How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
With For Adults Only, Dutch bassist Joris Teepe adds to the steady flow of strong live albums being recorded at Smalls in New York. Enlisting David Hazeltine on piano, Bruce Cox on drums, and a killer frontline in Don Braden and Chris Potter, Teepe offers a batch of originals and standards with some provocative twists. The band sets Strayhorn’s "Chelsea Bridge" to a mid-tempo, "Killer Joe"-type groove with tight ensemble hits on the melody. Hazeltine and Teepe share the spotlight on "You Don’t Know What Love Is," with the horns laying out. And the quintet dispenses with the usual waltz feel of Freddie Hubbard’s "Up Jumped Spring," turning the tune into a bright 4/4 finale. Paul Simon’s "I Do It For Your Love," a tune from Still Crazy After All These Years, becomes a bossa nova ballad feature for Braden’s tenor, Potter’s soprano, and Hazeltine’s ivories.
Teepe’s originals are varied and well crafted for this band. "Five Bears" is a colorful waltz with a beautiful soprano solo from Braden. Both on tenor, Braden and Potter bring "Second Avenue Story" to a bouncy latin boil with a spirited dual solo, setting up Hazeltine for some brilliant blowing of his own. "Blues for Claudia" is a trio tune featuring Teepe and the two saxophones; Potter solos first, on soprano, with only Teepe backing him, and then Braden takes his turn on tenor. This is the most burning sax playing on the date, and a nice contrast to the quintet format of the other tracks. Then Braden shines, as he should, on the soulful "Brother Braden," and the title cut rounds out the original side of the program with an up-tempo romp.
In his liner notes, Teepe explains that this gig, and these tunes, were specifically developed for a live album at the suggestion of Arkadia’s founder and producer, Bob Karcy. Teepe toiled like mad to pull it off on a very short deadline, and what they say about the best work being done under pressure seems true in this case. The fact that Teepe labored with such a specific goal in mind also lends the album a focus it might not have had otherwise.