Emmet Cohen: Future StrideBy
"Symphony Raps" resurrected from a late 1920s Louis Armstrong recording with the Carroll Dickerson Orchestra, comes driving out straight at you with all the street muster and merriment Cohen and his stalwart rhythm mates drummer Kyle Poole and bassist Russell Hall can stir up. It's a fun and frantic three minutes akin to watching a highlight loop of Keystone Cops misadventures. Next up, fellow jazz young 'uns trumpeter Marquis Hill and saxophonist Melissa Aldana illuminate the shimmering Cohen original "Reflections at Dusk" and from any vantage point you can feel a good day shading slowly to twilight.
From that dramatic turn of mood to the all-out groove swing of "Toast to Lo," dedicated to drummer Lawrence Leathers who was murdered in the Bronx in June 2019. Only 37, Leathers was a cherished friend to all in the quintet and they play their hearts out. A pure example of emphatic ensemble play, solos by Cohen, Hill and, especially Aldana, who burrows deep into her tone to express her sadness and fond recollections, will resonate with you for a good long while. The Cohen/Poole title tune hips, hops, skips and gathers some of the greatestFats Waller, Art Tatum, Teddy Wilson, James Johnsonall into one room and has a grand time upending, as well paying homage to, the whole vaunted tradition. Even a warhorse like "Dardanella" becomes vibrantly now in this trio's elastic hands.
With the rushing whoosh of New York at its power center, Cohen's "You Already Know" fully unleashes the quintet's fluency and agility as everyone takes their turn flying close to the sun and landing back safely in the their comrades midst. With a vivacious, downtown 'tude ease that predicates many repeated listenings, Cohen and a fleet fingered Hall take on Duke Ellington's "Pitter Panther Patter" itself a showcase for Ellington's once upstart, now legendary bassist Jimmy Blanton. Cohen, charismatic and poised as ever, closes out the highly charged Future Stride with the melodically endearing ballad "Little Angel," a testament to Hill's genuinely hushed lyricism. A sure 2021 best of.
Symphony Raps; Reflections at Dusk; Toast To Lo; Future Stride; Second Time Around; Dardanella; You Already Know; Pitter Panther Patter; My Heart Stood Still; Little Angel.
Emmet Cohen: piano; Kyle Poole: drums; Russell Hall: bass; Melissa Aldana: saxophone; Marquis Hill: trumpet.
Title: Future Stride | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Mack Avenue Records
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About Emmet Cohen
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