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Sean Jones: No Need for Words

Raul d'Gama Rose By

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Trumpeter Sean Jones has something to say and he says it in his inimitably bright, clear and soaring voice. This is clearly why he is fast becoming associated with the renaissance of the instrument that was brought about by an early mentor, Wynton Marsalis. Jones is a deeply spiritual player. His impulse to adorn notes with joyous phrases and lines comes from gospel roots. He preaches as he lets his trumpet sing and he urges his ensemble of players the laity, so to speak, to respond to the lofty, majestic homilies that seem to be sparked by mighty psalms, couched in simple songs that roar with righteousness. Or they may be melodies that burn with zeal for greater glory, levitating with burnished splendor as they emerge, set free from the gleaming bell of his trumpet, sounding as if from a flaming pulpit. No matter where Jones positions himself, he is always poised to soar into the stratosphere, only to swoop down as if from a silver cloud to gather his congregation and whip up a frenzied fervor among all who would hear him and his ensemble. At other times his music is like a tender caress, stroked out of his benign horn.

No Need for Words is a tantalizing paradigm. This very vocal music obviates the need for verbiage that would otherwise describe the experience contained in the songs, no matter the urge for lyrical narratives and lofty sermons. No matter that conventional wisdom might suggest some poetry—even in the vocabularies of music—may be necessary to enable melodies to rise above the prosaic. For instance, a title like "Look and See" might seem to be a call to follow a pointed finger, but not in Jones' book. Here is actually a call to share in a visionary perception that pierces the disappearing horizon as Jones and alto saxophonist Brian Hogans, together with pianist Orrin Evans, ruffle the melodic and harmonic road that leads to a wholly new set of vistas where drummer Obed Calvaire redraws the vanishing points of the song with pomp and circumstance. The emotional windup of the album is reached in the taut tessellations of "Obsession (Cloud Nine)."

Along the way, there is plenty of emotion of another kind: the gorgeous, elegiac beauty in the diaphanous beauty of "Momma," especially in the wailing high note that Jones repeats as if to emphasize the depth of his love; and in the edginess and elasticity of "Touch and Go," which stutters and swings around the rattle and swishing of Calvaire's skins and shimmering cymbals before settling down into a tantalizing walking and skipping pace. The gleaming, bronzed beauty of the almost statuesque grace of "No Need for Words" seems almost too much to bear for the trumpeter, as the music is squeezed out of embouchure and bell. The music here seems virtually static at first, only to spin gently around bass and drums. At times breathtaking, No Need for Words is an album of exceeding beauty.

Track Listing: Look and See; Olive Juice; Momma; Touch and Go; No Need for Words; Obsession (Cloud Nine); Love's Fury; Forgiveness (Release).

Personnel: Sean Jones: trumpet; Brian Hogans: alto saxophone, strings (7); Orrin Evans: piano, keyboards (7); Obed Calvaire: drums; Luques Curtis: bass; Khalil Kwame Bell: percussion (2, 7, 8); Corey Henry: organ (8); Matt Stevens: guitar (7).

Title: No Need for Words | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Mack Avenue Records

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