NEW SMALL GROUPS…Jack Mouse Group; Range of Motion, Rich Thompson; Less is More

Washington-based Origin Records has released a pair of quintet releases, both lead by drummers, and differed most obviously by the chord instrument. This presence of guitar or piano seems to make all of the difference between the depth of that thing we call “swing.”

Jack Mouse drives a team with Scott Robinson/woodwinds, Art Davis/tp-fh, John McLean/g and Bob Bowman or Kelly Sill/b. Mouse’s compositions have a lithe melodicism to them, with themes from “LaPorta” or “Hip Check” veering into solos at a whim. There is definitely a pocket for the band to groove on, but it’s about as deep as one on Karma Jeans, as McLean’s fuzzy electric guitar goes more vertical than horizontal in direction.

Meanwhile the pocket for Rich Thompson’s team of Terell Stafford/tp-fh, Doug Stone/ts, Gary Versace/p-B3 and Jeff Campbell/b is fit for a pair of Oshkosh overalls. A hip hard bop “Lotus Blossom” and jaunty “I’ve Never Been In Love Before” set a black diamond of a ski slope for Stafford’s cheery trumpet. Campbell’s bluesy bass oozes through a vibrant B3 on “Hoot Gibson” and Stones’ smoky tenor fills the room on a smooth as silk “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was.” Even Ornette Coleman’s quirky “Invisible” is able to cut a rug, while the title bluesy title track cuts a rivulet so deep that it might turn into a crevasse! Fascinating rhythms!

Origin Records

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