Tim_armacost-brightly_dark_span3
January/February 2004

Tim Armacost
Brightly Dark
SJR

Is it me, or does it seem like every other album by a saxophonist is an homage to John Coltrane, whether or not the connection is made explicit? It's hard to escape the great man's shadow, that's for sure. On his album Brightly Dark (Satchmo Jazz), soprano and tenor saxophonist Tim Armacost says "what the heck" and starts right off with a tune called "Afro Pentameter," which in spirit evokes the Coltrane soprano tour de force "Afro Blue" from Live at Birdland. From there, Armacost Newks things up, running down such tunes as "May I Come In?" and "Old Devil Moon" with a Sonny-er disposition. The band (Bruce Barth, piano; Ray Drummond, bass; and Billy Hart, drums) plays with the focus and degree of excitement one would expect; Hart shows us once again why he's one of the great jazz drummers, period. The fades at the end of some tunes are pretty annoying. Still, Armacost's old-fashioned head-solos-head kind of jazz is full of gumption, and great fun, besides. Kinda wish there were more new albums like this crossing my CD player.

Originally published in January/February 2004
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