Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

380

Bill Carrothers: Joy Spring

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
Pianist Bill Carrothers has narrowed his often expansive focus. Where the marvelous and career-defining Armistice 1918 (Sketch Records, 2004) concerned itself with the scope of World War I, and I Love Paris (Pirouet Records, 2005) explored popular songs from the twenties through the forties, Joy Spring zeros in on a smaller slice of a more recent history: the music of died-too-young hard bop trumpeter Clifford Brown.

Brown (b.1930, d. 1956), was a young phenom who enjoyed only a four-year recording career in the early to mid-fifties, but he was one of bebop's pioneers, putting out a remarkable number of albums in his brief moment in the spotlight, by today's standards. Teamed with drummer Max Roach and pianist Richie Powell (Bud Powell's brother) in the Clifford Brown & Max Roach Quintet, he waxed numerous classic cuts that are now considered bop standards. On Joy Spring Carrothers covers and/or reinvents—and always puts his off-kilter personal touch on—a dozen of these gems.

The disc opens with the Benny Golson-penned "Junior's Arrival." Carrothers and his trio-mates glide into a rollicking roll, adding sparkle and pop to a reverent take on the tune, leaving no doubt that that this is hard bop, much akin to the approach Bud Powell took with his Bud Plays Bird (Roulette Records, 1958), a tribute to alto saxophone giant Charlie Parker. But with the title tune, Carrothers goes it (nearly) solo, and slows the bright romp of the original down to a beautiful dirge.

The devil-may-care momentum of hard bop's bounce and ebullience is back on Richie Powell's "Jacqui." The trio is big on interaction and spontaneity, lending the feeling that they didn't sit around and do ten takes of each tune; they just got in there and nailed them. The sound is fresh and on edge. Bassist Drew Gress and drummer Bill Stewart are Carrother's trio mates here, the same two-thirds of a piano trio that contributed so ably to Marc Copland's Night Whispers, the third volume in his New York Trio Recordings triptych masterpiece. That they can keep up with and accentuate the charging, quirky, headlong ideas and unpredictable tangents of Carrothers is simply amazing.

This is a masterfully sequenced album. The up-tempo "Jacqui" leads into another barn-burner, "Gerkin for Perkin," followed by the loveliest imaginable, Carrothers-esque ballad take on Victor Young's "Delilah." Then there's the drifting tempo of "Gertrude's Bounce," featuring the leader's delicate touch and Stewart's shuffling drums. Duke Jordan's "Jordu" struts out with a metronomic march rhythm, with Carrother's playing flashy and bright, leaning in a ragtime direction. "Daahoud" sizzles along, and "Time," opening on a lugubrious bass solo, injects a late night, sitting-all-alone with a drink mood.

"I Remember Clifford," Benny Golson's wistful tribute to "Brownie," is slowed to a gorgeous crawl and closes this standout set, one that should lift the profile of the idiosyncratically original Carrothers up where it belongs, into the top echelon of today's jazz pianists.

Track Listing: Junior's Arrival; Joy Spring; Jacqui; Gerkin for Perkin; Delilah; Gertrude's Bounce; Jordu; Daahoud; Time; Powell's Prances; Tiny Capers; I Remember Clifford.

Personnel: Bill Carrothers: piano; Drew Gress: bass; Bill Stewart: drums.

Title: Joy Spring | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Pirouet Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

The Best Things In Life Are Free

The Best Things In Life Are Free

Bill Carrothers
Play Day

Album Reviews
Extended Analysis
Album Reviews
Extended Analysis
Interviews
Album Reviews
Genius Guide to Jazz
Album Reviews
Interviews
Read more articles
Red Planet

Red Planet

Shifting Paradigm Records
2017

buy
Love And Longing

Love And Longing

Bridge Boy Music
2013

buy
Sunday Morning

Sunday Morning

Bridge Boy Music
2013

buy
Family Life

Family Life

Pirouet Records
2012

buy
Castaways

Castaways

Pirouet Records
2012

buy
A Night at the Village Vanguard

A Night at the...

Pirouet Records
2011

buy

Related Articles

Read Day to Day Album Reviews
Day to Day
By Paul Naser
May 24, 2019
Read Theia Album Reviews
Theia
By Jim Worsley
May 24, 2019
Read Ain't Nothing But a Cyber Coup & You Album Reviews
Ain't Nothing But a Cyber Coup & You
By Dan McClenaghan
May 24, 2019
Read Nexus Album Reviews
Nexus
By Jakob Baekgaard
May 23, 2019
Read The Second Coming Album Reviews
The Second Coming
By Daniel Barbiero
May 23, 2019
Read Luminária Album Reviews
Luminária
By John Sharpe
May 23, 2019