All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.
Quick and to the Point: So so, perhaps even more so....
Another Sunrise breaks with “El Gato Rojo,” where both the charms and chagrins of this self produced release by pianist Bob McHugh become immediately evident. The energy level remains all-encompassing during the straight Latin jam featuring percussionist Ray Mantilla of Mingus fame among other players capable of some notable moments, although they tend to stay mostly rooted in the average realm.
The writing enlarges and broadens the horns and these musicians were evidently engaged and happy to blow in all three compositions they participated in. McHugh’s compositions and arrangements are generally simple, although punchy on the opener. He remains eager and committed during his foray into Latin tinges, with some funk and mainstream jazz thrown in the mix.
His piano playing is amicably flowery and elegant, although it does seem dated and with a scant chance of surviving, let alone influencing, jazz’s evolutionary stream. Descarga piano performances, for example, should elicit street-nastiness, edged-power and propelling force. McHugh is no slacker, but no one will ever accuse him of being a keyboard T-Rex, either. His talents are best served in sections of the Brasiliana in “After The Rain Has Gone,” the mellow-yellow “Traveling Song” –with its counterbalancing Ron Nespo bass act strengthening the groove– and the loungy “Oneonta.”
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.