On Oct. 16, 2012 critically acclaimed trumpet player Pharez Whitted's Origin Records debut For The People. A hard bop infused sonic celebration that unlike so many self-absorbed trumpet players looks to promote the goodness from within and the power of music to change lives for the better. Along the way we get a hard bop hybrid of what is a musical happy place between classic Blue Note and some of the older Impulse recordings. Instead of leaving with the impression of an artist that feels as though he has been given the cultural keys to the kingdom, Whitted is a sincere and highly committed artist with an outstanding musical pedigree. Whitted's uncle is trombone legend Slide Hampton and dad played drums with Wes Montgomery.
There is an infectious almost captivating spirit that springs forth from the formidable sextet that goes far deeper than simply a handful of tunes. With a stellar lineup including Chicago guitar legend Bobby Broom, pianist Ron Perrillo, saxophonist Eddie Bayard, bassist Dennis Carroll and drummer Greg Autry we find Whitted pushing the music forward with his own unique voice. "Watusi Boogaloo" kicks the party off with the warm open old school sound that takes one back to Freddie Hubbard or maybe a little Horace Silver although with a tune that grooves this well it really does not matter the reference. The high level of talent in the Origin Record stable has never ceased to amaze and Whitted is no exception here. "Another Kinda Blues" is punctuated blues with a steady rollin' groove and plenty of attitude. "Keep The Faith" has a deceptively subtle Latin thing happening underneath the synergy of Whitted and saxophonist Eddie Bayard while Broom comps nicely. The rhythm section of Ron Perrillo, Dennis Carroll and Greg Autry round off things well adding just the right amount of nuances when needed. There are a lot players that call themselves "old school" yet some never seem to find that exact classic sound that Whitted gets while maintaining a special contemporary feel to the music.
Whitted also boasts being one of the few serious jazz triple threats as a prolific instrumentalist, inspiring composer and respected jazz educator. The beautiful thing with For The People is that it really is "our" record, retro old school hard bop with a positive flavor and a dynamite band. While I was familiar with his 2010 critically acclaimed "Transient Journey" most critics will tell you we simply can not hear everything. Pharez Whitted is one artist I am happy to play a little catch up on.
It just does not get much better than this!
Tracks: Watusi Boogaloo; If They Could Only See; Another Kinda Blues; Freedom Song; For The People; It Is What It Is; Sad Eyes; Keep The Faith; The Unbroken Promise; Venture; Hope Springs Eternal.
Personnel: Pharez Whitted: trumpet; Eddie Bayard: tenor/soprano saxophones; Bobby Broom: guitar; Ron Perrillo: piano, keyboards; Dennis Carroll: bass; Greg Artry: drums.