Bridging the gap between bandleader Stan Kenton's progressive experience and today's wide-open jazz market, trumpeter Tim Hagans defines modern jazz through a straight-ahead approach. Three years with the Kenton big band jump-started Hagans' career in the early 1970s after studying music at Bowling Green State University. Moving overnight from dedicated student to hard-working practitioner, Hagans found creative outlets for the expression of his ideas and learned to tell musical stories effectively. Years of experience have given the trumpeter a multicolored palette from which to choose.
Alone Together contains dramatic material couched in terms of an enduring art where lyricism and syncopation go hand in hand. He brings a full, rich trumpet tone to the bandstand along with creative gestures that engulf his quartet in a montage of excitement. Along with pianist Marc Copland, bassist Drew Gress and drummer Jochen Ruckert, the trumpeter pours intense drama from every corner and still finds the time to settle in for pockets of mellow serenade. His interpretation of the title track includes a hearty mix of both. Each player contributes poignant expressions that belie a team approach. Throughout, Copland, Gress and Ruckert complement the trumpeter for every mood change; both "You Don't Know What Love Is" and "Stella by Starlight" end up as somber ballads. The rest of the program, in contrast, smokes with the intensity of an athletic event where everyone scores in double digits and celebrates with fist pumps. Copland's four compositions provide an incessant drive, fingers flying and eighth notes cascading around the room. The quartet swirls its conversation on "Not Even the Rain" and "Sweet Peach Tree," combining intense elements with lyrical beauty in each selection. Hagans knows what he wants to say and does so eloquently.
Track Listing: See You Again; Not Even the Rain; Sweet Peach Tree; Over and Back; You Don't Know What Love Is; Alone Together; Stella by Starlight.
Personnel: Tim Hagans: trumpet; Marc Copland: piano; Drew Gress: bass; Jochen Ruckert: drums.