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Bebop Spoken There

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11,626 (and counting) posts since we started blogging just over 12 years ago. 761 of them this year alone and, so far, 25 this month (July 6).

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As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

CD Review:O'Higgins & Luft Play Monk & Trane

Dave O'Higgins (tenor sax); Rob Luft (guitar); Scott Flanigan (organ); Rod Youngs (drums).
(Review by Lance).

If you're going to make a tribute album then Monk and Trane are as good a choice as any - providing you've got the chops to see it through. These guys have got the chops!

Despite the tenor, guitar, organ, drums set-up this isn't a walkin' the bar juke jam. The material, like the musicians, is on a much more cerebral level although this doesn't mean it's too hi-falutin'! Far from it, it swings like crazy - if that expression isn't passé and, even if it is you know what I mean.

A mix of tunes either composed by or associated with the two giants and given respect without loss of individuality. O'Higgins comes in the middle of an avalanche of CDs by top tenor players and loses nothing by comparison with what's gone and what's to follow. Luft is undoubtedly one of the most outstanding guitarists to have emerged in recent years. 'Round Midnight is pure magic, with Luft getting into Monk's signature dish and making it his own.   

Rodgers and Hart's Spring is Here began life in somewhat dirgelike fashion in a Broadway Show. Trane resuscitated it on Prestige's Standard Coltrane album whilst O'Higgins opted for guitar and tenor to give a lighter sound than the trumpet and tenor frontline on Trane's recording and, at the same time, visualising how the great man may have played it later in his career. All four solo and, contrary to Hart's lyric, their hearts do go dancing - at least mine did!

Monk's Dreamland simply oozes lyricism - delicate chording, no sheets of sound, laid back organ, drums subdued, in other words, as relaxed as the title suggests

Tommy Flanagan's Minor Mishap is another gem with Luft setting the mood with the opening solo  - he really is something and fully deserving of the awards that have already come his way. O'Higgins takes over with another knockout solo. Flanigan handles Flanagan's opus expertly and Youngs puts the boot in.

The album is released on October 4, Launched at Pizza on October 7 and, this past weekend, the quartet embarked on a 35-day tour of England and Wales with a gig in Hamburg thrown in for good measure. Now that's what I call a tour particularly as it includes a northeast gig in Great Broughton Village Hall which is down Teesside way  - see poster in right hand column (October 18).         

Recommended (highly).
Lance.

Naima; Little Melonae; Locomotive; Minor Mishap; I'll Wait and Pray; Trinkle Tinkle; Like Sonny; 'Round Midnight; Spring is Here; Dreamland; Locomotive (duo).

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