Monday, December 19, 2011

Kevin Crabb, "Waltz for Dylan": Drummer-led Contemporary Jazz Quartet

If a band is playing contemporary mainstream jazz, swinging is still an important factor. Kevin Crabb's Waltz for Dylan (Crabbclaw) SWINGS.

Crabb plays very together time on drums and that is the backbone of the group's swing. Don Thompson on bass gets with the loosely jointed walking style that picks out choice notes in the changes-tonality and propulses them well. Pianist John Beasely has a Bill Evans harmonic richness and does his right hand improvs with excellent swing sensibility--and I hear the influences of Hancock and early Corea in there too, but with his own inventive flair. Finally, with all this as a set up Kelly Jefferson on tenor and soprano manages to sound mainstream without taking on the mannerisms of the flavor-of-the-month stylistic chic cliques. There is good facility, bright tone and imagination.

The tunes are by Mr. Crabb and they convince.

This may be a sleeper of an album. It is. Wake it up by playing it. Crabb and company have it going for this one.

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