Thursday, June 9, 2022

Bloom-Funkhouser Duo, Exuberant Ellingtonia, Flute & Piano Sessions


We last encountered flute and reedman Peter H. Bloom on a well-done album by Mark Harvey and his quartet on my October 16, 2020 review here. Pianist John Funkhouser has also played with Mark, as a part of his big band. The Bloom/Funkhouser Duo as we experience them here is another very fertile avenue of their playing, in the rather impressive tribute album Exuberant Ellingtonia (Americas Musicworks AM CD 1597).

The collection features some 14 gems by Ellington and his collaborators-creative circle--notably of course Billy Strayhorn, Mercer Ellington and then a few others as co-composers for selected songs. Just the choice of these particular pieces seems inspired, a dream list of fabulous vehicles for short composition and improv segments, miniatures that ring out with the exceptional evergreen brilliance of the works and at the same time give us a chance to appreciate the high musicianship of the duo.

Bloom has a brightly gorgeous tone throughout, with some of the clarion bliss of an Eric Dolphy but a somewhat different improvisational way about him, rangy and modern on his own terms. John Funkhouser gets my full attention as well. His channeling of stride, walking, even boogie is masterful and impressive, with his right hand keeping the lines unspooling nicely as called for.

The elements of the entire set come together for a listening experience that might well appeal to those not as up on the Jazz scene as others. Either way however, whether novice or old hand, it is a joy to wind though this music program time and again. At least for me. I think perhaps also you.

Highly recommended.

Peter Bloom's bright-toned, gorgeous flute

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