302

Tommy Flanagan Trio: Sea Changes

Chris M. Slawecki By

Sign in to view read count
Tommy Flanagan Trio: Sea Changes
Sea Changes is an honest-to-god jazzconcept albumfrom composer / pianist Tommy Flanagan. Born in 1930 Detroit, but known more resonantly as a ‘Big Apple’ jazzman, where by the mid-1950s he had moved to groove alongside the likes of Coleman Hawkins, Miles Davis and Oscar Pettiford. Flanagan was frequently Bud Powell’s replacement at Birdland, and has also worked extensively with vocalists Tony Bennett and for nearly a dozen years (off and on) with Ella Fitzgerald. For the past two decades he has performed almost exclusively in small ensembles such as the one captured here with the remarkably single-minded rhythm team of bassist Peter Washington and drummer Louis Nash.

On Sea Changes, the pianist reinvents several tunes from his debut album under his own name, Overseas, released in 1957 by the Swedish company Metronome and featuring Flanagan with drummer Elvin Jones and bassist Wilbur Little, his then-current cohorts in the J. J. Johnson band on tour in Sweden. He reprises several of his own compositions – "Eclypso," "Verdandi," "Delarna," "Beats Up" – and his cover of Charlie Parker’s "Relaxin’ At Camarillo," then cleverly complements these with marine-influenced new titles like "How Deep Is The Ocean?" (Irving Berlin), "I Cover The Waterfront" (Johnny Green) and "The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea" (Harold Arlen). Flanagan also honors the city in which he recorded Overseas for Metronome with a glowing rendition of "Dear Old Stockholm" to end Sea Changes.

Flanagan find some seriously deep blues in the workhorse "C. C. Rider" and in "Ocean," so deep they’re almost purple, and as a listener you find yourself wondering if you’ve ever heard Irving Berlin sound quite this funky before. "Beats Up" and "Verdandi" (which Flanagan recalls dedicating "to the Swedish Temperance Society. I think it’s best to be sober to get through that tune!" in the liner notes) crackle crisply through more frantic yet never out-of-control rhythms. Washington and Nash perform together like an absolute two-headed, four-handed rhythm monster throughout. As a composer, Flanagan frequently delivers user-friendly, simple yet memorable melodies – I seriously doubt that I’ve ever heard "Delarna" or "Eclypso" before, but they both sound so darn FAMILIAR; "Delarna" brings to mind the gorgeous wonder of "Embraceable You," or perhaps it’s "Isn’t It Romantic?", and "Eclypso" bops and weaves like a compact left hook in a clever Sonny Rollins workout.

You’d imagine that an artist reaching the fourth decade into his body of work might have "sea-n changes". But in its own dignified, almost quiet, way, Sea Changes demonstrates that Tommy Flanagan remains a musician’s musician in every sense of the word – as an improviser and soloist, as a composer and arranger, as a melodic interpreter and as an accompanist for ample, robust solos by his musical partners. Proves it one more time, yet again and still.

Track Listing

Sea Changes; Verdandi; Delarna; Eclypso; How Deep Is The Ocean; C. C. Rider; Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea; Beat

Personnel

Tommy Flanagan (piano), Peter Washington (bass), Lewis Nash (drums).

Album information

Title: Sea Changes | Year Released: 1997 | Record Label: Evidence Music

Post a comment about this album

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Afrika Love
Alchemy Sound Project
Sunday At De Ruimte
Marta Warelis / Frank Rosaly / Aaron Lumley /...
Westward Bound!
Harold Land
Tread Lightly
Trøen Arnesen Quartet
MMBC Terma
Michael Bisio / MMBC
Koki Solo
Natsuki Tamura
Colibri Rojo
Camilia Nebbia

Popular

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.