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Louis Hayes: Crisis

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Louis Hayes: Crisis
Louis Hayes—who has been a force in jazz drumming for more than sixty years, anchoring legendary groups led by Horace Silver, Cannonball Adderley, Oscar Peterson, John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins, among others—has assembled a quintet of New York City's finest for Crisis, wherein he pays musical tribute to some of his jazz colleagues, past and present, including Freddie Hubbard, Joe Farrell, Lee Morgan, Bobby Hutcherson and two members of his working unit, vibraphonist Steve Nelson and bassist Dezron Douglas.

The studio date opens with Farrell's Middle Eastern-leaning cooker, "Arab Arab," which shows, clearly and decisively, that Hayes has not yielded any leverage to Father Time and has chosen his teammates with care; Hayes, Douglas and pianist David Hazeltine comprise a stalwart rhythm section, and there are nimble solos by Nelson, Hazeltine and tenor saxophonist Abraham Burton. Hutcherson's genial "Roses Poses" is next, offering more of the same at a slightly slower tempo, before vocalist Camille Thurman joins the group for a tender reading of "I'm Afraid the Masquerade Is Over" (she returns on the standard "Where Are You?"). Perhaps in deference to Frank Sinatra's heart-rending version of "Where Are You?," the lament is taken at an accelerated tempo that does it no favors (scatting gaily when lamenting a lost and perhaps irretrievable love seems rather inappropriate). Morgan's less-than-dreamlike "Desert Moonlight" precedes that number, while Hayes' lone original, the good-natured "Creeping Crud" (arranged by Anthony Wonsey) follows.

Nelson wrote the ethereal "Alien Visitation," Hubbard the album's assertive title theme, Douglas the invigorating "Oxygen." The group closes with a high-energy version of "It's Only a Paper Moon," a Harold Arlen/Yip Harburg evergreen popularized in the '40s by Nat King Cole and Ella Fitzgerald. In sum, a very good session in which everyone has more than one chance to assume a leading role, and no-one comes up short, while Hayes shows there is more to longevity than merely hanging around.

Track Listing

Arab Arab; I'm Afraid the Masquerade Is Over; Desert Moonlight; Where Are You?; Creeping Crud; Alien Visitation; Crisis; Oxygen; It's Only a Paper Moon

Personnel

Louis Hayes: drums; Abraham Burton: saxophone, alto; Steve Nelson: vibraphone; David Hazeltine: piano; Dezron Douglas: bass; Camille Thurman: saxophone.

Album information

Title: Crisis | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Savant Records

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