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John R. Lamkin II: Movin'


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John R. Lamkin II: Movin'
Movin' from John Lamkin II, and The Favorites Jazz Quintet, marks only the third album in a career that has spanned four decades. The trumpeter and composer is a native of Atlantic City, New Jersey, and had his first taste of jazz on Kentucky Avenue before casinos took over that space. Before joining the University of Maryland Eastern Shore faculty, Lamkin taught music in South Carolina and Baltimore, Maryland. To bring jazz to his students, he introduced his classes to celebrated musicians, including Wynton Marsalis, Nicholas Payton, Robin Eubanks, Jimmy Heath, Benny Golson, Donald Byrd, and Stanley Turrentine. Lamkin has played with Sonny Stitt, Frank Foster, Harvey Mason, Cyrus Chestnut, Charles Fambrough, and many other well-known artists.

Lamkin's quintet has performed for nearly a decade, emphasizing infectious swing and the genre's New Orleans roots. He draws inspiration from traditional jazz greats like Horace Silver, Miles Davis, and Art Blakey, whose forceful, rhythmic playing style is influential in the group's sound. But where his Transitions (Self-Produced, 2019) was end-to-end high energy, Movin' has moments of reflection. "Eartha's Dance," is a laid-back tribute to Lamkin's late wife, who contributed vocals on Transitions. "Homage" and "Ode to George Floyd" are similarly introspective. Still, Lamkin avoids brooding as he and pianist Bob Butta inject uplifting passages.

Movin' hits its swinging stride on pieces such as "The Sportsman," "Blues for the Cage," and "Hittin' at the Haven." Bassist Mike Graham, saxophonist Michael Hairston and drummers Jessie Moody and Phillip Thomas contribute powerful performances, with bluesy melodies and interesting idiosyncrasies. The album closes with the traditional spiritual "Go Down Moses," one of ten compositions not written by Lamkin.

Lamkin's music is clearly for traditional jazz fans, but as the album title implies, forward momentum is essential to his message. His capable group is given room to express themselves throughout the program, and their improvisations are tasteful and restrained. Most pieces on Movin' take their time, building to a burning, elated equilibrium. The Favorites Jazz Quintet's solid team responsiveness makes the music exude with fun.

Track Listing

The Sportsman; Eartha's Dance; The Avenue; Homage; Baker's Closet; Ode to George Floyd; Keep it Movin'; Blues for the Cage; Hittin' at the Haven; Go Down Moses.


Additional Instrumentation

Craig Alston: saxophone (2, 5, 10); Blake Meister: bass (2, 5, 8, 10); John Lamkin III: drums (2, 5, 10); Phillip Thomas: drums (8).

Album information

Title: Movin' | Year Released: 2024 | Record Label: Self Produced

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