The razors edge of jazz, Charles McPherson has raised the bar yet again with The Journey!
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
This isn't Charles McPherson's first rodeo. Having wowed critics and fans alike when he started with the Mingus band in 1960, The Journey shows there is still plenty of gas left in the tank. Comparisons to Charlie Parker are not out of line but McPherson takes the traditional bebop sound and phrasing to both a cerebral and visceral that allows his own compositions to become cutting edge harmonic explorations of both melody and meter. The Journey documents a musical connection with some Denver musicians and includes reinvented standards as well as some stellar original contributions.
Variety is abundant and highlights would include the exquisite duet "I Should Care" with pianist Chip Stephens and the McPherson original "Manhattan Nocturne." A working band, a collective of serious musicians and not an ego with some after thoughts that simply know the changes. Saxophonist Keith Oxman contributes "Tami's Tune" and is allowed more than enough room to show where his artistic voice is heading. The sound is deep, the edge sharp and the lyrical sense of purpose never wavers. The rhythm section swings with bassist Ken Walker and drummer Todd Reid. This is old school...and virtually flawless.
Tracks: The Decathexis From Youth; Elena; Spring Is Here; Manhattan Nocturne; Au Private; I Should Care; The Journey; Tami's Tune; Bud Like.