive trumpet playing
are a heady mixture. Of the first four tracks, my personal favourite
is The Suspect, a minor blues, which produced excellent solos
from everyone and on which the rhythm drive the whole thing along
For Lonely Evening, Frank plays Soprano and Chris
Rogers replaces Harrel on flugel. Pianist Joel Weiskopf wrote
this tune and plays a major solo before Chris Rogers is heard
to good effect.
The theme of I’ll Be Around, the Alec Wilder
tune, is played by Frank with great warmth against some thoughtful
accompaniment from guitar and piano. I liked this track because
of the respect everyone has for such a great piece of music; it
would be a shame to ‘razz’ it beyond recognition.
JCC is a blues that Frank wrote for bassist Ron
Carter, another very enjoyable track demonstrating that these
very sophisticated musicians have not lost touch with their roots.
Libery Bell is bebop inspired Griffith tune on
which both he and Chris Rogers play excellent solos. The album
concludes with another of Frank’s compositions Ricochet, based
on the I Got Rhythm changes, this one cooks along in great style.
This is an excellent album, I particularly liked
the fact that it is brimming with ideas and dazzling displays
of technique, but it doesn’t forget that if it don’t swing it