Michael Karn Quintet: In Focus
As outright exciting as Karn’s playing is, there’s nothing superficial about the manner in which he carefully builds his solos to a climax. On his composition “Momentum” and Grant Green’s “Grant’s Tune,” the details that go into getting there are as important as the moments when he swings hard and with authority. Karn’s capacity to coherently juggle a number of ideas is apparent during “One Bedroom Blues,” where he comes across as a no-nonsense, straight-ahead player. His honking introduction to Clifford Jordan’s “The Highest Mountain” signals that something special is about to occur; and sure enough, he deftly works his way through the complex structure of the tune, alternatively dancing over and interacting with bassist Reuben Rogers and the drums of Gregory Hutchinson.
Although they don’t play on every track, guitarist Peter Bernstein and pianist David Hazeltine make their voices heard as soloists and ensemble players. Combining marvelously precise phrasing with occasional flights of fancy, Hazeltine’s solo on “One Bedroom Blues” is worth repeated listenings. “D and B,” Karn’s intimate ballad, finds the pianist offering restrained accompaniment that enables the tenor saxophonist to convey his tender message.
Track Listing: Momentum; Grant's Tune; D and B; Smile; One Bedroom Blues; A Time For Love; The Highest Mountain.
Personnel: Michael Karn--tenor sax; Peter Bernstein--guitar; David Hazeltine--piano; Reuben Rogers--bass; Gregory Hutchinson--drums.
Record Label: Criss Cross