Monday, January 23, 2012

Mike Longo Trio + 2, "Surprise:" Hard Bopping and Burning Contemporary Jazz

Pianist Mike Longo came to fame as a member of Cannonball Adderly's and Dizzy Gillespie's units and, well, he's been around the scene ever since. If he doesn't always get his due, his new CD To My Surprise (CAP 1030) may help fix that. It's his formidable trio of himself, Bob Cranshaw, bass, and Lewis Nash, drums, plus the welcome addition of two excellent horn players in Jimmy Owens (trumpet and fluegel) and tenorist Lance Bryant.

The quintet barrels through some new bop, blues and gospel funk by Mike and one by Jimmy Owen, some jazz chestnuts (Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock) and standards. Everyone sounds great, not the least being Maestro Longo himself.

It has that burning fire, smoldering in the balladic interludes, breaking into full flame on the swingers.

It's as good a place as any to dig into Mike Longo the artist. This is center-of-the-pavement mainstem jazz done right.

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