Sean Jones – Live From Jazz at The Bistro – Mack Avenue Records # MAC 1111 – 64:06 – ****1/2:
Sean Jones heats up The Jazz Bistro…
(Sean Jones – trumpet and flugelhorn; Orrin Evans – piano; Luques Curtis – bass; Obed Calvaire – drums (#2, 3, 6); Mark Whitfield, Jr. – drums (#1, 4, 5, 7); Brian Hogans – alto and soprano sax (#2, 3, 4, 6)
Several years ago at the Detroit Jazz Festival, I first experienced trumpeter, Sean Jones. I left the Festival convinced that he was heading for big things as a solo artist. Both as a leader, and as a sideman on several stages at the Festival, and at jam sessions late at night, Sean simply lit up the stage in Detroit. He was a firebrand with blistering power on burners, yet with a tender warm, open tone on ballads. His presence was strongly felt.
Jones has now released his eighth album for the Detroit label, Mack Avenue. Sean brings his energy to a live audience at St. Louis’ jazz club, The Bistro. Backed by his long tenured quintet, Jones was ripe and ready to unleash largely new material on an eager audience.
Opening with “Art’s Variable” Jones’ tone is magisterial, commanding and soaring above the rhythm section. Orrin Evans is a great partner on piano as he is highly percussive in his attack, insistent, yet can be spare on his use of space, knowing that less can be sometimes more. Like Jones, his playing demands attention. Sean steps up to take command at the seven and a half minute mark, and ratchets up the energy to heat up the room.
On “Lost and Found” alto saxist, Brian Hogans, blends nicely with Jones. This mid range burner hits the sweet spot. “The Ungentrified Blues” goes from gritty to downright incendiary, taking its time to whip up the audience into a frenzy with held notes and escalating tension.
“BJ’s Tune” was written for Jones’ nephew, the son of Sean’s brother, a minister. It blends gospel and jazz with R & B influences. It begins tenderly but progresses to a soaring conclusion bringing in “Amazing Grace.” From the reaction of the enthusiastic attendees at The Bistro, it is easy to see that Sean has an even brighter future in the top rank of trumpeters on the scene. This live session is a great place to hear his trumpet prowess.
Lost Then Found
The Ungentrified Blues