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May 2002

Jerry Steinhilber Trio
Chicago Trio, New York Tenor
Soul Note

Fans of Coltrane's early to mid-'60s music will welcome this energetic collaboration between the legendary New York tenor and soprano saxophonist George Garzone and a strong Chicago trio led by drummer Jerry Steinhilber.

The original tunes and arrangements for this 1999 session provide the fuel for serious combustion. The rhythm section of Steinhilber, pianist Jim Trompeter and bassist Larry Kohut stokes the furnace throughout, especially on the cranked-up, supercharged "Head Now" and the modal "Blue Note Maki," which generates enough heat to make it through a Windy City winter.

Other memorable pieces include the traditional "Billy Boy," with its off-kilter arrangement and surprising modulations, and a tough and tender version of the ballad standard "This Is Always." Though it's not always obvious at fast tempos, Garzone has a beautiful vibrato, especially in the lower register, and he plays this Harry Warren/Mack Gordon standard as if he knows the lyrics. Worth noting too are the elastic shifting tempos of "The Mingus I Knew," the go for the throat whole-tone blues "Hey! Open Up" and the moving tenor-drum duet in the middle of "For All Children." The spiritual exploration of this last piece, composed after the brutal gun rampage of some Arkansas junior high school students, might remind listeners of Coltrane's cosmo epic "Intersteller Space."

Originally published in May 2002
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