Jazz CD Reviews

Five Play Jazz Quintet – Five Play Jazz Quintet (2010) – Auraline Records

They have a message and it is great melodic modern jazz.

Published on June 26, 2011

Five Play Jazz Quintet – Five Play Jazz Quintet (2010) – Auraline Records

Five Play Jazz Quintet – Five Play Jazz Quintet (2010) – Auraline Records,  63:18 ****:

(Tony Corman – guitar; Laura Klein – piano; Paul Smith – bass; Alan Hall – drums; Dave Tidball – sax & clarinet)

Five Play Jazz Quintet have a bit of a unique story to tell.  The group sort of just started forming itself starting with Tony Corman and Laura Klein who met at Berklee College of music back in 1977.  Tony Corman used to play woodwinds but switched to guitar.  In the years following they came up with drummer Alan Hall whom Corman rehearsed with at John Horner’s American Dream Band.  Next they came across saxophonist Dave Tidball whom Laura played piano with in one of his ensembles.  Tony heard him play and remarked Dave plays soprano sax in tune.  This all occurs in Boston and New England.  Laura and Tony married in 1984 and soon moved to the San Francisco Bay area.  Alan and Dave followed soon after.  The sound of this quintet is post-bop modern creative jazz.

Five Play Jazz Quintet
(2010) is their first album release under this ensemble name.  The quintet performs all original compositions by Tony and Laura and one composition by Dave.  What you will hear is as they say melodic heartfelt jazz for the jazz listener as well as those new to jazz.  Tony Corman used to play woodwinds but some years ago switched to guitar.

“Off the Ground” is a great start for this album.  It swings beginning with that wonderfully “in tune” soprano sax of Dave Tidball, followed by a little changeover unison playing with Laura’s left hand on piano and Paul Smith on bass and it breaks into some great swinging jazz soloing with Tony on guitar backed by Paul’s bass and Allan Hall’s drums keeping the time, with Laura chording on piano.  The solos keep trading off.

“Flight of the Gazorpie” the liner notes advise this is “a plaintiff jazz waltz that evokes the stately flight of the enormous mythical bird”.  Be that as it may, it lightly dances with all players taking a turn at solos and backed by the others.  There is such a great rhythm section in Laura, Paul and Alan with Tony on guitar taking turns waltzing with soprano sax and guitar.

“He’e’s Boogie” described as “all eight tentacles are fully deployed: modern boogie-woogie meets the Jazz Messengers” and I catch the flavor of that.  A nice change up in rhythm on this and Dave has switched to alto sax on this one and lays out the theme followed by Laura pleasing us with some nice piano chops.  We get to hear Alan Hall work out a bit on the drums.  This really underlines the Jazz Messenger part!  Every so often everyone stops and in the distance you hear I think probably Alan Hall shout out “1-2-3-4” and they hit it again.  Great stuff!

“Once Upon A Time” is a nice ¾ time tune with a slight Brazilian rhythm.  Dave Tidball has switched to clarinet on this one.  It is very lyrical.

“Indigone” (“past tense of indigo”) This is very catchy with call and answer made by the players at first between Dave on soprano sax and Tony on guitar, then Laura breaks in on piano changing it into a Latin jazz beat with Paul on bass backing her with Alan on drums.  Dave breaks in reminiscent of John Coltrane on his soprano sax.  It then goes to Laura doing simultaneous riffing with Alan playing hard on drums.

“Amor Fati” is a nice flowing melody changeup with Dave on his alto sax, followed by Tony soloing on guitar.  Laura and Tony pick it again playing off each other.  Dave comes in again on sax.

“Fever Dream” has that mysterious sound and rhythm and is described as “a safari to a mysterious and sensual jungle where unseen dangers lurk”.  Dave is again on his alto sax and carries the melody at first with Laura taking over.  Paul on bass and Alan on drums do that familiar afro beat with Tony joining in with melody on his guitar.

“Bright Golden Sunshine” is a joyous dancing melody with Tony on guitar and Dave on soprano sax often playing unison together and the others filling in with constant rhythm changes.  Dave goes sort of “Coltrane” on us, dancing around with Tony chording on the guitar.  The piece ends very similar as it started with counter rhythms voiced on their instruments.

“In a Grain of Sand” is a sweet composition by Laura Klein who plays it on piano backed by bass and drums.  It is gentle and lyrical.  It is particularly pleasing when Dave is in the dance with his clarinet playing with Laura in unison.  Everyone takes a solo in this piece. “Side Steppin’ Blues” is Dave Tidball’s composition.  Dave takes the first solo on his alto sax bringing us the blues.  Film noir visions of an old smoky night club scene with sax and piano cuttin’ us those low down dirty blues.  The rhythm section and guitar give a generous portion of blues as well.

Five Play Jazz Quintet
(2010) is a joy to listen to.  These are very accomplished musicians who speak with each other on their instruments.  I would be happy to walk into any place they were playing knowing what a great set of performers they are.  They have a message and it is great melodic modern jazz.  The sound quality and mixing are excellent, and there are good liner notes.  

TrackList:  Off the Ground; Flight of the Gazorpie; He’e’s Boogie; Once Upon A Time; Indigone; Amor Fatl; Fever Dream; Bright Golden Sunshine; In A Grain of Sand; Sidesteppin’ Blues.

— Tim Taylor

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