****RINGER OF THE WEEK****Tom Harrell: Something Gold, Something Blue

One attractive thing (among many) about Tom Harrell, he never sits still. Almost every album is a tweak of something he’s done and is already comfortable with. This time around, he replaces his long time pianist Danny Grisset and saxist Wayne Escoffrey and replaces the rhythm with guitarist Charles Altura, and, even more exciting, brings in a second trumpeter, upcomer Ambrose Akinmusire to add extra textures and harmonies.

There are no liner notes to let us know when either of the horns are in the front, but it’s no matter, as when they blend together, or veer apart after a stated melody, you get rich layers of brass charm. Harrell also lets the world know he has confidence in Altura, as he gives the guitarist plenty of space on “Circuit,” “Keep On Goin’” and “ Trances.” Harrell himself has his usual tone that is the standard by which all other horn players are measured, with a jaw droppingly sweet “Body and Soul” and a wonderfully exotic “Delta of the Nile” with the extra mystique of Omer AVital’s oud to take you to the inner labyrinths of Luxor.The lithe rhythm is breezy with Altura’s guitar, with the two h orns being carried like autumn l eaves on “Sound Image” and the fragrant “Travelin’.” This is an exciting and daring album that gets better with every listen. Album of the year?

High Note Records


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