Perhaps it's more than coincidental that Craig Tweddell titled this intriguing recording a snowcloneAway With Words. That might be because this exciting Louisville-based trumpeter/composer hosts a noted weekly jam session at a club named for author and poetRudyard Kiplingor, it might suggest most correctly that it's the music that does the word speak here.
Away With Words delivers ten superb examples of contemporary-flavored jazz that showcase Tweddell's superior trumpet artistry and also his very formidable compositional skills. As trumpet player and soloist, Tweddell is non-stop high energy. Possessing an inviting, vibrato-less sound ("Thank You Jonathan Larson") and fine technical chops, he can spin his way around the horn and, while he's improvisationally unique, channels more modern trumpeters such as Woody Shaw, Tim Hagans and Nicholas Payton ("A New Ideal" "Away With Words"). He's a no-bones boppish risk-taker and his efforts pay off more frequently than not. Compositionally, Tweddell has melodic smarts flavored with wry rhythmic humor ("Bop Mucket") and he doesn't hide the fact that Thelonious Monk whispers in his ear ("Blueisville," "Walkin' with Shell").
Tweddell's fellow brigade members are individually and collectively up for the charge. Tenor saxophonist Dave Kana is as note-for-note fierce, chop-laden, and swinging as his leader ("A New Ideal"), running lengthy lines that creatively wrap around themselves and spin off new nuggets for exploration. Keyboardist Todd Hildreth shines throughout, as do bassist Luke McIntosh and drummer, Zach Hennedy. They all buy into the musical debate, offering First Class swinging support ("Grin. and Barret").
While Tweddell might be eschewing the verbiage, Away With Words is an auspicious debut effort for Tweddell and his fine team. That being the case, at the next jam session and all thereafter, Kipling probably should suggest Gunga Din leave his horn and cohorts back at the tent.
Killing Two Birds (Intro); Killing Two Birds with One’s Tone; Blueisville; Slumbersome; Bop Mucket; Thank You Jonathan Larson; A New Ideal; Walkin’ with Shell; Grin. And Barret; Away with Words.
Craig Tweddell: trumpet, flugelhorn; Dave Kana: tenor saxophone; Todd Hildreth: Fender Rhodes; Luke McIntosh: bass; Zach Hennedy: drums.
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