George Bohanon (tb), Kirk Lightsey (p), Joe Messina (g), Cecil McBee (b), George Goldsmith, Bob Cousar, Henry Cosby (perc)
Reference: FSRCD 1669
Bar code: 8427328616690
The early 60s gave us the pleasant—and very successful—association between modern jazz and bossa nova. The intriguing rhythm of the Brazilian beat laid a pulsating foundation for some great solo improvisations over the years.
From Detroit, a city ripe with good jazz talent, came a group led by George Bohanon, one of the most refreshing jazz trombonists of the era, and an instrumentalist of the first order. His melodic approach and assured tone, the easy flow of ideas and technical excellence was what first garnered him some attention with an instrumental-vocal group known as the Premiers. After that he enjoyed a lengthy stay with Yusef Lateef’s band and other groups before finally joining the Chico Hamilton quintet.
Aside from George Bohanon’s trombone solo work, other solo honors are shared by pianist Kirk Lightsey, guitarist Joe Messina and bassist Cecil McBee, while adding spice to the bossa nova sound are Bob Cousar on gourd and Henry Cosby on cymbal.
"I’d previously only come across Bohanon’s work with a Chico Hamilton quintet that came as close as that drummer-leader ever got to hard bop, at least on record. Bohanon was in the front line along with Charles Lloyd, and his work left a deeper impression than Lloyd’s.
He was also a member of Yusef Lateef’s quintet at some point, which only goes to show his work was appreciated by a musician noted for taking the road less travelled.
Here the focus has obviously shifted, and for a reason I can’t pin down the bossa nova form throws Bohanon’s big, blousy, somewhat Curtis Fuller-esque tone into starker and even more positive relief. There’s economy in his melodic style of an order which ensures that he never overplays, and the lack of technical fireworks for their own sake is most welcome.
The album consequently breezes by, and while some stretching out on the part of both the leader and pianist Lightsey would not have been unwelcome, there’s no point in bemoaning its absence.
The absence of a drummer is hardly felt, and the light and airy rhythmic side of things on Bohanon originals such Conmigo simultaneously cements the music in time and lifts it out of its era in terms of offering the accumulated sound of a small group of musicians enjoying themselves, and communicating that enjoyment without straining for effect."
Nic Jones (August 14, 2019)
"You could make a credible argument that Latin Music from Cuba and Brazil essentially saved jazz in the 50s and 60s from becoming a sterile collection of musical naval gazing by injecting a new and fresh sense of pulsations and rhythms. This release from Blue Moon Records is a must-have to your collection of albums saved for Cruise Night.
Detroit based trombonist George Bohanon is best known for his work with Chico Hamilton, but he put out some impressive material as a leader as well, like this hip samba session with Kirk Lightsey/p, Joe Messina/g, Cecil McBee/b and guest percussionists George Goldsmith, Bob Cousar and Henry Cosby to add to the Brazilian atmosphere. There’s one standard, “Speak Low,” but even it is given the samba treatment, with Bohanon’s warm horn riding the wave like a longboarder, and the team digging deep on the leader’s “El Rio,” “Simpatico” and Lightsey’s sensuous “El Rig” which features the pianist in a warm light. McBee gets some space on the peppy “Mioki” and everyone gets a spot in the light on the creative “Bobbie.” São Paolo by Detroit."
George W. Harris (July 22, 2019)
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