220

The Julius Hemphill Sextet: The Hard Blues

By

Sign in to view read count
The Julius Hemphill Sextet: The Hard Blues The Julius Hemphill Sextet celebrates its namesake on The Hard Blues, a funky and groovy outing by this all-saxophone group. Released by one of the more ambitious labels currently on the jazz scene, Portugal-based Clean Feed, the album features thirteen of the late saxophonist's memorable compositions. As with the World Saxophone Quartet, drum and bass are missing, leaving the generation of rhythm and its infectious byproducts to the group's interactions. They achieve a unique counterpoint and call-and-response cadence that surprises and delights.

Of the six players on The Hard Blues, three recorded with Hemphill on 1991's Fat Man and The Hard Blues—Marty Ehrlich, Sam Furnace (who recently passed away), and Andrew White. Ehrlich, perhaps Hemphill's most ardent disciple, is also the musical director on this album, proving his comprehension of Hemphill's approach to jazz. Recorded at the Jazz em Agosto in Portugal, the group presents itself as a hard-charging, soulful ensemble through the entire set of songs.

High impact pleasantries like "Otis' Groove" and "Band Theme" are enjoyable, though the intricacy and sophistication of Hemphill's work is better represented on their more downbeat offerings, like "Opening," "Touchic'," "Three-Step," "JiJi Tune," and "Fat Man." The unabashed beauty and sincerity of Ehrlich's solo work on "Georgia Blue" and the group's reverence on "Spiritual Chairs" are also worth mentioning.

Except for the nine-minute title track that concludes the album, most of The Hard Blues flows quickly, exposing its various compartments with joyful flair. A worthy celebration to a composer and a visionary who left us too early, The Hard Blues reminds that the best in jazz still lives, despite the obituaries.


Track Listing: Otis' Groove; Opening; Touchic'; Three-Step; Rites; Revue; JiJi Tune; Fat Man; Band Theme; Georgia Blue; Mr. Critical; Spiritual Chairs; The Hard Blues

Personnel: Marty Ehlrich- alto, soprano sax; Sam Furnace- alto, soprano sax; Aaron Stewarttenor sax; Alex Harding- baritone sax; Andy Laster- alto sax; Andre White- tenor sax

Title: The Hard Blues | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Clean Feed Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read I Believe In You CD/LP/Track Review I Believe In You
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 18, 2017
Read Morning Sun CD/LP/Track Review Morning Sun
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 18, 2017
Read The Conscience CD/LP/Track Review The Conscience
by John Sharpe
Published: August 18, 2017
Read Harlem CD/LP/Track Review Harlem
by James Nadal
Published: August 18, 2017
Read Open Book CD/LP/Track Review Open Book
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Stolen Moments CD/LP/Track Review Stolen Moments
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 17, 2017
Read "Wake Up Call" CD/LP/Track Review Wake Up Call
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 27, 2017
Read "Persuasion" CD/LP/Track Review Persuasion
by Jeff Winbush
Published: December 24, 2016
Read "Kucheza" CD/LP/Track Review Kucheza
by Chris Mosey
Published: January 12, 2017
Read "Chapter Five" CD/LP/Track Review Chapter Five
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 28, 2017
Read "Varanda" CD/LP/Track Review Varanda
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 16, 2017
Read "The Complete Syllables Music" CD/LP/Track Review The Complete Syllables Music
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 4, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.