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Farnell Newton: Feel The Love

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Farnell Newton: Feel The Love
Posi-Tone Records produces coherent projects and maintains high standards in part by keeping things in-house; that is, frequently drawing on a substantial roster of affiliated artists to serve on a particular leader's record. A case in point is Feel The Love, Farnell Newton's third release for the label. While Newton's measured, concise, full-toned trumpet stylings and five, melodically rich compositions are a large part of the record's appeal, there are other factors that stand out.

By turns dazzling, sneaky, combustible, and steadfast, a rhythm section comprised of pianist Art Hirahara, bassist Boris Kozlov and drummer Rudy Royston (who enliven a total of five of Posi-Tone's 2021 releases), exert a galvanizing influence on eight of the disc's eleven tracks. Their audacity in stretching the music into various shapes while somehow keeping the center intact is reminiscent of the 1960s Miles Davis unit of Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, and Tony Williams, as well as the triumvirate of Jaki Byard, Richard Davis, and Alan Dawson on some of Booker Ervin's Prestige Records sides from the same era. The three remaining tracks, featuring Hirahara and Kozlov with drummer Joe Strasser (who plays on some of the label's dates over the past few years), are engaging in a somewhat more conservative, feet on the ground manner.

The connections continue with the inclusion of stimulating, off-kilter compositions by Posi-Tone artists who do not make an appearance, tenor saxophonist Sean Nowell ("Pale") and bassist Peter Brendler ("Lawn Darts"). Perhaps the record's boldest move is the rotating cast of guest saxophonists, all but one of whom have appeared on the label's twenty-first century releases. While "Feel The Love," "The Force of Gravity," and "Our Chosen Family," make it clear that Newton doesn't necessarily need a front-line partner, elsewhere alto saxophonists Jaleel Shaw, Patrick Cornelius, and Braxton Cook, plus tenor man Brandon Wright, serve as apposite foils for the trumpeter's straightforward improvisations.

Here's a small portion of the record's highlights. During the title track, Newton deftly navigates the tune's form and chord changes, and pursues a methodical, steady course in the face of aggressive, peppery support by Hirahara and Royston. His solo on "A Child Not Yet Born" sounds tart yet doesn't abandon the track's ballad feel. Kozlov's irregular bass lines make an impression without detracting from the leader's "The Force of Gravity" improvisation. Strasser's deftly placed snare drum accents reinforce the nifty bebop head of Hirahara's "Laws of Motion." Royston's daring rhythms and bold textures serve as connective tissue throughout the in-and-out of tempo, often run-on swing of "Lawn Darts."

Feel The Love is recommended for Newton's horn, a stellar rhythm section, a variety of stimulating compositions, and the efforts of several Posi-Tone regulars.

Track Listing

Feel The Love; Affectionately Roy; I'll Catch You; A Child Not Yet Born; The Bluest Eyes; Litoral; Pale; The Force Of Gravity; Laws Of Motion; Lawn Darts; Our Chosen Family.

Personnel

Boris Kozlov
bass, acoustic
Braxton Cook
saxophone
Jaleel Shaw
saxophone, alto
Brandon Wright
saxophone
Patrick Cornelius
saxophone, alto
Michael Dease
trombone

Album information

Title: Feel The Love | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Posi-Tone Records


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