Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

316

Bruce Hornsby: Camp Meeting

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Camp Meeting, pianist Bruce Hornsby's high profile jazz trio session with heavyweight bassist Christian McBride and iconic drummer Jack DeJohnette, may seem to have materialized out of thin air, but don't you believe them. Hornsby has been gradually building to this statement his whole career.

Last year's retrospective boxed set, Intersections (RCA), revealed the varied interests of a musician who has long charted his own path. As a touring member of the Grateful Dead and regular collaborator with bluegrass legend Ricky Skaggs, Hornsby has proven his improvisational mettle in a plethora of situations.

Hornsby's rollicking cover of "Backhand," from As Long As Your Living Yours: The Music of Keith Jarrett (BMG, 2000), suggested a more adventurous and multi- dimensional artist than conventional wisdom suggested. Sporadic collaborations with Branford Marsalis and Pat Metheny further supported the contention that the Grammy winning pop song tunesmith would one day make a jazz record.

Hornsby's technique might not be quite up to his sidemen's level, but he certainly is game; he throttles the keys with deliberate dissonances, leans hard into the blues and skirts gracefully around ballads, while leaping dexterously through bop standards with bracing angularity. Hornsby moves beyond his collegiate jazz studies, taking liberties with phrasing and harmonics a more conservative musician wouldn't risk.

Stretching past his own comfort zone, bassist Christian McBride unleashes a spasmodic solo fraught with wailing arco dissonances during an Ivesian interlude in "Charlie, Woody 'n' You" that genuinely surprises. Conversely, his funky break on the title track and ebullient, melodic variations on Hornsby's driving, Gaelic- tinged "Stacked Mary Possum" are positively exuberant.

A marvel of polyrhythmic fury and percussive invention, DeJohnette's spry interjections and sly accents are mesmerizing. But he has an unfortunate tendency to occasionally insert subtle, but obtrusive electronic drum machine loops into a few tunes. Like glorified click tracks, they ultimately prove more distracting than supportive.

Opening with the previously unrecorded Ornette Coleman composition, the roiling "Questions and Answers," Hornsby ably demonstrates his abilities and aesthetic allegiances. Throughout the album, the trio adds their own subtle twists and turns to a program built primarily on classic jazz standards.

Keith Jarrett's "Death and the Flower" is delivered in delicate neo-classical fashion, with gentle dynamics and sensitivity, while Bud Powell's "Un Poco Loco" is conveyed with punchy brio. A handful of originals pepper the album, and anyone exposed to Hornsby's platinum selling The Way It Is (RCA, 1986), will instantly recognize his distinctively bittersweet new folk harmonies and uplifting, bucolic Americana.

Holding his own in the company of world-class improvisers through a program of iconic standards from giants like Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Thelonious Monk, Hornsby succeeds beyond expectations in making a verifiable jazz record. Solid and surprisingly inventive, Camp Meeting is likely a strong indicator of things to come.


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


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Rain or Shine CD/LP/Track Review Rain or Shine
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 15, 2017
Read Lighthouse CD/LP/Track Review Lighthouse
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 15, 2017
Read Copenhagen Live 1964 CD/LP/Track Review Copenhagen Live 1964
by John Sharpe
Published: December 15, 2017
Read Somewhere Glimmer CD/LP/Track Review Somewhere Glimmer
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 15, 2017
Read Lattice CD/LP/Track Review Lattice
by John Sharpe
Published: December 14, 2017
Read I Think I’m Going To Eat Dessert CD/LP/Track Review I Think I’m Going To Eat Dessert
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 14, 2017
Read "The Romeo and Juliet Project" CD/LP/Track Review The Romeo and Juliet Project
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 23, 2017
Read "The Stone House" CD/LP/Track Review The Stone House
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 27, 2017
Read "I Can See Clearly Now" CD/LP/Track Review I Can See Clearly Now
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 7, 2017
Read "Trandans" CD/LP/Track Review Trandans
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 20, 2017
Read "Runnin' for the Ghost" CD/LP/Track Review Runnin' for the Ghost
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: September 1, 2017
Read "Don't Blink" CD/LP/Track Review Don't Blink
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 4, 2017

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!