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 Crossing CD/LP/Track Review Crossing
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Unit[e] CD/LP/Track Review Unit[e]
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Such A Sky CD/LP/Track Review Such A Sky
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Buer: Book Of Angels Volume 31 CD/LP/Track Review Buer: Book Of Angels Volume 31
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 25, 2017
Read BACHanalia CD/LP/Track Review BACHanalia
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 24, 2017
Read Hallways CD/LP/Track Review Hallways
by Paul Rauch
Published: June 24, 2017
Read "Supernovae" CD/LP/Track Review Supernovae
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 14, 2016
Read "Empty The Headbin" CD/LP/Track Review Empty The Headbin
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 15, 2016
Read "Fierce Silence" CD/LP/Track Review Fierce Silence
by John Sharpe
Published: December 9, 2016
Read "Swallowed by the New" CD/LP/Track Review Swallowed by the New
by Doug Collette
Published: November 5, 2016
Read "Atmosphères" CD/LP/Track Review Atmosphères
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 13, 2016
Read "Message From Saturn" CD/LP/Track Review Message From Saturn
by James Nadal
Published: November 12, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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