Larry Newcomb Quartet: Love, Dad

Jack Bowers By

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Larry Newcomb Quartet: Love, Dad
Guitarist Larry Newcomb has dedicated Love, Dad, his third recording as leader, to his three sons, one of whom—Jake Newcomb—is the bassist in his dad's quartet. Even though Larry must be elated to have a son who is walking, as it were, in his musical footsteps, it's clear that Jake isn't on board simply because his name is Newcomb—he belongs. That sentiment is nowhere more evident than on bassist Oscar Pettiford's "Tricotism," a sunny showpiece for the instrument wherein Jake's resonant bass carries the melody and he delivers one in a series of perceptive solos.

That's not meant to diminish the work of pianist Thomas Royal or drummer Dave Marsh who furnish a substantial amount of the horsepower that drives this buoyant session, as their talents are essential to its success. The album opens and closes with exquisite standards—"You Stepped Out of a Dream," "The Song Is You"—encircling half a dozen compositions by the elder Newcomb, the above-mentioned "Tricotism" and one curious but nonetheless effective choice, the theme from the television series "Secret Agent Man." While Newcomb's originals are never less than respectable—"Love, Dad" is based on the chord changes of "Stella By Starlight"—another bona fide standard or two wouldn't have been unwelcome.

As it is, the quartet acquits itself well on "Love, Dad" and the other numbers including the Latin-leaning "Essential Messengers" and Thelonious Monkish "Cliffhanger Blues," the melodious jazz waltz "Soiree," the tender ballad "Hearts in Suspension" and earnest "Love Intentionally." Everyone in the ensemble solos well, and there are sharp and vigorous four-bar exchanges by all hands on "The Song Is You." Even so, it is Larry Newcomb's genial guitar that sets the compass, and he gives no cause for complaint, darting through each number with agility and elan. Everyone meshes well, which is what quartets should do, making Love, Dad a smooth and pleasurable listening experience.

Track Listing

You Stepped Out of a Dream; Essential Messengers; Cliffhanger Blues; Love, Dad; Tricotism; Soiree; Secret Agent Man; Hearts in Suspension; Love Intentionally; The Song Is You.


Larry Newcomb: guitar; Thomas Royal: piano; Jake Newcomb: bass; Dave Marsh: drums.

Album information

Title: Love, Dad | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: Essential Messenger Records

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