Paul Brusger: You Oughta Know It
I know it’s only hard bop, but I like it. Only hard bop, indeed! For bassist Paul Brusger, conjuring the music of McLean, Mobley, Morgan, and Miles reminds me why I’m a jazz fan. From the minute the laser hits the disc (it is the 21st century) a wave of energy hits you, simultaneously transporting you back to the great Blue Note dates of the sixties and reminding you the music wears well in our glorious future.
You might be tempted, and rightfully so, to pick up this disc to catch a listen to the Russian-born trumpeter Valery Ponomarev. His horn was featured for three years with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers descended from the ranks of Clifford Brown, Lee Morgan, Kenny Dorham, and Woody Shaw; Ponomarev can burn like all the great ones. His legions of fans know, you should too. He is the real deal, and every note played here is worth savoring. Besides the burners, his ballad work on “Only Time Will Tell” is remarkable. What really makes this a special record is the ensemble playing. Tenor saxophonist George Allgaier, a semi-finalist in the Thelonious Monk competition, has a big round sound that is just down the street from James Moody, around the corner from Tina Brooks. Rounding out the front line is pianist Dado Moroni, a veteran of Lee Konitz, Tom Harrell, Ray Brown, and Clark Terry’s bands.
The star here might just be Brusger’s compositions. Penning eight of the ten tracks, he has captured the writing styles of Clifford Brown, Lee Morgan and Miles Davis. Highlights include “Paul’s Chamber,” a blues played with horns in unison, and “For Miles On End” based on the changes in “So What.” At first listen I was fooled into believing these tunes were written in the 1960s. You Oughta Know It is a distinguished tribute to a fine bassist and superb composer.
Track List:Urban Lullaby; Paul’s Chamber; Transition Blues; You Oughta Know It By Now; Do Nothin’ Till You Hear From Me; Swing Street; Falling in Love With Love; Only Time Will Tell; For Miles On End; Stay Tuned.
Personnel: Paul Brusger