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Josh Lawrence: And That Too

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Josh Lawrence: And That Too
Less than ten seconds into "Grit," the opening track of Josh Lawrence's latest chapter as a leader for Posi-Tone Records, the trumpeter uncorks a jaw-dropping solo. Set in a brisk, no-nonsense tempo, it does not so much eclipse the music that follows as it sets the tone for the record by declaring that And That Too is playful and deadly serious.

Lawrence's rich, full-bodied tone is the entryway to over two minutes of unadulterated invention. Every note he sounds possesses an air of certainty. Instead of unrelenting thickets of tones, blaring high-note interludes, or any other hackneyed devices that might have a facile, dramatic effect, his lines are logical, robust, and swinging. Crafty use of space and relatively short phrases do the trick, time and time again. And there is more than a touch of poetry in loosely connected ideas that never feel studied or rigidly sequential.

As And That Too continues, there is no shortage of memorable Lawrence moments. An exhilarating entry into "Cosmological Constant" consists of long clarion tones followed by bright, energetic lines that dig deeply into the rhythm section's beat. When he builds to a brief climax, it does not sound forced or impede the narrative.

Lawrence's performance on "Black Keys" may be his most captivating of the set. Stretching out for over three-and-one-half minutes amid a tantalizingly deliberate, skeletal bass line and wispy brushwork, he moves between the open horn, mute, and back again to forge an improvised triptych. Except for an interlude in which the trumpet merrily leaps, tugs, and dances around the bass and drums, for the most part, the solo evolves at a snail's pace. Every utterance is magnified and makes an impact.

For all his artistry and skill, Lawrence does not dominate the record. Pianist Art Hirahara, bassist Boris Kozlov and drummers Rudy Royston and Jason Tiemann offer several varieties of support liberally laced with their bold, individual voices. Tenor saxophonist Willie Morris III's protracted, weighty solo lines make an ideal foil for the leader. Their contributions are an essential part of an excellent recording.

Track Listing

Grit; Nefertiti; Cosmological Constant; North Winds; Black Keys; Hole In The Wall; Left Hanging; Cantus Firmus.

Personnel

Willie Morris III
saxophone, tenor
Boris Kozlov
bass, acoustic

Album information

Title: And That Too | Year Released: 2023 | Record Label: Posi-Tone Records

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