263

Tim Hagans: Beautiful Lily

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Tim Hagans: Beautiful Lily While he's been by no means inactive, it's been six years since trumpeter Tim Hagans released his last album, Re-Animation: Live in Montreal, which found him exploring his own version of electronica/fusion. Beautiful Lily returns him to a mainstream acoustic setting, but with his stellar quartet—featuring pianist Marc Copland, bassist Drew Gress, and drummer Bill Stewart—it's anything but conventional.

Hagans and Copland have crossed paths before, most notably on Copland's Softly (Savoy, 1997)—also featuring Stewart—and on their duet disc Between the Lines (Steeplechase, 2001), which put their clear chemistry front and center. Clearly they share much in common, but under Hagans' leadership Copland is a considerably more outgoing player than he has been on his own recent releases, including the trio recording Some Love Songs (Pirouet, 2005) and his profoundly moving solo album Time Within Time (Hatology, 2005).

Still, there's no question that Hagans' more extroverted approach and Copland's more introverted abstraction do cross-pollinate. The four duet tracks that bookend and break up the quartet tracks—"Prologue," "Interlude I," "Interlude II," and "Epilogue"—are all relatively dark-hued and oblique. Copland's 5/4 tone poem "The Sun at the Zenith" is equally somber, revolving around a haunting bass pattern but retaining Copland's obscure melodic sense and sparsely played but nevertheless dense harmonics. Hagans' "Space Dozen" is also based on an elliptical bass line and more obscure harmonies, but Gress and Stewart give it a little more swing.

Both Hagan's title track and "Emazing" are closer to the center, and offer gentle Latin references, but in the hands of Copland, Gress, and Stewart the allusion is less obvious and more suggestive, with Hagans' solos economical and lyrical. In contrast, Copland's "Doyle's Foil" is a spirited swinger that gives Hagans the chance to demonstrate a greater range, especially after Copland's solo, where Hagans and Stewart go it alone during one of the disc's most energetic moments.

Hagans favours a warm, vibrato-less sound, but he's more Woody Shaw than Miles. On the boppish "Buck Eyes" he proves, like Kenny Wheeler, that it's possible to aim for the high notes without being brash, although he avoids the huge intervallic jumps that so strongly define Wheeler's approach.

Beautiful Lily marks the third time that Copland has been heard covering Wayne Shorter's classic "Footprints" this year. But while his own solo and trio versions were as enigmatic as Shorter himself, Hagans' quartet arrangement straddles the fence between mystery and clarity.

Beautiful Lily's mainstream approach is nevertheless considerably left of center. In part it's the material—both Hagans and Copland are more modernistic in their harmonic and rhythmic ideas. But equally it's the interpretation of the quartet, especially Gress' and Stewart's open-minded approach—which maintains a pulse without beating you over the head with it. Proof positive that the mainstream can retain a sense of adventure and contemporary edge, Beautiful Lily is also a welcome return for Hagans as a leader. Let's hope we don't have to wait another six years for the followup.


Track Listing: Prologue; Space Dozen; Beautiful Lily; DOyle's Foil; Interlude I; The Sun at the Zenith; Buck Eyes; Interlude II; Footprints; Emazing; Epilogue.

Personnel: Tim Hagans: trumpet; Marc Copland: piano; Drew Gress: bass; Bill Stewart: drums.

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Pirouet Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Deep" CD/LP/Track Review Deep
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 5, 2017
Read "Narrante" CD/LP/Track Review Narrante
by Mark Sullivan
Published: July 7, 2016
Read "Live" CD/LP/Track Review Live
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 31, 2016
Read "The Beautiful Day" CD/LP/Track Review The Beautiful Day
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 6, 2016
Read "Porgy and Bess Live" CD/LP/Track Review Porgy and Bess Live
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 8, 2016
Read "Legacy: A Coltrane Tribute" CD/LP/Track Review Legacy: A Coltrane Tribute
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 11, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!