By now, Tom Harrell is no newcomer to the jazz brigade. The liner note writer for this CD referred to him as “a player who brings brains and beauty to his music.” And that certainly holds true on this new recording. Harrell’s all-original musical palette concentrates on titles and melodies associated with India and the East. The word ‘prana,’ a term familiar to those who practice yoga, refers to the essential life-force. Several of Harrell’s compositions bear witness to these sensibilities, but underneath it all is Harrell’s riveting trumpet and flugelhorn. Not unlike the solos of Miles Davis, Harrell’s sound is often one of intense beauty and melancholy. His colleagues on the date, all new names to me, account well for themselves, but it is primarily Harrell’s heavyweight musicianship on display here. Be warned, this isn’t Diz ‘n Bud playing bop. Indeed, there is a very contemporary muse at work here. On that note, I would have preferred the exclusion of the Fender Rhodes. Never on my top ten list, it is used on about half of the eight tunes. Other than that, go right ahead and dig Tom Harrell’s monster chops!
High Note, 2009, 56:09.
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