Feb 27 2017
Today’s recommendation is this lively straight-ahead session from trumpeter Josh Lawrence. His newest, Color Theory, is old school and new school, but straight-ahead on both fronts, and textured in a way that the demarcation between eras is fuzzy at worst, irrelevant at its best. Lawrence’s quintet plays like they have fuel to burn, and the motion from the up-tempo action infuses simple lyricism with a substantive vibrancy. When they slow the pace down on “The Conceptualizer,” that vibrancy loses none of its effect, just becomes softer to the touch. And on “Black,” the melody’s smoky presence makes a brisk pace seem cool and casual.
Orrin Evans and Adam Faulk take turns at the keys- the former on piano, the latter on Fender Rhodes- and the textural shifts that occur are a nice subtle effect. Speaking of subtlety, the tribute “Purple (4 Prince)” has a lovely voicing and melancholy tone, and there’s something especially likable in the way heartfelt emotions are given resonance through restraint.
Just a solid recording, top to bottom.
Your album personnel: Josh Lawrence (trumpet, flugelhorn), Anwar Marshall (drums), Caleb Curtis (alto sax, flute), Orrin Evans (piano), Adam Faulk (Fender Rhodes), Madison Rast (bass) and guest: Brent White (trombone).
Released on Posi-Tone Records.
Jazz from Philadelphia, PA.
Available at: Amazon
P.S. If you want to hear another side to Lawrence’s creativity, he and drummer Anwar Marshall and trombonist Brent White are members of Fresh Cut Orchestra, and their 2015 debut From the Vine was an excellent session. It just barely missed getting included in this site’s Best of 2015 list, but that album definitely was of that caliber and one of the very best things to see the light of day in 2015 (go check it out).