Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Rich Halley 4, Eleven

Tenor stalwart Rich Halley and his quartet continue to grow and get the kind of togetherness that only happens over time. You can hear this especially on the latest by the Halley 4: Eleven (Pine Eagle 008). If I say it's one of the very best of his albums, it has to do with how the four have grown together. Trombonist Michael Vlatkovich is the newest member, but that was by now quite some time ago. The chemistry of Halley, Vlatkovich, Clyde Reed on bass and Rich's son Carson Halley on drums is becoming striking in its power and free discipline.

Vlatkovich is more and more an intertwining force in the front line with Rich, and they both sound terrific together and alone. Still rather young Carson has turned out to be a great drummer, in time and sound. And Clyde holds his own on bass in important ways.

Another factor, always critical to this band but ever more so is Rich's compositions. His "Reification Suite" and the eight other originals featured in the album run a gamut of possibilities and in the process create memorable matrices for the grooves and excellent soloing.

And then there is Rich's tenor, ever in an original zone that synthesizes the history of the music and makes of it something other. He sounds as inspired as ever here.

If you do not know the Halley 4 and crave some original jazz that reflects the new thing of Ornette and Archie Shepp and goes with that and high bop roots to get someplace different, Eleven is a great way to introduce you to the music. If you know some of the others, this one is an essential.

Kudos to the Rich Halley 4!

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