Outside my house, Cory the barber honks his car horn. A few hours ago, Snethkamp Chrysler-Jeep and Dodge delivered his new 2010 Jeep Cherokee. Cory is taking me for a spin. The passenger side window is down. The new Clayton Brothers’ album “The New Song and Dance” booms from the car stereo.
“Man, this is nice”.
“No more catching the bus for me,” Cory says pulling away from the curb as I strap on the passenger seatbelt.
“That’s a big upgrade. Cutting heads must pay well”.
“It’s been a good year,” Cory says turning onto Beaconsfield.
“The new Clayton Brother’s album is nice”.
“Yeah,” Cory says adjusting the volume.
“One of my Facebook friends raved about it.”
“You haven’t bought the album yet”?
“I’ll take the Clayton Brothers over the Marsalis’s any day,” Cory says slowing the Cherokee to a crawl. A Harper Woods’ police patrol car sneaks up, and then zooms around us.
“Is that Terell Stafford on the trumpet”?
“Yep, I believe Jeff and John made him an honorary Clayton. Check out this solo on “Battle Circle,” Cory says. He rewinds to track three. Stafford wolfs down the changes like chocolates.
“Is that John’s son, Gerald, on the keys”?
“Yep, he’s on the brink of greatness, and he’s not even 30-year-old,” Cory says.
Cory and I saw Gerald perform with Roy Hargrove’s band at the Detroit Jazz fest three years ago. Gerald shocked us. We liked his style immediately. He babies the piano and takes short solos. He’s unlike most contemporary jazz piano players, who tend to manhandle the piano.
“On this album Gerald changes styles with ease.
“On the Clayton Brother’s last album ‘Brother to Brother’, Gerald sounds like Gene Harris and Brad Melhdau, but Gerald found his voice on ‘The New Song and Dance’. He sounds more self-assured. His dad and his uncle push him. On ‘Soul Tango’ and ‘Chicago Bop Steppin’ they’re riding him like a superintendent. Gerald handles the pressure.
“Gerald and Terell are good together. Terell is a strong trumpeter”.
“He could blow the sun out of the sky”.
“John’s solo on ‘They Won’t Go When I Go’, is outrageous as though Ray Brown’s spirit guides him”.
“John is classy like Ray Brown was.”
“So do you like my new ride”?
“I was so wrapped up in ‘The New Song and Dance’ I wasn’t paying attention to how the car rides. Let me keep the Cherokee for a few days. Then I’ll be able to give you a better review. Deal”?
“I would loan you one of my kidneys before I’d loan you my new car,” Cory says.
“How about loaning me ‘The New Song and Dance” album instead?
“I’d give away the other Kidney before I’d let go of this album.”