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Frank Basile / Sam Dillon Quintet: 2 Part Solution

Jack Bowers By

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Frank Basile / Sam Dillon Quintet: 2 Part Solution
If recent albums serve as an accurate guidepost, hard bop is making a broad and most welcome comeback. In the wake of high-octane albums by Adam Shulman, Gary Dudzienski, Cory Weeds (who doubles as producer-in-chief at Cellar Records), Marshal Herridge, the TNEK Jazz Quintet, Jerry Bergonzi, Keith Oxman, John Sneider and others comes 2 Part Solution, an old-school fire-breathing session whose front line consists of tenor saxophonist Sam Dillon and baritone saxophonist Frank Basile.

Any doubts about their purpose are quickly erased on the impetuous opener, John Lewis and Dizzy Gillespie's classic "Two Bass Hit," on which Dillon and Basile dig their heels in and wail like there is no tomorrow. Dillon's sharp and sinuous phrases call to mind such titans as Hank Mobley, Joe Henderson and George Coleman (who wrote "Lo Joe" and "5/4 Thing"), while Basile is the latest in a line of nimble-fingered baritone masters that dates back to Pepper Adams, Cecil Payne and Nick Brignola and is exemplified today by Gary Smulyan and Ronnie Cuber. As for the rhythm section, pianist Jeb Patton isn't too far removed from Bobby Timmons, Red Garland, Wynton Kelly and their ilk, while drummer Aaron Kimmel must have readied himself by listening closely to the bop licks of Art Blakey and Max Roach, among others. Bassist Mike Karn, a sure and steady companion, rounds out the quintet.

As if to prove they are capable of imparting more than fire and brimstone, "Two Bass Hit" is followed by the free-and-easy "Love Letters" (on which Karn adds an expressive solo voice) before the pace quickens again on Basile's breezy "Cardiff Giant" and the helical "Lo Joe." Thad Jones' earnest ballad, "Kids Are Pretty People," precedes another swinger, Luiz Bonfa's bustling "Samba de Orfeu," and Dillon's well-grooved "Two Part Solution." Coleman's minor-key "5/4 Thing" leads to the well-chosen finale, Slide Hampton's decorous "Frame for the Blues."

Aside from the admirable teamwork and splendid choice of material, what sets 2 Part Solution apart from and above comparable enterprises are the superlative solos, especially by Dillon and Basile who proudly uphold the torch of hard bop whose flame hasn't slackened since it was lit nearly eighty years ago by Bird, Diz, Bud Powell, Kenny Clarke and a host of their resourceful contemporaries. If hard bop is here to stay, that's a resurgence that should give rise to enthusiasm and applause. And should Basile, Dillon and Co. choose to help further that cause, more power to them.

Track Listing

Two Bass Hit; Love Letters; The Cardiff Giant; Lo Joe; Kids Are Pretty People; Samba de Orfeu; Two Part Solution; 54 Thing; Frame For The Blues.

Personnel

Frank Basile: saxophone, baritone; Sam Dillon: saxophone, tenor; Jeb Patton: piano; Mike Karn: bass, acoustic; Aaron Kimmel: drums.

Album information

Title: 2 Part Solution | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: Cellar Live

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