Trombonist Sarah Morrow has it all: creative music with a strong traditional foundation and superb musical skills. Her session swings in a rhythmic groove, and there's plenty of room for ballads. "All Blues" summarizes the session with sparkling glimpses, both old and new. However, the use of space to make room for James Hurt's piano musings and associated changes in mood tends to make the session drag on and lose its excitement in places. Morrow is an exciting player with all the necessary skills. Her music thrills, as long as she's at center stage. A brief excerpt is available at www.looproductions.com
Partner Antoine Roney performs with a mellow tone and fluid articulation. Preferring to lie low through most of the session, the tenor saxophonist adds a voice to the mix that allows Morrow additional freedom. Her trombone lines move high and low around the others. Passionate expression and seamless phrasing make it work for the young virtuoso. "Discovered" by Ray Charles, she toured with his orchestra from November 1995 to May '97. Since then, Morrow has toured with David Murray's Octet, Dee Dee Bridgewater with Cecil Bridgewater's big band, and with Paul Ellington directing the Duke Ellington Orchestra. While her résumé grows, the trombonist is free to combine the tradition that she's studied with her own ideas on what directions jazz should take. Ugonna Okegwo, who solos on the final track, and Jaz Sawyer, who steps it up on "Tisha's Dance" and "Elvin Goes Waltzing," supply a solid rhythmic base throughout. While Morrow's debut contains a few unsettled areas, its intended purpose succeeds. Having been introduced, she's now free to get better acquainted with the larger jazz community, refine her focus, and share her ideas with the world.
Personnel: Sarah Morrow- trombone; Antoine Roney- tenor saxophone; James Hurt- piano; Ugonna Okegwo- bass; Jaz Sawyer- drums; Kazi Oliver- percussion on "Greenlight" and "Tisha's Dance."