P>With each album it issues, Germany's Nagel Heyer label further solidifies in the minds of jazz fans what is becoming known as the "Nagel Heyer" sound. The label is becoming a citadel of mainstream jazz played by some of the most accomplished players on today's scene, irrespective of domicile. Here the list is impressive. Joining bassist Frank Tate are Harry Allen with his big tenor sound, veteran piano icon, Dave McKenna, one of the more facile guitarists around, Howard Alden and the inestimable Butch Miles holding everyone together, being more subdued than usual as he works in a small group context. With a lineup like this, exciting thoroughly enjoyable jazz is virtually guaranteed and that's just what the audience was treated to.
Tate leads these players at a live performance in Belfast. If there is any doubt about Tate's melodic way with bass, it is dispelled with his performance on this set, especially on such tunes as "The Touch of Your Lips" where he and Howard Alden exchange interesting ideas. But all the tracks capture the essence of jazz, melody, improvising, imaginative solos and strong ensemble work. All members of the group take their turn front and center expressing their musical thoughts on each item on the play list. Harry Allen's tenor is prominent throughout and is masterful on such cuts as "On the Alamo". One of the more clever arrangements is Jimmy Giuffre's famous "Four Brothers" with McKenna, Alden and Tate playing the parts of Herbie Stewart, Al Cohn and Serge Chalof as Allen plays Allen, sounding a bit like Zoot Sims. Everyone steps asides and let McKenna have "Chinatown, My Chinatown" all to himself with his magic left hand. Good stuff. And there's over an hour of good stuff on this fine release. Highly recommended.
Four Brothers; On the Alamo; I'll Only Miss Her When I Think of Her; Fred; Chinatown, My Chinatown; Lady Be Good; The Touch of Your Lips; Willow Weep for Me; Just You, Just Me; O Grande Amor
All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.
You Can Help
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.