These tracks are getting
on for twenty years old now so their reappearance in Nimbus’s select
Jazz livery is welcome news. The band took its name from Ireland’s
Easter Rebellion – the attraction was phonetic not political. It’s
a quartet of equals and the result is eleven tracks that constitute
a good blowing session. No new corners are exposed and no barriers
are necessarily pushed but that’s not necessarily the point.
Sunflower is a
case in point – Freddie Hubbard’s tune being the subject of considerable
ensemble finesse. John’s Blues is a straight down the line
blues with a number of good, extended choruses especially by the most
consistently inventive and impressive musician, Cedar Walton, whose
reputation has long been matched by accomplishment. His loose-limbed
stride patterns inventively animate I’ll let you know whilst
his own tune, Mosaic, so familiar from Art Blakey’s Messengers,
is taken with brisk fluency. His single note articulation and then
complex chording in My Old Flame are especially convincing
as well. One for Kel is a feature for the bassist - and its
composer - David Williams who gets two minutes to stretch out. I prefer
him here; in the quartet he has been over recorded.
Fans of Lerner and Loewe
will like to know that I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face is
given a swinging and affirmative arrangement. Billy Higgins’s own
feature, a drum solo called Shoulders, has fine terraced
dynamics as befits such a fine musician and is thoughtfully brief.
Tenorist Ralph Moore essays his own song Josephine which sounds
harmonically speaking a near cousin of Just The Way You Look Tonight.
An enjoyable session then,
though not one that raises the temperature too much.