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April 2002

Philadelphia Heritage Art Ensemble
Under the Bridge
Dreambox Media

Philadelphia Heritage Art Ensemble, led by trumpeter Fred Adams, has given itself the difficult mission of attempting to keep "the tradition of East Coast bebop...alive and before the people." It's dedicated to the funky hard-bop style created by Philly players like Philly Joe Jones, Lee Morgan and Hank Mobley, and the Ensemble has created a fine CD that sounds more like an early-'60s Blue Note album than something made by a band that includes veterans of the Sun Ra Arkestra and Kool & the Gang.

The Ensemble is significantly better than most keeper-of-the-flame bands because the punchy brass sound of Fred Adams and trombonist Clifford Adams (no relation), which is bold and imaginative on the album's eight pieces. Under the Bridge closes with three compositions by Mobley, which are excellent due to the band's surprising choice to feature Adams and Adams more than tenor saxophonist James Stewart, who shares Mobley's instrument.

Originally published in April 2002
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