Tom Harrell - Light On

High Note

Release date: June 26th 2007

Light On  cover

It is good to have Tom Harrell back after a four year break as leader with this album which presents nine original compositions.

"Light On" adds to the remarkable run of fine jazz started in 1988 with "Stories" and continued up to 1991 with the beautiful albums "Form", "Visions" and "Passages". In a very clear sense "Light On" returns to the clarity of those earlier great albums, avoiding the overcomplexity of the music of the intervening years.

Tom Harrell's playing on trumpet (and more particularly on flugelhorn) has enough of the elegiac quality of 'sixties Miles Davis to inspire and enough of his own musical vision to defy easy comparisons. There is that same wounded, edgy quality that informs so much of Miles Davis' playing yet the search for transcendence and escape takes a form all of its own.

The jazz is complex and demanding yet accessible and involving. Wayne Escoffery adds tenor sax that is compelling; his solos could never have been set up with such a sense of expectancy; listen for example to his exuberant solo on "Contrary Mary". Danny Grissett (piano and Fender Rhodes) Ugonna Ukegwo (bass) and Jonathan Blake (drums) combine well to provide a sinuous and shifting backdrop. The album is beautifully engineered, mixed and remastered by Rudy Van Gelder.

Very strongly recommended.

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