Recommended: Sean Jones – “Im*pro*vise: Never Before Seen”


Sean Jones - "Improvise"One of the final cuts before finalizing the Bird is the Worm Best of 2014 list was Im*pro*vise: Never Before Seen, a quartet session from trumpeter Sean Jones.  This is top shelf jazz, and it’s an excellent vintage.  This is jazz that everyone will recognize.  It’s music that swings.  It’s music steeped in the blues.  It’s music that carries the torch of the past even when it burns with a flame lit today.  It’s a fastball right over the plate and there’s no mistaking this music for anything else other than jazz.

“Dark Times” is a slow blues, smokey and cool, sounding reminiscent of Donald Byrd’s 1968 hard bop recording, Slow Drag.  Pianist Orrin Evans kicks up some dirt, which Jones complements with some sharp bursts on trumpet, and the brief flurry of dissonance brings even greater clarity to the quartet’s serious groove.  The quartet’s talent at the manipulation of motion becomes even more evident on “Interior Motive.”  Drummer Obed Calvaire instigates a choppy tempo that practically glides when it breaks from the dense forest and out into the clearing.

With “The Morning After” and “We’ll Meet Under the Stars,” Jones shows his talent at shepherding a ballad along nice and easy.  Of particular interest is the former track, pure moonlight, which grows into a dramatic call into the night.

Jones’s trumpet is all sunny cheer on “I.D.G.A.D Blues,” but it’s the walking cadence of bassist Luques Curtis that starts the song out with a smile.  Similarly, Curtis gets “Dr. Jekyll” scooting right along, and the interconnectivity of tempo between bass, piano and drums is terrifically engaging, and lays down a framework for Jones to offer up some thrilling moments.

And it’s an album filled with many more.

Your album personnel:  Sean Jones (trumpet), Orrin Evans (piano), Luques Curtis (bass) and Obed Calvaire (drums).

Released on Mack Avenue Records.

Jazz from the Pittsburgh scene.

Available at:  Amazon