"An enjoyable session..."
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.
Jonathan Woolf, Musicweb-international.com