- Lodgelian Mode 4:46
- Ron's Blues 3:23
- A Wolf Gang Of Arabia 8:04
- What A Thing 3:44
- Where Have I Been 4:55
- Grey and Blue 3:37
- Blues In The Gut 5:35
- Montana 2:16
- Remembrance 9:48
- Seper B 5:00
- A Nod Or A Wink 4:58
- At Home In Rome 6:07
- Reverend 2:21
LABOR RECORDS TO Re-ISSUE TRUMPETER JACK WALRATH'S 1980 ALBUM
Spirited recording of original compositions by Mingus protége combines the best of hard-bop drive with contemporary harmonic innovations
Labor Records is pleased to announce the re-release of Jack Walrath's "In Montana," a fresh testament to the compatibility of tradition and innovation in jazz which was recorded at three different sessions in Montana in January, April and March of 1980. There are thirteen original compositions on the recording, created by Walrath and his cohorts. While firmly set in the tradition of swing-based rhythms and be-bop influenced improvisations, Walrath and his sidemen nevertheless incorporate many of the significant stylistic innovations stemming from modern, modal, free and out jazz, thus giving this recording a passionate and somewhat unpredictable edge while remaining completely accessible - a winning combination that is hard to find in most contemporary jazz recordings.
Trumpeter Walrath, who has performed with Charles Mingus and Ray Charles, is joined by Ornette Coleman-influenced pianist Bob Nell, saxophonist Chuck Florence, bassist Kelly Roberty and drummer/percussionist Jim Honaker.
Why jazz "In Montana"? Is there a particular Montana flavor? Perhaps there is. The listener will hear a highly-refined sense of space and a looseness which seems to reflect an unconventional attitude towards life as well as the expansive geography of the territory. Unconfined by the tension and stress of the urban environment, these talented musicians play and feel jazz on the level of the best.
Not nearly as obvious in its revivalism, but every bit as committed, is Montana. With guest soloist Jack Walrath on trumpet and fluegelhorn, the quartet plays a highly evolved hard-bop evocation of the Sixties Blue Note records sound, when Wayne Shorter and Freddie Hubbard were in full sway as composer-soloists. Though the group's members all live in or hail from Montana, their CD suggests mid-'60s New York mainstream improvisation at its finest. The level of playing is high: Reedman Chuck Florence has a strong tone, a hard attack, and a sophisticated harmonic approach on tenor, masked in the kind of smeared notes and glissandos that Shorter originated; Walrath, a veteran of several Charlie Mingus bands and numerous bluechip sideman spots, is capable of timbral delicacies and refined shadings of the highest order; and pianist Bob Nell moves between Cecil Taylor-style angularities and lush, open-ended chord extensions with finesse. The group's roots show up most obviously in the stop-time space and uninhibited humour of Nell and bassist Kelly Roberty's Seper B, as Florence's soprano sax flutters and squawks like a crow on a telegraph wire. But this is serious stuff. In fact, "Montana" is one of the strongest mainstream-jazz debuts of the past year. - Crispin Cioe
"The mention of a post-bop group from Billings, Montana, could qualify for 'Ripey's Believe It or Not', but one listen to the intriguing quartet plus one lineup proves them highly credible. Extending and transcending conventions seems to be their game plan, and their overall achievement on this debut album is uniquely refreshing. As a matter of fact, to my recollection, the only other ensemble to ever similarly wed the drive and regularity of bebop with abstract, free form innovations, is the little known Joe Harriot group from Britain.
Mingus alumnus Jack Walrath stands above the pack with his consistently sturdy trumpet offerings while reedman Chuck Florence makes for a smooth front-line partner, as well as a fine soloist. The entire album tracks well due to great song variety, and of all the selections offered, the title track deserves singular mention for its college fight song melody set to a hard-bop form." - Tom Nuccio
IN MONTANA - Labor LAB 7005-2: Ron's Blues,Wolfgang Of Arabia;What a Thing; Where Have I Been Before?; Grey and Blue; Montana; Remembrance; Seper B; A Nod Or A Wink.
Personnel: Jack Walrath, trumpet, flugelhorn; Chuck Florence, tenor, soprano saxophone; Bob Nell, piano; Kelly Roberty, bass; Jim Honaker, drums.
"...Walrath's tunes and solos shine brightest. His extended Wolfgang Of Arabia builds from phone-dialing noise and colorist percussion through brooding solos over a caravan bass pulse, to a triumphant melody near the end. Great stuff. On the trumpet showcase, Where Have I Been Before?, Walrath halfvalves, squirts, and sprays his way to the stars. His statement of the melody here alone qualifies him as a world-class player...." - Paul de Baros
…Starting with the tongue-in-cheek liner notes by Jack Walrath (trumpet, flugelhorn, percussion), and ending with the rather mellow medium swing of “A Nod Or A Wink,” here is yet another example of underexposed mainstream-heading-out jazz musicians giving it their all.
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