The “Young Lions” of the 1970’s? Now we refer to them as the “70’s Jazz Pioneers”. Perhaps in the year 2010 some will refer to Wynton Marsalis, Roy Hargrove, Antonio Hart and Joshua Redman, as the (mainstream) “80’s Jazz Pioneers”? Although, this writer would hardly cite Redman or Hargrove as true pioneers but this is good fodder for ongoing debates et al.
Here, those 70’s’ Pioneers reunite at New York City’s famous “Town Hall” to perform well known compositions by jazz artists, who were transforming jazz into a newer realm or perhaps presented a model which paralleled the changing or turbulent times of the late 60’s, early 70’s. “Live at The Town Hall, NYC” captures the spirit as Randy Brecker (tp), Dave Liebman (saxophones), Pat Martino (gtr) and Joanne Brackeen (p) take the brunt of the solos on sturdy and relatively mainstream renditions of Herbie Hancock’s “Cantaloupe Island and Chick Corea’s “500 Miles High”. The rock solid rhythm section of Buster Williams (b) and Al Foster (d) fare well although Foster seems relatively complacent to play it even keel, employing a low key or non-obtrusive textbook style approach. A minor beef, yet this writer feels that Foster is one of the best small group, namely piano trio drummers in the business despite his work with Miles’ Electric bands of the 70’s.
Covers of Stanley Turrentine’s pleasant “Sugar”, Freddie Hubbard’s engaging “Red Clay” and Miles’ classic “All Blues” are true to form if not magical or full of surprises. The simple beauty lies within the compositions and the proficient execution displayed throughout this event; although, a few up-tempo numbers in the mix may have livened the proceedings up a few notches. ***
Tracks: 1) Cantaloupe Island 2) Sugar 3) 500 Miles High 4) Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise 5) Red Clay 6) All Blues