How do you follow up One More: Music of Thad Jones, a well-received album from 2004? The obvious answer is to round up as many of the musicians as possible from that session for a sequel. The result is a most pleasant trip for fans of big band jazz, and afficionados of trumpeter/composer/arranger/bandleader Thad Jones.
The nine musicians who perform on this project are largely the same crew that provided us with the 2004 album. Happily, the replacements were also former members of the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra that entertained weekly on Monday nights at the Village Vanguard in New York beginning in 1965. Eddie Daniels plays clarinet and tenor sax, John Mosca replaces Bob Brookmeyer on trombone, and Kenny Washington replaces Mickey Roker at the drum set. The returning musicians read like a jazz hall-of-fame ensemble: Frank Wess, James Moody and Benny Golson consitute the saxophone section; Thad's brother, Hank Jones, now regarded as one of the finest pianists alive, is present; Jimmy Owens plays flugelhorn, Richard Davis bass.
Perhaps you haven't heard Eddie Daniels' clarinet playing lately. His most recent album, Mean What You Say (IPO, 2005), showcased his work on mostly clarinet and clearly showed why he is still a major factor in the jazz polls on that instrument. On the opening track on One More, Vol. 2, "Little Pixie," Daniels' dazzling solo sets the pace for this session, and on tenor sax, he goes head-to-head with Golson and Wess on several of these tracks, shining each time. I can't recall the last time I heard Jimmy Owens play, but he hasn't lost a step, especially considering that he represents the "voice" of Thad Jones (on flugelhorn).
This album benefits from producer Frank Patterson, whose arrangements are more geared to this nonet than a big band. One of the highlights of this session is the booting performance of Jerome Richardson's "Groove Merchant." This is the only tune on the album not composed by Thad Jones and, arguably, one of the most popular compositions that he performed. The tenor sax solos by Golson, Wess and then Daniels help to propel the tune even more. Wess, in addition, gets an impressive flute solo on "Don't Ever Leave Me"; and on "Birdsong," James Moody tears it up with an extended tenor sax solo.
I'm reasonably sure that this session ended with the musicians asking about the date for the recording of Vol. 3.
Personnel: Hank Jones: piano; James Moody: tenor sax and flute; Benny Golson: tenor sax; Frank Wess:
tenor sax and flute; Eddie Daniels: clarinet and tenor sax; Jimmy Owens: trumpet and
flugelhorn; John Mosca: trombone; Richard Davis: bass; Kenny Washington: drums.