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The funky, jazz-focused Yeah.....About That brings to mind the sounds of the early Brecker Brothers. Groove seems to be the primary focus of this nine-song CD from the mind of Oklahoma City native, Johnny Hodges. Hodges started playing the trumpet by the end of his fifth grade year, going on to help his high school jazz ensemble win the state competition three out of the four years he was in high school which enabled him to attend Central State University on the coveted Alumni Scholarship. Hodges is currently the Assistant Conductor at the Big Apple Circus, and freelances around the New York City and Orlando, Florida areas. Currently, he is gearing up for his first movie soundtrack, Last Ounce of Courage, to be recorded right after Thanksgiving, 2012.
Yeah.....About That is the trumpeter's debut and is a well-conceived collection of songs that showcase Hodges blowing serious jazz over various grooves. Hodges understands the value of employing a memorable melody as a jumping-off point for improvisational jaunts. On the opening "Dixie Twister," a galloping rhythm is augmented by Hodges' warm bluesy trumpet, stating the melody. Many subtle layers of polyrhythmic entrances follow, as the song develops in a call-and-response manner. Hodges' clear tone and driving rhythm provides for an interesting solo and some very impressive high notes, leading to the ending statements.
Hodges plays trumpet and contributes all the rhythm programming for the album, and the result is a big drum funk on the title track, with samples, synth, lots of layering and a wah-wah-effected trumpet solo, which delivers a groove so infectious that it's almost impossible to resist. Hodges' imagination reflects his immersion in all schools of popular music. Guitarist Jeff Barone provides some six-string blowing on "Cozumel" and "First Try."
Hodges runs the gamut from ridiculously high notes to lead playing in styles from bebop and salsa to thoughtful blowing on ballads. Yeah.....About That is an eclectic mix of Latin, rock and blues, all possessing a seriously funky theme that will appeal to fans of the Brecker Brothers and mid-'70s Weather Report.
Track Listing: Dixie Twister, Yeah...About That, Cozumel, Cityscape, Para Ti, Mi Amor,
The Fantasy, Kung Phu, First Try, I'm Just A Country Bopkin, Jim
Personnel: Johnny Hodges: trumpet, rhythm programming, brass; Bryan Cook: trumpet (8); Jeff
Barone: guitar (3, 8).
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.