With his inspired quintet, trumpeter Sean Jones goes back to his roots on this album, interpreting original music and the standard repertoire, focusing on gospel. His gorgeous trumpet tone and down-home technique are the centerpiece of the album, as they were on his previous two releases. Jones likes to express himself from a traditional point of view, offering vocal-like phrases that meld seamlessly with one another. With alto saxophonist Tia Fuller providing cohesive harmony, the trumpeter emerges as a powerful melodic force.
For much of the album, Jones works with his quintet, which also includes pianist Orrin Evans, bassist Luques Curtis and drummer Obed Calvaire. His quartet interpretations of "Come Sunday and "Lift Every Voice provide warm reflections, while his duet with pianist Eddie Howard on "I Need Thee soaks up centuries of emotional spirit. Earlier, Jones' solo interpretation of "Children's Hymn opens the album with a solemn embrace that runs through the session as a guiding theme and provides comfortable solace.
At times, he veers from the prayerful medium and allows spurts of meaningful celebration, as on his original "Offering Time and Evans' "Conversations, which comes loaded with rich, satisfying flugelhorn vibrations. Jones "speaks" through his horn to communicate with his audience, adding a tender touch and plenty of expression. He's open-horned for much of the session and more effective on the brighter trumpet celebrations. At the top of his game, Jones lifts tradition into the arms of all believers through a program that explores jazz's gospel roots.
Sean Jones: trumpet, flugelhorn; Tia Fuller: alto saxophone, flute, soprano saxophone; Orrin Evans: piano, electric piano, keyboard; Eddie Howard: organ, piano; Luques Curtis: acoustic bass; Obed Calvaire, Jerome Jennings: drums.
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