One of the most exciting new albums I've had the pleasure of listening to, Tales of Time
is a dynamic set of contemporary jazz that features new and fresh interpretations of time-honored standards, tastefully infused with new originals, resulting in one nice package of musical delights. The Young Brothers, pianist and composer Tim Young and drummer, Alphonso M. Young, Jr., collaborate with bassist Bhagwan Khalsa in one of the newest modern jazz trios on the scene today. Tales of Time
is the group's recording debut. Also contributing on selected tracks are Ben Boker (tenor), Ted Harrison (guitar and percussions) and Sara Jones (vocals).
The choice of material is often an indicator of the appeal an album may provide. On this note, the Young Brothers chose wisely, which one can tell right from the opening quick rhythm of the Kurt Weil/Ogden Nash piece "Speak Low. Originally written almost as a slow ballad and recorded in both slow and medium tempo, its fast-paced arrangement works quite well here.
Duke Ellington's "Just Squeeze Me (But Don't Tease Me) gives pianist Tim Young an opportunity to showcase his abundant skills, with an appreciable key-pounding performance on this lively and swinging number. A highlight has to be the very bouncy McHugh/Dorothy Fields classic "I Can't Give You Anything But Love, which includes the only tenor sax solos by Boker. The other special standard is the familiar Hoagy Carmichael/Johnny Mercer piece "Skylark, featuring the lush vocals of Sara Jones, who also appears on the Tim Young original "Somewhere Within. Composer and friend Gene Thorne contributed the other original, "Next Chapter, where the brothers lay down some heavy forceful play in captivating style.
Tim Young provides two additional new compositions with "Waltz for Nanami and "Nahjal, both providing rhythm-rich melodies which fit quite well within this bundle of wonderful standards. Not to be overlooked here is the finesse of Alphonso M. Young, Jr., who consistently delivers an energetic performance on the drums, whether on sticks or the brushes. As for brother Tim, well, all you have to do is listen once to be taken by his emotion-filled dance on the keys.
Telling a tale as timeless as jazz is, Tales of Time is a beautiful session of music played with feeling and a cool elegance conveying the message that good old and sometimes worn-out standards can be reborn and heard as new and fresh, as if it played for the first time. An impressive performance and debut by a classy trio.
Personnel: Tim Young: piano; Alphonso M.Young, Jr.: drums; Bhagwan Khalsa: bass; Ben Boker: tenor
saxophone (5); Todd Harrison: guitar and percussion (6); Sara Jones: vocals (6,9).