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(Put Your) Hands Together's cover art features a photo of trumpeter Nate Wooley putting his hands together, perhaps as a token of appreciation for his quintet's exemplary performance. Praise is in order because of the program's captivating synchronicity, artfully scaling between structure and improvisation to complement an abundance of polytonal facets. With penetrating compositions and thoughtful improvisational metrics, Wooley's bronze-toned lines and prophetic choruses loom as a commanding force.
"Ethyl" features an idiomatic tenor that differs from several other pieces on the album. Commencing with vibraphonist Matt Moran and bass clarinetist Josh Sinton's throbbing ostinato, sparkling contrasts set forth by Wooley's slurry-like wah-wah notes cast an affable outlook that generates a liquescent tonality. But the quintet breezily launches into a crisp free-bop vamp led by Sinton's torrid soloing, spiced with gravelly nuances. Energetic, linear, and sublime, "Ethyl," is designed with variances in pitch and buoyant theme-building exercises.
Wooley and associates offer brain food for the psyche's insatiable appetite. His solicitous and largely mesmeric arrangements reaffirm his mounting prominence in the boundless realm of jazz improvisation.
As a kid, my mom told me I'd like jazz. I thought she was nuts. Then I went to hear Cannonball Adderley (with Nat Adderley, George Duke, Walter Booker, Roy McCurdy and Airto) and everything changed. Yeah, mom knows best.