Sunday, August 2, 2009

REINVENTING THE WHEEL

I've spent more time with your latest album “A Gentle Man” than I’ve with any album I’ve received this year perhaps for all the wrong reasons. I’ve admired your work since experiencing your debut album “Preacher Man”. You sound begged comparison to trumpeters Lester Bowie and Harry “Sweets” Edison.

After I listened to “Preacher Man”, I lost track of your career. I figured you were booted from the record label like other jazz musicians during the early 2000's when record companies closed their jazz divisions, leaving many jazz musicians established and up-and-coming in the lurches.

I received “A Gentle Man” last month I listened to it right away. Lately, I received a ton of mediocre album by trumpeters, and I hoped your album would offer a welcomed change. I have to level with you. I dislike “A Gentle Man”. I listened to it repeatedly for weeks because I wanted to like it. Last week I gave up, deciding to go with my initial feelings.
Rob, honestly, I even contemplated not commenting on “A Gentle Man” because it’s always painful for me to trash the work of jazz musicians I admire. Ignoring the album, however, would’ve been unfair and unprofessional. The publicists that send me albums to review on this blog trust I will do so without bias.

I enjoyed “Honeysuckle Rose”, “A Gentle Man” and the “Look of Love”. The other selections were okay at best. The entire album was placid. Maybe “A Gentle Man” would have been a better offering if you had included some original material. I’ve heard standards you included such as “When I Fall in Love” and “Sunny Side of the Street” more time than I’d care to remember. You did not do anything interesting with the standards, which happened to be your most discernible offense.
Frankly, Rod, you made an album I heard many times. Given your talent, you underperformed big time. Not putting your best foot forward, in my book, is an unforgivable offense. Rod, I hope that you take my comments to heart, and on your next album, you will be more original, and challenge yourself by composing original music, relying less on standards that have been played and reworked over and over
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