151

John McNeil: This Way Out

Sean Patrick Fitzell By

Sign in to view read count
John McNeil: This Way Out A veteran musician with more than 35 years of experience, trumpeter John McNeil has played in a variety of settings including Horace Silver's quintet and the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra. His latest effort, This Way Out, finds him fronting a quartet of veteran drummer Joe Smith and two nascent improvisers from Spain: tenor saxophonist Gorka Benitez and bassist Giullia Valle. The quartet navigates McNeil's idiosyncratic tunes adroitly, sounding like they have played together for years. His clean, fluid lines flow confidently throughout the CD, providing a sense of wit and emotion.

"Mi Tio," the opener, is one of several pieces with an up-tempo, tight ensemble melody displaying the dexterity of the musicians. The whirling head sets up individual horn solos and dynamic trading between them. "Last Minute," with its outstanding fast-walking bass line, and "Skeeter" are in a similar vein, with kinetic unison melodies.

The influences of the Spanish recording location are evident on "A la Orilla," a quasi-tango rhythm set up by the bass and marching snare drum. "My Taxi" has a loping groove and segues from Benitez's contribution, "Picasso View," which features playful syncopated horn lines over a fractured rhythm. The saxophonist's other contributions, "Because of You" and "Flor de Viento," exhibit a penchant for catchy melodies and straight ahead grooves. In the former, McNeil plays a muted solo that effectively counters the buoyant melody.

Other tunes show a moodier side. "Know Your Limits" is set around a bass vamp that allows space for the horns to play around and over, while on "What Comes After" they have long, sustained lines. The two group improvisations show a sense of humor and use of extended techniques to draw sounds from their instruments.

On This Way Out, McNeil runs the gamut from spacious and introspective to tightly wound, feel-good romps, showing why he has been so active and respected for so many years.


Track Listing: Mi Tio; A la Orilla; Picasso View; My Taxi; Last Minute; What Comes After; Because of You; Know Your Limits; Skeeter; West Coast Memories; Dewey Defeats Truman; Flor de Viento.

Personnel: John McNeil: trumpet; Gorka Benitez: tenor saxophone; Giulia Valle, bass; Joe Smith: drums, percussion.

Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: OmniTone | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read Desire & Freedom CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 19, 2017
Read On Hollywood Boulevard CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Motorman's Son CD/LP/Track Review The Motorman's Son
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "La Diversité" CD/LP/Track Review La Diversité
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 31, 2017
Read "Up North" CD/LP/Track Review Up North
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 17, 2017
Read "Concentric Circles" CD/LP/Track Review Concentric Circles
by Jerome Wilson
Published: July 30, 2016
Read "Aram Bajakian's Dolphy Formations" CD/LP/Track Review Aram Bajakian's Dolphy Formations
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: December 28, 2016
Read "Flux" CD/LP/Track Review Flux
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 18, 2016
Read "HUJE 2015" CD/LP/Track Review HUJE 2015
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 2, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!