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Monday, February 25, 2013

Paul Smoker Notet - Cool Lives (CDBaby, 2012) ****½

By Stef

Sometimes you wonder how musicians promote their albums, or rather try to avoid fans to know that they  actually have new music ready for purchase. If your humble servant did not scan places like iTunes, CDBaby and other eMusic sites and even more disorganised sources (if that is possible at all), spending hours scrolling down new releases of mostly junk (did you know that every day new albums by Louis Armstrong are released, every single day?), and then purchased some of the more promising albums, some great music would never even been reviewed, ever!

Take this fantastic albums by three technical wizards : Paul Smoker on trumpet, Steve Salerno on guitar and Phil Haynes on drums. All three musicians have extensive track records, are as comfortable in classical as in traditional jazz as in free form, have a great warm tone, an adventurous spirit and an incredible sense of pulse.

Put them together - and they have played before - on various CIMP albums, but not as a trio, and you get this little gem. It starts like cool jazz - and the iconic reference to Chet Baker on the cover picture is no coincidence, but what they do with is somethign else  - it swings, it sings, it chills and it pops. The trio move boundaries throughout, changing jazz styles as they see fit, pushing the tradition into unheard areas, without actually losing the connection. And on top of it all ... the three musicians have great fun (despite their cool).

If free jazz ever sounded cool, here is your treat ... don't miss it! Enjoyable from the very first to the very last second.

Listen and buy from CDBaby.

PS - Musicians, label owners, music publishers .... please promote your albums! A single email to this blog may help. Don't let your efforts remain unnoticed. Thanks!

© stef


Anonymous said...

Evan Parker started one of his monthly Vortex gigs once, dubbed "The Evan Parker Quartet", with a clarification:
'One might wonder, how many are there in a quartet. Well tonight we are three'.
Paul Smoker seems to follow this line of thought with his Nonet.
Great trumpeter, very exciting to see a new release from him.

allan said...

Like you Stef I came across this wonderful CD purely by chance, back in August 2012.
For me, this is an absolute gem of a recording and is one of the best things Paul has done since his four trio recordings with Ron Rohovit and Phil Haynes in the 1980's.