French hornist John Clark along with his venerable band-mates go straight to the heart with their expressive and altogether grand rendition of Coltrane’s hypnotically melodic, “India”. Bright, rousing horn charts, and fluent phrasing by Clark get things off to a rather rapid and somewhat boisterous start! Here, the pre-eminent french hornist and his fine cast including, drummer Bruce Ditmas, saxophonists Alex Foster, Chris Hunter and others assist Clark in compiling this outstanding production consisting of jazz standards and Clark originals. On “India” sitarist Trevor Clark adds glistening tonal color which seemingly emphasizes the inherent nature of this piece as sitars, bold brass charts and Clark’s well-pronounced bottom register attack radiate a new and contemporary slant to this majestic tune. Clark trades rapid fours with tenor saxophonist Alex Foster on his three-part suite, titled, “96th Street Sonata”, while executing passionate lines as though he is living the experience on the standard “My One And Only Love”. The horn section are playfully mean-spirited on Clark’s “Bad Attitude” as they surge forward with sharp, corpulent and at times Monk-ish choruses augmented by Clark’s impossibly swift phrasing while the band pursue hot swing motifs and engaging dialogue amid a spattering of free-improvisation..... Clark’s amazing dexterity and fluency once again comes to the forefront on Sonny Rollins’ “Airegin” as kudos are in order for Bob Stewart who anchors the proceedings with his deft and slightly ominous performance on tuba.
I Will is a jubilant celebration of the jazz spirit. John Clark shines as a gifted soloist and fine composer while this recording only reaffirms his already estimable stature in jazz, yet here Clark turns a new leaf while displaying distinguishing characteristics as a confident leader who possesses a fertile imagination. * * * *
John Clark; French Horn: Trevor Clark; Sitar (track 1): Stanton Davis; Trumpet: Bruce Ditmas; Drums: Alex Foster; Tenor and Soprano Sax: Chris Hunter; Flute & Alto Sax: Howard Johnson; Bass Clarinet: Ryo Kawasaki; Guitar: Pete Levin; Keyboard: Mike Richmond; Bass: Bob Stewart; Tuba (track 8): Dave Taylor; Trombone & Bass Trombone.