Pianist/composer D. D. Jackson recently received the Juno Award (“Best Contemporary (Instrumental) Jazz Album”) for his RCA debut ...so far. While that solo outing garnered raves from most critics, I’m not sure they will be as enamored with Anthem. Here, Jackson has decided to enhance his piano playing with organ overdubs, to no good effect. To his credit (and as a sign of his growing clout in the biz), he has also assembled a first-rate, all-star supporting cast featuring Jack DeJohnette (drums), James Carter (sax), Mino Cinelu (percussion), Richard Bona (electric bass) and newcomer Christian Howes (electric violin). Unfortunately, as the New York Rangers prove, great players don’t always make a great team! Jackson permits Christian Howes’ screechy, over-amped violin to dominate the solo space, DeJohnette thrashes about wildly and the great James Carter is buried in the morass. Jackson’s 10 original compositions run the gamut from a frantically paced samba (Spring Song), to overblown bop (Showcase Blues), to a rather disjointed tribute to saxophonist Dewey Redman (Dewey's Groove). Attribute my disdain to the “old fart factor” if you wish, but this Anthem left me cold. Back to the drawing board D. D. ##
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