Terence Blanchard: Bounce (2003)
Blanchard calls on the services of Brice Winston, Lionel Loueke, Robert Glasper, Aaron Parks, Brandon Owens, and Eric Harland for Bounce. Interestingly, none of the band members (save Blanchard) are proverbial household jazz names. This is testimony enough that straight up, unadulterated jazz need not include neon-light, star musicians in order to produce quality, thoughtful scores. This tight band came to play.
The skillfully done "Nocturna" is the most seductive, mellow cut on the disc. Blanchard uses his trumpet as a voice, communicating his penchant for romantic flair. Owens keeps the melody going on bass while Loueke flicks his guitar to accent the piece. As the track quickens, Blanchard returns and turns up the heat, cooking at a mile high crescendo. And Harland's sound is simply beautiful as he massages the drums, knowing when to accent the melody.
"Footprints," a Wayne Shorter classic, is excellently done and begins with the funky bass-driven, drum-accented vamp. Blanchard appears to lay back in the cut before he moves into Shorter's classic vein. The band handles this classic with the utmost integrity, handling the jewel with class. Parks' piano accents are skillfully conceived and well-timed along with Harland's drum strokes. Blanchard has a way of capturing the listeners ear using high notes combined with sounds from the lower range. Not to be outdone, Winston delves into a tight mini-solo on saxophone that demonstrates a fluent sense of improvisation in addition to a resonance with the original composition.
Bounce's nine tracks are skillfully done and well executed. Once again, Blanchard serves up a wonderful feast of aurally delightful jazz.
This review first appeared in All About Jazz: Los Angeles.
Track Listing: On the Verge; Passionate Courage; Fred Brown; Nocturna; Azania; Footprints; Transform; Innocence; Bounce/Let's Go Off.
Personnel: Terence Blanchard: trumpet; Brice Winston: soprano and tenor saxophones; Eric Harland: drums; Brandon Owens: bass; Robert Glasper: Hammond organ, electric piano, Fender Rhodes; Aaron Parks: piano; Lionel Loueke: guitar, vocals.
Record Label: Blue Note Records