John Swana, Eric Alexander, Grant Stewart, David Hazeltine, Peter Washington & Kenny Washington
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Trumpeter John Swana's Philadelphia hard bop roots are clearly evident on this set of originals that takes definite cues from the distinctive sound of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers in bygone days. The title is not a reference to Rahsaan Roland Kirk's classic album, but a concept suggested to the leader by organist Trudy Pitts. With a solid, burnished, and clear tone, Swana and his sextet — featuring twin tenor saxes in Eric Alexander and Grant Stewart — swing strongly through original mainstream jazz that is lyrically tuneful and harmonically rich. Where tracks like "Wilbert" (for ex-Philadelphia Eagles NFL running back Wilbert Montgomery) and "Road Trippin'" reflect that fleet-foot hard bop image, others tend to be effortlessly bluesy or soulful. This simple but direct approach is a rarity in contrast with modern mainstream, complex jazz, but Swana is not so much looking back as he is keeping the straight-ahead home fires burning. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi
I really enjoyed this album
I kind of stumbled onto Swana's work by accident; I'm a big fan of Eric Alexander (and all of One For All, for that matter). John's playing is definetly hard bop, but he knows how to push the envope without becoming tediou. Being a bass player, especially "Schrack's Shack" which is two takes, one sans keyboards, which is a great "minimalist jazz' piece. Well worth ten bucks.
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