How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Hugh Ragin's title track reminds us that music communicates expression. His passion shines through warmly. By adopting the classic jazz quintet format for his third Justin Time release, the trumpeter has retained a mainstream sensibility. However, his adventurous nature remains evident from start to finish. Standards and originals swing, while introducing flights of fancy throughout. The ensemble interprets with clarity and a natural ease. Their session combines avant-garde thrills with picturesque impressionism, sullen blues and joyful swing. Ragin's trumpet attains a wide range of emotions through his buoyant, conversational style. He and Assif Tsahar make a fruitful front line. Their rhythmic drive on "Freedom Jazz Dance," "Gulf Coast Groove" and "Caravan" moves boldly. It's powerful stuff that moves the soul. The session's final number, a solo trumpet piece, recalls the late Lester Bowie. Ragin, who has music degrees from the University of Houston and Colorado State University, who has taught at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and who's earned much of his experience performing with David Murray, favors an adventurous, modern mainstream program. This one comes recommended for its ease of understanding and its enjoyable attitude.
Track Listing: Caravan; Feel the Sunshine; Hugh's Blues; Pain; Gulf Coast Groove; Easy Living; Master Mind; Freedom Jazz Dance; Say Goodbye.