The Jay Lawrence Quartet – Sweet Lime – Jazz Hang Records JHR 200SL [6/26/12], 66:01 ****:
(Jay Lawrence – drums; Bob Sheppard – tenor saxophone; Tamir Hendelman – piano; John Clayton – bass)
The Jay Lawrence Quartet’s latest release entitled Sweet Lime is a tart treat with some delicious solos from all members of the band making this a musical confection worth a listen.
Of the eleven compositions on the album, seven are Jay Lawrence originals which seem to have ties back to Lawrence’s life or memories. Pianist Tamir Hendelman penned the arrangements for eight compositions which demonstrate his clever feel for the music. As in everyday life, musicians can often be judged by the company they keep, and in the case of drummer Jay Lawrence, he has chosen to surround himself with some top-notch players.
While tenor man Bob Sheppard’s name may not be widely known he is one of those highly regarded West Coast musicians who can deliver the goods in any setting or environment. There is not a tune in this session in which Sheppard does not make his presence felt. However as he was a member of Chick Corea’s Origin band, he does grasp the challenges posed by Corea’s oblique composition “Señor Mouse”. On Ray Noble’s ballad “The Very Thought Of You” he captures the inner beauty of the arrangement.
Tamir Hendelman is an approachable pianist with a highly inventive capacity and a subtle touch. He has worked in both the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra as well as with John Clayton in a trio setting led by Hendelman. So whether it is in the thoughtful introductions to “Fantasia” and “Every Little Thing She Does” or the swinging support on “Anthem For Jubal” and the and the wonderful Monkish “I Mean You”, Tamir never seems to play an out of context note or musical phrase.
The back line of John Clayton bass and Jay Lawrence drums are the glue that holds this band together. Clayton is an outstanding bassist with a big tone who offers exemplary playing throughout the album. Lawrence is an imaginative drummer who uses the complete drum kit not only to drive the band along but provide wonderful accents in all the right places.
While not an everyday working band, this album shows a cohesion that suggests this group should be taken on the road.
TrackList: 1858 l Street; Sweet Lime; Fantasia; Anthem For Jubal; Señor Mouse; The Very Thought Of You; Summer At Tahoe; Timpanogos Snowfall; Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic; Furnace Of Affliction; I Mean You
Pure Pleasure Records releases a re-mastered vinyl of a live duo performance by Archie Shepp.