Jimmy Knepper (tb), Eddie Engels (tp, flh), Dick Vennik (ts), Floris Nico Bunink (p), Harry Emmery (b), John Engels (d)
Reference: CHR 75048 CD
Bar code: 0608917504828
This CD is a reissue of Daybreak's first LP release from 1979. Jimmy Knepper is one of the all-time greats of the jazz trombone. His style of playing is reminiscent of earlier giants such as Dicky Wells or Vic Dickenson, rather than later figures like bebopper J.J. Johnson. Knepper became well known mainly because of his work in several Charles Mingus formations. For this production Knepper played with five Dutch musicians: pianist Floris Nico Bunink, whom he'd met in Mingus's band, drummer John Engels, who'd also played with Knepper before, trumpeter Eddie Engels, saxophonist Dick Vennik and bassist Harry Emmery. On first issue, Down Beat characterized this and Von Freeman's release as "an auspicious start for the new Daybreak label."
"Veteran trombonist Jimmy Knepper has led relatively few recording sessions, but this 1979 studio date is well worth acquiring. Knepper brought his own arrangements to the studio for his pickup group of European musicians to play, and all went well throughout the session. Flügelhornist Eddie Engels and tenor saxophonist Dick Vennik are great foils for the leader's matchless trombone, especially in his sizzling opener, "Tell Me." The sassy "Brewery Boys Blues" and "Nearer My God in G" (a waltz which reworks the old hymn "Nearer My God to Thee") are also originals by Knepper.
Since Jimmy Knepper appeared on many of Charles Mingus' best-known recordings, the inclusion of the late bassist's gospel-flavored "Ecculusiastics" should be no surprise. Also included are two very lyrical takes of the standard "I Thought About You," both of which feature Knepper with pianist Floris Nico Bunink in a duo setting. Recommended."
Ken Dryden -All Music Guide