Thursday, August 6, 2009

Tom Warrington Trio: The Mountain

Jazz Compass
By Ric Bang • Originally published in The Davis Enterprise, 8.6.09
Buy CD: The Mountain

To borrow the title of the Cole Porter tune used in this album, everything I love about jazz is present on this marvelous release:

• The featured players — bassist Tom Warrington, guitarist Larry Koonse and drummer Joe La Barbara — together with guests Bob Shepard (tenor and soprano sax) and Tommy Peterson (clarinet and bass clarinet) are among the finest musicians performing today.

• The tunes selected include two beautiful old standards — the aforementioned Porter melody and George Gershwin's “My Man's Gone Now” — and originals by Warrington and Koonse.

• Warrington and Koonse's arrangements are excellent, and the entire production process — the selection of artists, recording, mixing and mastering — is of the highest quality.

I've listened to a lot of releases from Koonse, Warrington and La Barbara, together and with other groups, and this is one of their best efforts. The melodic lines are intriguing and beautifully done, and the solo work is exceptional.

The whole is a lot more than “just another trio.” That's partly due to the addition of the two reed artists on four tracks, but mostly results from the manner in which the individual tunes are organized and presented. Melodies and solos meld and rivet your attention to what's going on; this isn't music your mind will drift away from.

This is the kind of stuff that makes my job a joy.

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