All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

343

John McNeil and Bill McHenry: Chill Morn He Climb Jenny

Raul d'Gama Rose By

Sign in to view read count
Navigating the wide avenue of American Song can be boring, because the same charts appear on album after album; but when musicians either pick little-known charts of the celebrated composers of the American Songbook, or add little-known composers to that musical tome, things get quirky, but utterly refreshing. This is exactly the case in point regarding Chill Morn He Climb Jenny, the anagrammatic title that would otherwise spell the names of thois quirky duo—trumpeter John McNeil and tenor saxophonist, Bill McHenry—together with bassist Joe Martin and drummer, Jochen Rueckert. Moreover, for this date the artists have also sought to feature some of the most widely known songs by the composers of those songs which feature a classic narrative drama over almost everything else. The duo has once again chosen to perform three compositions by Russ Freeman and one each by the inimitable Thad Jones, trumpeter and early John Coltrane collaborator Wilbur Harden, and Miles Davis (the mysteriously titled and simmering "Pfrancing") .

McNeil and McHenry, who thanks to the acronym do not sound like senior partners in a law firm, have made it known that the criteria for selecting the work for the album was not so much a classic song, but rather a chart that was written with a twist. John Blackburn and Karl Suessdorf's "Midnight in Vermont," for instance, broke the popular format for song, featuring two six-bar choruses instead of the customary eight bars, and also lyrics that do not rhyme. Russ Freeman's "Maid in Mexico" originally had choruses that used Latin meter, but with solos that were straight-ahead. Jones' rarely played "Three and One" is a mesmerizing rhythmic wringer that cuts loose in classic bebop fashion. Of course McNeil and McHenry reserve their most typically irreverent approach for the work they have chosen, infusing all of the charts with wry humor, spry, elastic harmonic shape-shifting and ingenious polyrhythm courtesy of Martin and Rueckert.

While this music may not seem an obvious fit for musicians such as McNeil and McHenry—who have favored an angular approach to music, following largely Ornette Coleman's harmolodic theories—they have ripped up the playbook and recast it favoring irony, humor and an almost childlike reimagining of even the most challenging American Songs. This is perfectly showcased in the performance of "Moonlight in Vermont," a lyrical song whose romance is in Suessdorf's words, but which are absent, replaced, instead by two characters: a trumpeter and a saxophonist who recast the scene with all its sensuousness.

There does not seem to be any stopping McNeil and McHenry, who have now followed up their earlier Rediscovery (Sunnyside, 2008) with Chill Morn He Climb Jenny. And the way is clear for another wild ramble through the American Songbook. After all they have only just begun.

Track Listing: Moonlight in Vermont; Batter Up; Aren't You Glad You're You; Maid in Mexico; Bea's Flat; Three And One; Carioca; Wells Fargo; No Blues (Pfrancing).

Personnel: John McNeil: trumpet; Bill McHenry: tenor saxophone; Joe Martin: bass; Jochen Rueckert: drums.

Title: Chill Morn He Climb Jenny | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Sunnyside Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Brother Frank

Brother Frank

John McNeil
East Coast Cool

CD/LP/Track Review
Extended Analysis
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Hush Point III

Hush Point III

Sunnyside Records
2017

buy
John McNeil: Hush Point

John McNeil: Hush...

Sunnyside Records
2014

buy
Hush Point

Hush Point

Sunnyside Records
2014

buy
Hush Point

Hush Point

Sunnyside Records
2013

buy
 

Chill Morn He Climb...

Sunnyside Records
2011

buy
Chill Morn He Climb Jenny

Chill Morn He Climb...

Sunnyside Records
2010

buy

Related Articles

Read Grime Scene CD/LP/Track Review
Grime Scene
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 20, 2018
Read (Willisau) 1991 Studio CD/LP/Track Review
(Willisau) 1991 Studio
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 20, 2018
Read Tradition CD/LP/Track Review
Tradition
by Chris May
Published: June 20, 2018
Read Life Anthem CD/LP/Track Review
Life Anthem
by Jerome Wilson
Published: June 20, 2018
Read Closer To Home CD/LP/Track Review
Closer To Home
by Geannine Reid
Published: June 20, 2018
Read 1538 CD/LP/Track Review
1538
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 19, 2018
Read "Public Access / Headline / Crossings" CD/LP/Track Review Public Access / Headline / Crossings
by John Kelman
Published: March 25, 2018
Read "Eternal Life" CD/LP/Track Review Eternal Life
by Jerome Wilson
Published: December 14, 2017
Read "Never Bet The Devil Your Head" CD/LP/Track Review Never Bet The Devil Your Head
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 24, 2018
Read "Live In Europe" CD/LP/Track Review Live In Europe
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: May 16, 2018
Read "The Spirit Of Piteşti" CD/LP/Track Review The Spirit Of Piteşti
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 17, 2017
Read "Takunde" CD/LP/Track Review Takunde
by Chris Mosey
Published: October 8, 2017