In a lineup with trumpet, bass, and drums, the man with the horn is left, right, and center. He is the one who has to lead and carry the trio, though the others play their part in fashioning and completing their mission. Clay Jenkins succeeds in doing this, though there are occasions when the arrangements and some unusual notes hamper the resolve.
The two John Coltrane compositions work well in the contrasting shadows they cast. On "26-2" they come out lithe and swinging, with a pliancy that is engagingly fulminated by Jenkins on the trumpet, with Thompson and Campbell ringing in a facile rhythm. Jenkins is particularly resourceful in investing ideas. He evokes some intense imagery on "Up Against the Wall" and he changes intonation and direction to give the tune some good depth. They rework "Soul Eyes" with a sensitive delicacy. The trumpeter gives the melody a glow, his lines stoking a becoming warmth. And with Thompson's exemplary use of the brushes adding to the lure, this turns out to be the finest track on the CD. "Con Alma" is in another bag. Thompson sets the tonal palette, and the song shimmers but does not stir much sentiment as technique triumphs over invention.
Of the original material, "In Fine Line" lives up to its words with Jenkins unleashing torrid hard bop lines. And if that were not enough, Thompson and Campbell have an engaging conversation that's well worth eavesdropping on. Overall this album offers a mixed bag, with the good stuff tilting the balance in its favor.
Tray-Bo (04:50); Up Against The Wall (05:48); Stop-Start (04:31); Con-Alma (05:26; In Fine Line (05:55); Late Bloomer (07:44); 26-2 (03:56); Soul Eyes (05:10); Happy House (01:44)
Rich Thompson, Drums; Clay Jenkins, Trumpet; Jeff Campbell, Bass
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place 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 effort that will help musicians 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 bottom right video ad). Thank you.
Get more of a good thing
Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.