There is something to be said for playing the long game. If a group is willing to wait for over thirty years between the issuance of albums, then clearly there is a bond among the participants that is remarkable. This clearly applies to the Jazz Worms. The group's debut release was Crawling Out (Van Buren) in 1987 and only now do we have the follow-up, Squirmin'.
This Denver-based quintet has a unique approach to their music and it is clear that they treasure the opportunity to play together (who knows how long it might be between gigs). Abiding by the old aphorism about keeping your friends close, all eight compositions in this session have been penned by one or another band members.
The opening track from bassist Mark Simon is titled "Launching Pad" and is quite apropos as it ignites the band through the interplay between Simon and drummer Paul Romaine. Cornetist Ron Miles and tenor saxophonist Keith Oxman provide the shiver component with their cutting horn figures. Oxman's "Joaquin" lopes along at a mellow clip, as both he and Miles solo in the same harmonic language. Simon is given space to show he is a bassist of authority.
It is evident that this is a tight little band which has clever ideas and plays with an uncluttered appreciation of phrase. "Wheaty Bowl," for example, by Romaine, is pushed along in sprightly fashion by his propulsive adaptability, and is playfully filled with compositional quotes from Charlie Parker. Pianist Andy Weyl pitches in with a couple of numbers including the aptly titled "Lickity-Split" and an unambiguous "Balladesque." In both these offerings, Weyl gives himself the opportunity to show his clarity of ideas and touch whether on up-tempo or ballad compositions.
The album closes with another Oxman piece, "The Chimento Files." This bluesy themed number swings along with a saucy gait with Oxman leading the way. Miles and Romaine enter into a series of exchanges, before Weyl's piano runs off several sparkling and intense lines. Despite the passage of time, the band still demonstrates a high caliber of artistry.
Launching Pad; Bu's Box; Joaquin; Lickity-Split; Wheaty Bowl; What If All?; Balladesque; The