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Encore Oui Bop

MAINSTEM MSTCD 0038 [72:40]



Meteor (T. Farlow) [3:39]
Scouby’s Spring (R. Hannah) [5:15]
Very Early (B. Evans) [7:40]
Brown’s Bag (T. Baldwin) [6:54]
Blues for Berthas (T. Baldwin) [3:58]
Tangoesque (P. Cunneff) [5:40]
Doxy Mae (R. Hannah) [4:12]
Bluesusphere (P. Cunneff) [5:13]
Born to be Blue (M. Tormé / R. Wells) [7:22]
Close Enough for Love (J. Mandel) [7:03]
I Hear Something (R. Hannah) [4:33]
Clouds (Ferreira / Einborn) [5:42]
I’ll Never Smile Again (R. Lewis) [4:43]
Rick Hannah (guitar)
Tom Baldwin (bass)
Phil Cunneff (drums)
Recorded at Roeder Studios, Monkton, Maryland, 2001

A thoroughly engaging album, in line of descent from some of the great guitarists of bop and later – from such as Tal Farlow and Jimmy Raney through Pat Martino and beyond.

Hannah’s early professional experience was chiefly in fusion bands, notably with the bands of Alphonse Mouzon and Brian Auger. Becoming frustrated with the limitations of fusion, Hannah determined to return to his first love, jazz. He found work with the group of tenor player Billy Mitchell. Living in Baltimore – though he has since moved to France - he formed a trio with Baldwin and Cunneff – both well established on the jazz-scene there. They issued an album, Oui Bop, recorded in 2000. Appearing now is its successor, full of accomplished music making.

The repertoire of Encore Oui Bop is well chosen. There are standards which aren’t over familiar – such as Ruth Lowe’s ‘I’ll Never Smile Again’, famously recorded by Sinatra with Tommy Dorsey, as well as by Billie Holiday, and ‘Close Enough for Love’, popular with vocalists such as Peggy Lee, Shirley Horn and Dianne Reeves. ‘Born to Be Blue’ is also a popular number with vocalists – such as Tormé, Helen Merrill and Ella Fitzgerald – but also relevant is the version by the great guitarist Grant Green on Blue Note. There’s a seductively played bossa nova ‘Clouds’, written by Durval Ferreira and Mauricio Einhorn, which was recorded by – amongst others, Cannonball Adderley with Ferreira himself on guitar, and Stan Getz. There are originals by all the members of the trio.

The work of the trio is characterised by a high level of empathy, of seemingly intuitive anticipation of, or immediate response to, one another’s playing. Hannah can handle bop changes with panache, as on Tal Farlow’s ‘Meteor’; he is a fluent blues player, and he can turn in an excellent ballad, as evidenced by his work on Johnny Mandel’s ‘Close Enough For Love’. But this album isn’t just about Hannah. Baldwin and Cunneff get a good hearing too, whether as composers – Cunneff’s ‘Tangoesque’ is particularly attractive, as an accomplished rhythm section, notably on ‘Clouds’, ‘Doxy Mae’ and ‘I Hear Something’, and also as occasional soloists – Baldwin plays engagingly on ‘Brown’s Bag’ and Cunneff is impressive on ‘I Hear Something’. But perhaps the greatest stress should be placed on the absoluteness with which this trio plays as a group; the interaction is a joy to hear.

Very much worth a listen for any aficionado of modern jazz guitar.

Glyn Pursglove

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