stream of fresh air
Trumpeter Taylor Haskins' sophomore release under his name, which was recorded in December of 2004 but came out only two years later, proves to be a cohesive and dynamic blend of diverse impressions manifesting in subtly layered compositions, melody lines mutating over the course of the tunes, horn build-ups, effective tempo shifts, etc. The listener is rewarded with spirited performance from everyone involved.
Guitarist Adam Rogers does a fine job at providing chordal accompaniment and jabs, curt motifs, and his impeccably fluid, at time edgy, delineations (#1, 4-5, 10). Saxophonist Andrew Rathbun (tenor - solo #2-3, 6-7, 11 and soprano - #5, 8) is a new discovery, whose timbre and phrasing remotely reminds me sometimes those of the late great Bob Berg and, to a lesser degree, Joe Lovano. Mark Ferber's energetic beats are perfect companions to deservedly sought-after Kiwi double bassist, Matt Penman (solo – intro #1, 4, 11) plucking and, very occasionally, strumming strings with gusto, creating fat sound vaguely reminiscent that of Christian McBride.
But it is Haskins who is chiefly responsible for conjuring moods: the breezy opener 'biorhythm' is followed by the restless, groove-driven #2 'patience', while #3 'interbeing' imparts a mild sense of mysteriousness, as if treading in some forbidden garden. In similar vein, we have the darkly lyrical #4 'moodring', as well as #7 'cranes' of melancholic desolation and the bittersweat #10 'Zuma'. Of the more vibrant kind there are the festive #5 'timespeed', with some electronica and dance floor vibe; the loosely structured #6 'trance dance'; the swinging #9 'nyah' where the bandleader also plays organ and allows space for a drum solo; the driving #8 'call me tomorrow' inducing a somewhat demanding urgency; and finally the busybodily comic #11 'itty bitty ditty'. The sole quibble I have is that the miniatures #7-9 could have been longer. Total time: 56.48 min. Probably it's worth to round up the trumpeter's latest, genre-bender album called "Recombination" (2011, Nineteen-Eight).