Funny, quirky, personal jazz ( quote: Arturo O' Farrill)
The opening tune of Jeff Holmes latest album Of One’s Own hit me …. The piano intro is influenced by great piano players like Thelonious Monk and Bud Powell …. The album Of One’s Own is not Jeff’s debut album in fact, but it is his first album with a small group …… a quartet, which features Adam Kolker on tenor saxophone and bass clarinet, Jef Holmes at the piano, James Cammack on the bass and Steve Johns on drums.
His band mates know all the tricks. Steve Johns is a drummer’s drummer, the liner notes read, groove without strain, inventiveness without forcing the issue.
He started his career in the 1980s in bands like Jens Wendelboe New York Big Band Area Code (212) – the former Norwegian band leader, who studied during that period at the Manhattan School of Music - now he's still appreciated for his craftmanship as instrumentalist, composer and bandleader. Last year he released a great album entitled Fresh Heat. I’m not going to list a name of musicians Steve has accompanied during the last 30 years, because it would fill this complete review – nowadays he’s active as an educator and plays in groups like Native Soul, accompaning legends like Benny Golson and Sonny Fortune as well as his own groups …..
- The album, Of One’s Own, has nine tracks – five compositions by Jeff Holmes himself and four tracks from others, like John Abercrombie’s Labour Day, Richard Rodgers So Long, Far Well; Waltz #3 by Toby Holmes and Nat Simon’s Poinciana.
The title of the album, Of One’s Own, seems to be inspired by the fact that Jeff Holmes presents himself here for the first time, not just hidden somewhere in the band playing his notes at the trumpet (not on this record) or the piano - directing and arranging its band book behind the scenes, but …… on his own …. into the spotlights ….. It would be great if this album could become a recommendation for European club owners or festival producers, to invite the Jeff Holmes Quartet to perform in this part of the world ……….. I’ll be there - on the first row.
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