All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review


Bruce Hornsby: Camp Meeting

Mark F. Turner By

Sign in to view read count
The funny thing about roots is that you don't know how they really look until you shake loose all of the dirt. Who knew that the "popular music" pianist/songwriter/singer, Bruce Hornsby, was a jazz musician at heart? Many may recall the Grammy Award winning artist from his 1986 platinum hit and album of the same title The Way It Is (RCA), marked by new folk sounds, social consciousness lyrics, and unorthodox yet glowing piano playing. Hornsby has sinced crossed the borders of jazz, pop, classical, bluegrass and rock music, to the chagrin of critics who can't quite put him into a specific category. And here is Camp Meeting , a "Sho' Nuff," "straight no chaser,"—jazz recording, that is illuminating, inventive, and immersive.

With a set of eleven selections covering fresh material as well as covers by Ornette Coleman, Miles Davis, Keith Jarrett and others, Hornsby admittedly needed to go and hone his jazz axe skills. But with the help of a trio of jazz heavies including drummer Jack DeJohnette and bassist Christian McBride, they come out of the woodshed literally swinging and with plenty of gusto. When you listen to the incendiary version of Coltrane's "Giant Steps," there's no doubt Hornsby's done his homework and then some.

Hornsby's piano skills are profound: swinging hard, ruminating softly on a tender ballad, or wailing the blues. Quick and quirky improvisations, smooth changes in tempo and a sensitive touch, are all present in the repertoire and most importantly, his sound. McBride's bass is resonant, cracking and emotive; his soloing, as heard on "Celia" is excellent. DeJohnette is still a monster drummer of impeccable timing and force, his rhythms massaging and driving the music. The trio's essence is pure on Ornette Coleman's "Questions and Answers" as walking bass line, free piano soloing and a variety of tricks from DeJohnette jump starts the recording.

Drawing from a deep well of Hornsby's many influences, there's a little something for everyone. Folk and swing on "Camp Meeting," a thick Irish Riverdance—like savor on "Stacked Marcy Possum," risky Latin on "Un Poco Loco," by pianist Bud Powell, or the obscure '70s Keith Jarrett piece, "Death and the Flower." All seem to flow naturally out of Hornsby's waters.

The jazz folk will critique it, and others may or may not get it; but those who know good music will appreciate and hope Hornsby revisits the Camp Meeting again, very soon.

Track Listing: Questions and Answers; Charlie, Woody 'n' You; Solar; Death and the Flower; Camp Meeting; Giant Steps; Celia; We'll Be Together Again; Stacked Marcy Possum; Straight, No Chaser; Un Poco Loco.

Personnel: Bruce Hornsby: piano; DeJohnette: drums; Christian McBride: bass.

Title: Camp Meeting | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Legacy Recordings


comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
CD/LP/Track Review
Music and the Creative Spirit
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Rehab Reunion

Rehab Reunion

429 Records


Red Hook Summer

The Plumed Horse



Verve Music Group

Camp Meeting

Camp Meeting

Legacy Recordings

Bruce Hornsby: Intersections [1985-2005]

Bruce Hornsby:...

Legacy Recordings


Halcyon Days

Emerald Green Sound


Related Articles

Read Peaks of Light CD/LP/Track Review
Peaks of Light
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 18, 2018
Read In Denmark I Was Born CD/LP/Track Review
In Denmark I Was Born
by Gareth Thompson
Published: March 18, 2018
Read Dreams of Belonging CD/LP/Track Review
Dreams of Belonging
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 18, 2018
Read In Copenhagen - Live at Jazzhus Slukefter 1983 CD/LP/Track Review
In Copenhagen - Live at Jazzhus Slukefter 1983
by Chris Mosey
Published: March 18, 2018
Read A Year Ago Today CD/LP/Track Review
A Year Ago Today
by Doug Collette
Published: March 18, 2018
Read Ravensburg CD/LP/Track Review
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: March 17, 2018
Read "Tall Tales And Alibis" CD/LP/Track Review Tall Tales And Alibis
by Doug Collette
Published: March 11, 2018
Read "Kurrent" CD/LP/Track Review Kurrent
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: November 15, 2017
Read "Provenance" CD/LP/Track Review Provenance
by Geno Thackara
Published: November 11, 2017
Read "On The Way Downtown: Recorded Live On FolkScene" CD/LP/Track Review On The Way Downtown: Recorded Live On FolkScene
by Doug Collette
Published: October 28, 2017
Read "Riser" CD/LP/Track Review Riser
by Roger Farbey
Published: July 16, 2017
Read "Glitter" CD/LP/Track Review Glitter
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 12, 2017