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Old News Borrowed Blues

Warren Smith

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Album Review

A long overdue edition of percussionist Warren Smith's Composers Workshop Ensemble is heard on this recording of original material that expresses a perfectly accessible aesthetic of the modern progressive big band in the decade of the 2000s. These are older compositions previously performed in concert but not released on CD. Though there's considerable written material and quite ample room for soloing, the improvisational and especially interactive aspect of Smith's music is most evident, and shines through the multifaceted, abundantly layered personality of this music. Veteran listeners will recognize the names of trumpeter Cecil Bridgewater, euphonium player Joe Daley, bass trombonist Jack Jeffers, tenor saxophonist Andrew Lamb, baritone saxophonist Claire Daly, bassist Jaribu Shahid, and younger players like alto saxophonist Doug Yates, soprano saxophonist Craig Rivers, and tenor saxophonist James Stewart, together making for an imposing front line. Plus, it is always good to hear Smith play the drum kit, and especially the vibraphone. Altogether a blues, "Lock the Toilet Door" was originally a solo drum piece, but in this form is fully orchestrated as Thelonious Monk-style jazz bop, with angular, scalloped melodies abounding. The lengthy "Rivers State Suite" has direct reggae inferences, shaker rhythms, and a horse gallop, with a funky, wholly Latin boogaloo slight horn component — even though it was inspired by a trip to Nigeria. "One More Lick for Harold Vick" is dedicated to the legendary soul-jazz saxophonist, but is a scattershot melody going back and forth from 13/8 to 7/8 time in a sliced and diced manner, including a piquant solo by Yates, while "The Hungarian Gypsy Song" is a dour slow funk, with the bright spot a soprano sax solo by Rivers. Another suite, "Free Forms" (in four parts), is the most improvisational selection, offering a quirky, free, up-and-down attitude, a deft bass solo from the always capable Shahid, and a dense Latin section followed by a "sorta" poetic vocal love song as recited by Smith in his own inimitable way. For those not aware of the incredible recordings from previous editions of the CWE, it's time to catch up, starting with this fabulous modern music display — then please go back to earlier albums. Old News Borrowed Blues is a strong candidate for best jazz CD of 2009. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi

Biography

Born: February 07, 1933

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

More than a few early rockabilly rebels went on to careers as country singers, but few made the jump quite as gracefully as Warren Smith. Smith earned the ultimate rockabilly seal of approval, a contract with Sun Records, and he cut a number of memorable sides for the label, but in the early 1960s, he also enjoyed a brief but memorable run on the country charts after signing with Liberty Records. Warren Smith was born in Humphreys County, Mississippi, on February 7, 1932. His parents divorced when...
Full bio
Old News Borrowed Blues, Warren Smith
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  • $9.90
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: Jun 29, 2009

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