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Big Band Report

Pointing Fingers... And Naming Names

By Published: May 4, 2013
Even so, the Andersons are the headliners, and they don't disappoint, either on works by Dizzy Gillespie
Dizzy Gillespie
Dizzy Gillespie
1917 - 1993
trumpet
, Bud Powell
Bud Powell
Bud Powell
1924 - 1966
piano
or Thad Jones
Thad Jones
Thad Jones
1923 - 1986
trumpet
, Cole Porter's "Get Out of Town," or their own splendid compositions (half a dozen in all, equally divided between the brothers). It's clear from the outset that the twins have done their homework, drawn what they can from the masters of their respective instruments, and merged elements of the past and present into a post-bop style that presses forward rhythmically and harmonically even as it rests comfortably on the bedrock of jazz tradition. Besides referencing briefly such icons as Dexter Gordon
Dexter Gordon
Dexter Gordon
1923 - 1990
sax, tenor
, Wardell Gray
Wardell Gray
Wardell Gray
1921 - 1955
sax, tenor
, Teddy Edwards
Teddy Edwards
Teddy Edwards
1924 - 2003
sax, tenor
, Hank Mobley
Hank Mobley
Hank Mobley
1930 - 1986
sax, tenor
and Frank Foster
Frank Foster
Frank Foster
1928 - 2011
saxophone
, among others, Peter's freewheeling spirit is not far removed from that of contemporaries such as Eric Alexander
Eric Alexander
Eric Alexander
b.1968
sax, tenor
, Grant Stewart
Grant Stewart
Grant Stewart
b.1971
sax, tenor
, Joshua Redman
Joshua Redman
Joshua Redman
b.1969
saxophone
and Chris Potter
Chris Potter
Chris Potter
b.1971
reeds
. Likewise, while the influence of Frank Morgan
Frank Morgan
Frank Morgan
1933 - 2007
sax, alto
, Lou Donaldson
Lou Donaldson
Lou Donaldson
b.1926
saxophone
, Sonny Stitt
Sonny Stitt
Sonny Stitt
1924 - 1982
saxophone
and Charles McPherson
Charles McPherson
Charles McPherson
b.1939
sax, alto
can be discerned in Will's alto, so can Bobby Watson
Bobby Watson
Bobby Watson
b.1953
sax, alto
, Gary Bartz
Gary Bartz
Gary Bartz
b.1940
sax, alto
, Antonio Hart
Antonio Hart
Antonio Hart
b.1968
saxophone
and Kenny Garrett
Kenny Garrett
Kenny Garrett
b.1960
sax, alto
. Even so, each Anderson has shaped his own voice, and it is a strong one indeed.

The brothers are stellar from the outset, bright and eloquent on Peter's "Correspondence" and "You Have to Try It Once" and Will's "Bread and Butter" and "Go Ahead!" (a.k.a. "Cherokee"). Powell is represented by the ballad "I'll Keep Loving You," Gillespie by "Shaw Nuff," Jones by "Slipped Again." Completing the program are Peter's "Meat of the Matter" and Will's "Contagious Curiosity." Not one of them is less than admirable. The Anderson twins have made a smashing debut, one that lends new credence to the adage that "two heads are better than one." In this case, those two heads happen to be identical, in temperament as well as appearance. The jazz world is better for that, and should be even more enriched by their growing artistry in the years to come.

Rich Thompson
Less Is More
Origin
2013

As a part of his musical philosophy, drummer Rich Thompson espouses the premise that "less is more," which could be true, more or less. Clearly, there are less musicians on Thompson's new album than there are on a big band, or even a sextet; on the other hand, there are more than in a duo, trio or quartet. The five who are present and accounted for seem about right, as Thompson presides over a groovy session that is enhanced by the explicit artistry of trumpeter Terell Stafford
Terell Stafford
Terell Stafford
b.1966
trumpet
. As there are no liner notes, it is anyone's guess as to what Thompson actually means by the phrase "less is more" (also the album's title selection, a quasi-waltz on which Stafford is typically persuasive).

This is actually more quartet than quintet, as one of its members, tenor saxophonist Doug Stone, is heard only on Rodgers and Hart's ballad "I Didn't Know What Time It Was" (taken at a livelier-than-usual tempo) and Joe Henderson
Joe Henderson
Joe Henderson
1937 - 2001
sax, tenor
's easygoing "Step Lightly," perhaps providing more insight into the phrase "less is more." Speaking of ballads, Stafford is at his best in that context, soloing eloquently on another Rodgers and Hart evergreen, "It's Easy to Remember," Frank Loesser's "I've Never Been in Love Before" and (muted) Tom Garling's graceful "Camping Out." That's not to say he's any less impressive at brisker tempos, such as Kenny Dorham
Kenny Dorham
Kenny Dorham
1924 - 1972
trumpet
's "Lotus Blossom," on which Stafford eagerly takes the ball and runs with it. Stafford's burnished flugel graces Thompson's "Less Is More," which precedes Ornette Coleman
Ornette Coleman
Ornette Coleman
b.1930
sax, alto
's lyrical (yes, lyrical) "Invisible" and Wayne Shorter
Wayne Shorter
Wayne Shorter
b.1933
saxophone
's "This One's for Albert," one of three tracks on which pianist Gary Versace
Gary Versace
Gary Versace

organ, Hammond B3
moves to the Hammond B3 organ (the others are "Step Lightly" and bassist Jeff Campbell
Jeff Campbell
b.1963
bass
's quirky "Hoot Gibson"). Campbell, Versace (who solos handsomely on piano and organ) and Thompson comprise a solid rhythm section, one that Stafford and Stone know they can lean on for unflagging support.

This is by no means a groundbreaking session but one that offers nearly an hour of tasteful straight-ahead jazz capably performed by four (and sometimes five) world-class musicians. Perhaps less is more after all.


Tracks and Personnel

The Hofstra Project

Tracks: Full House; Where Are You; No Evidence; Duke Ellington's Sound of Love; Inner Urge; Pent-Up House; Moody's Mood for Love; St. Thelonious; Tricotism; The Song Isn't You; The Peacocks; Blues For . . .; Evansville.


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