Friday, January 31, 2014

Howard Alden / Andy Brown Quartet, Heavy Artillery

There are quite a few guitar-slingers playing jazz out there these days, if the number of recordings I get every month is any indication. Many look back to a very golden tradition of the '50s and '60s especially, when there seemed to be so many great players recording and playing the clubs. That Jim Hall has passed means there are even fewer legends from that time still active, and I was very sad to hear about it.

But even so we have some great plectrists still, folks who can keep the excitement and immediacy going in "classic" ways. Howard Alden and Andy Brown are two of them. They join forces in a quartet where the picking is other-worldly and the swinging hard.The Howard Alden / Andy Brown Quartet's new album Heavy Artillery (Delmark 5008) is aptly named. They are fired up with an able rhythm section of Joe Policastro on bass and Bob Rummage on drums, and it's lines, lines, lines of fire that in this case you DO want to get in the way of.

They tackle standards of the songbook and jazz variety but the main idea is to jam out, interchanging, exchanging and extemporizing musical chariots of fire to keep you moving along with them.

It's one of those sessions where the pump is primed and the ice has melted. With a winter like this one, that's exactly what we need!

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