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The "EP" tag sitting on the title of trumpeter Jon Crowley's The Rehumanization EP is an obvious abbreviation for "Extended Play." Given an extended listening, it might be more apt to be interpreted as "exceptionally pleasing" or "exceptional performance." Both descriptions precisely fit this, Crowley's third release as leader. And, it is just as terrific as its two predecessors.
With The Rehumanization EP Crowley, originally from the fecund musical womb of Philadelphiaand now a Brooklyn residentcontinues to offer intriguingly explored tonalities and textures. The four selections on this somewhat shorter in duration recording are all superb Crowley originals. Each is a somewhat slower selection more melismatic in nature than balladic. The melodies of each tune eschew faster tempo and notation, allowing Crowley and crew to expand on lengthy ribbon-like solo forays. In an appealing way, the four selections seem to echo one another emotionally, with each commencing at an almost drone state and developing, highly energized into a finale of sorts. This is music of deep thinking and emotion, yet it is sonorous and easily grasped.
What works so well hereand there are quite a few elements to that pointis Crowley's playing. This is a thoughtful, emotionally penetrating player. His near vibrato-less tone is robust, yet somewhat vulnerable. Wisely, he's a trumpeting minimalist as opposed to a technical braggadociosomething unfortunately more common today. Think the emotional quotient of Chet Baker with a more focused, inviting resonancethat's Mr. Crowley. His improvisational lines spew effortlessly from the melodies he created and they extend out with each fragment generating another unique idea.
Alto saxophonist John Beaty joins Crowley in a frontline that is superbly more ensemble driven than one that stands out selfishly at the expense of the rhythm sectionwhich is superb in its abilities to support the slower and energy-developing formats.
While the Free Spirits, Smooth Jazzers, Giant Steppers and Beboppers each have their players and proponents, Jon Crowley, with his horn and pen almost has created a totally unique format with this recording and his prior efforts. It is a most enjoyableand especially humanchange of pace.
Track Listing: Without You; I'll Be Fine Without You; And We Talked All Night, It's Hard to Try.
Personnel: Jon Crowley: trumpet; John Beaty: alto saxophone; Noah Berman: electric and acoustic guitars, effects; Brad Whitely: piano, organ, effects; Ben Thomas: bass; Max Maples: drums.
Jazz is a continuing revelation. The best show I ever attended was the
Roots Picnic at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, or was it Robert
Glasper's Experiment at Lincoln Center, or was it Chick Corea with
Brian Blade at Oberlin College? Most of all I enjoy playing guitar and
composing beats with my Brooklyn-based group Space Captain.