Bassist Cameron Brown has had a long and illustrious career as a sideman. He has appeared on around 100 recordings, providing an anchor for luminaries such as Archie Shepp
, Roswell Rudd
and Beaver Harris
, as well as the celebrated Don Pullen
Quartet. In 2003 Brown stepped out as a leader with Here and How!
, culled from a 1997 Belgian tour with vocalist Sheila Jordan
, trumpeter Dave Ballou
, drummer Leon Parker
, and legendary tenor saxophonist Dewey Redman
guesting on three tracks. But one CD was not enough to present all the excellent material, so now there's Here and How! Volume 2!
, which consists of the same group minus Redman.
The CD starts with the vibrant "Soft Seas," an engaging piece with a fresh, open tone and a nice, easy groove. Jordan scores on the lyrics and her effervescent scatting, Brown's bass is loose and funky, and Ballou's trumpet wonderfully crisp. Although Belgium is certainly a long way from the Caribbean, the group channels the feeling of the islands, creating a joyful, buoyant vibe. The quartet shines on Charlie Parker's "Confirmation," which includes lyrics by Jordan. It's always a pleasure to hear her gloriously malleable voice, and on this song she soars and bops over Brown's soulful swing. The CD ends with "Double Arc Jake," a delightful and effortless mix of genres, including calypso and Native American rhythms. The other songs explore a range of moods, including Brown's resonant "Baby Suite," Cole Porter's "You Do Something to Me," and "Medley," a heartfelt tribute to now-deceased musical comrades that combines compositions by Brown and Jordan.
This is a terrific quartet, a rich mix of prodigious gifts and decades of playing on jazz' frontlines. Hopefully Brown will step into a leadership more often.
Track Listing: Soft Seas (Back Home); Baby Suite; You Do Something to Me; Confirmation (Dreamboat); Medley: Mourning Song & Lullaby for George, Don, and Dannie; Double Arc Jake.
Personnel: Sheila Jordan: vocals; Dave Ballou: trumpet, flugelhorn; Cameron Brown: bass; Leon Parker: drums.
Year Released: 2009
| Record Label: OmniTone
| Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream