All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...


Dennis Mitchel3: Tenor Of The Times

Nic Jones By

Sign in to view read count
It's nice to know that it's not all down to Charlie Haden when it comes to dealing with the issues of the day in jazz, and when such dealings result in music as stimulating as what's on Tenor of the Times, then the raising of cheers is entirely appropriate. The same can be said for the political standpoint that permeates this disc.

The key to the success of this music might just be integration. The members of this trio have reached a level of shared musical empathy that means they're tighter than tight, at the same time as they avoid rehashing routines and lapsing into cliches. Dennis Mitcheltree's work on tenor sax is right in keeping with the working method that implies, and on "Ijtihad," he evokes the spirits of Dewey Redman and Charles Brackeen, neither of whom can realistically be cited as having a place in the pantheon of the run-of-the-mill.

"Halliburton Holler" lasts almost eleven minutes, and the fact that not a moment of that period is wasted shows also that this group also knows the meaning of coherence in musical communication. The momentum of the piece, punctuated by vocal exclamations of the company name referred to in the title, calls to mind the live trio sides that Sonny Rollins cut for Blue Note, but this is only a point of reference, not a template by which the musicians abide.

On a similar note, "Spiderhole Stomp" has an air about it like something from the pen of Herbie Nichols, and the stealth with which bassist Jesse Crawford walks his line, figuratively speaking, is a measure of the trio's effective integration. On "Swift Boat Twist" Bill McClellan demonstrates the bouyancy of his sense of swing, and the group as a whole demonstrates its uncommon ability to give the music some air, making for a sound that, while still in keeping with many major aspects of the tradition, indicates just how deep their own identity is.

The latter part of the album's subtitle, "Jazz & Political Discourse," comes in its most overt form on "Go Cheney Yourself!," wherein Dick Cheney's behaviour on the floor of the Senate is highlighted as an example of how the Bush administration is frequently guilty of the kind of behaviour it would condemn in others. That's called hypocrisy, which is presumably yet another word that George W. Bush would have to look up, assuming he knows how to use a dictionary.

All in all, this makes for a two-sided package in the best sense of that term, and the fact that it wears its heart on its figurative sleeve only makes it more rewarding.

Visit Dennis Mitcheltree on the web.

Track Listing: Go Cheney Yourself! Touch Screen Tango; Ijtihad; (or Abu Ghraib Dance Party); Limbaugh Rush (or How Liberals, Drug Abuse & Divorce Are The Ruin Of Our Great Nation); Halliburton Holler; Spiderhole Stomp; Go Cheney Yourself Jam; Swift Boat Twist; Dean Scream Mix.

Personnel: Dennis Mitcheltree: tenor saxophone, voice; Jesse Crawford: bass, voice; Bill McClellan: drums, voice.

Title: Tenor Of The Times | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Dengor Music


comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Lala Belu CD/LP/Track Review
Lala Belu
by Chris May
Published: March 23, 2018
Read All Melody CD/LP/Track Review
All Melody
by Phil Barnes
Published: March 23, 2018
Read The Future is Female CD/LP/Track Review
The Future is Female
by Paul Rauch
Published: March 23, 2018
Read Hunters & Scavengers CD/LP/Track Review
Hunters & Scavengers
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 23, 2018
Read Fill Up Your Lungs and Bellow CD/LP/Track Review
Fill Up Your Lungs and Bellow
by Tyran Grillo
Published: March 22, 2018
Read Transatlantic CD/LP/Track Review
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 22, 2018
Read "Najwa" CD/LP/Track Review Najwa
by John Sharpe
Published: November 29, 2017
Read "Live at Pyatt Hall" CD/LP/Track Review Live at Pyatt Hall
by Jack Bowers
Published: January 23, 2018
Read "Open Book" CD/LP/Track Review Open Book
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 17, 2017
Read "Brass Mask Live" CD/LP/Track Review Brass Mask Live
by Duncan Heining
Published: May 1, 2017
Read "Bad Hombre" CD/LP/Track Review Bad Hombre
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 12, 2017
Read "A Rift in Decorum: Live at the Village Vanguard" CD/LP/Track Review A Rift in Decorum: Live at the Village Vanguard
by Mark E. Gallo
Published: July 27, 2017