Tom McIntosh: With Malice Toward None (2004)
Since the start of bebop, Tom McIntosh has been writing the kind of music that swings with a rhythmic flair and a cool sensation. Perky syncopation combines with a gentle, lyrical flow to make his pieces stand out as representative of the genre.
The all-star ensemble that IPO Recordings assembled for this 2003 session captures the essence of modern jazz. Generations have kept the music fresh. Several of the artists featured here can trace their careers from the very start of bebop, while several others have only recently come of age. Frank and Ben Perowsky, for example, are father and son.
The ensemble’s sound emphasizes a blend of trumpet, trombone, tenor saxophone, and vibraphone alongside a walking bass and kloop-ta-mop drum backdrop. While these players swing throughout and coalesce comfortably, the ensemble’s horn sound falters. Together, they grate with a collectively thin tone and a mood that turns cold in places. When soloing, however, each of the all-stars proves his mettle.
Stefon Harris and James Moody accept featured positions on “Minor Consolation,” a rolling ballad on which vibes and flute carry the ensemble over a relaxed journey. The title track features Benny Golson, Helen Sung, Buster Williams and Ben Perowsky in an excellent portrayal of the kind of swing found in healthy straight-ahead jazz. Golson’s light tone and Sung’s firm rhythmic grasp combine to create a winning formula. To bring this mainstream session into an even clearer focus, Williams stretches out with a remarkable bass solo that’s both lyrical and sensual.
While their tribute session does allow for uneven ensemble tone quality in places, it is, nevertheless, a fine example of multi-generational partnership. The all-star group’s interpretation of these classic, straight-ahead pieces serves tradition and encourages positive growth.
Track Listing: The Cup Bearers; The MVP; Ruptures in the Rapture; Minor Consolation; With Malice Toward None; Balanced Scales Equal Justice; I
Personnel: Tom McIntosh- trombone; Stefon Harris- vibraphone; Frank Perowsky, Benny Golson- tenor saxophone; James Moody- tenor saxophone, flute; Jimmy Owens- trumpet; Bill Washer- guitar; Helen Sung, Kenny Barron, Roger Kellaway- piano; Richard Davis, Buster Williams- bass; Ben Perowsky- drums