Who says universities create an ivory tower mentality? Educator and vibes master Steve Hobbs has put out a delectably enjoyable CD of accessible, yet thought-provoking music. Employing a front line of Tom Harrell (trumpet, flugelhorn), Dave Valentin (flute), and Bob Malach (tenor), his lighter than air thematic statements serve as a perfect foil to the percussive underpinnings of Hobbs and pianist Bill O'Connell.
All of Hobbs' compositions are catchy, memorable, and thoroughly enjoyable. The modal "Blued Swings," with its sophisticated interplay between Valentin and Harrell, is breezy. The lithe and lively melody line of "Spring Cycle" will stay in your mind long after the CD is over. Ditto for "Para Mis Padres," with its lovely and breathy flute melody. The originals by O'Connell are just as well crafted, coherently weaving in the solos as if they were part of the composition.
The driving "Crosswinds," strutting "Marionettes," and rhythm-shifting "Loon Lake" all fit into the mainstream category, with excellently defined solos provided by Harrell and Malach. The only potential indulgence regarding this record relates to the listener, who may want to put it on over and over.
Track Listing: Blued Swings; Spring Cycle; Rough and Ready; Para Mis Padres; On the Street Where You
Live; Jean; Mr. PC; Loon Lake; Crosswinds; Marionettes.
Personnel: Steve Hobbs: vibraphone; Tom Harrell: trumpet, flugelhorn; Bob Malach: tenor saxophone;
Dave Valentin: flute; Bill O'Connell: piano; Peter Washington: bass; John Riley: drums; Steve
I was first exposed to jazz as a baby. When I was a child, my parents regularly played classic jazz, i.e., Fitzgerald, Hawkins, Holiday, Davis, Coltrane, Monk, Montgomery, Silver, etc. I vividly remember sitting in front of the stereo as a kid, rocking back and forth to jazz, so the music is embedded in me
I was first exposed to jazz as a baby. When I was a child, my parents regularly played classic jazz, i.e., Fitzgerald, Hawkins, Holiday, Davis, Coltrane, Monk, Montgomery, Silver, etc. I vividly remember sitting in front of the stereo as a kid, rocking back and forth to jazz, so the music is embedded in me. As a life-long jazz lover, I eventually became a jazz educator and producer/host of a very popular jazz radio program in Los Angeles, California.
I love jazz because it is so free. I can think, feel, and dream to jazz, and it allows my mind to flow and expand, musically and otherwise. I also love jazz because it, much like other forms of music, allows opportunities to bring people from all walks of life together. What makes jazz more significant to me, though, is its historical significance; that is, how jazz served, in part, as a method of bringing communities together, a cultural/social/spiritual conduit.