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June 2006

The Clayton Brothers
Back in the Swing of Things
Hyena

If you like the Horace Silver Quintet and the Cannonball Adderley Quintet, you’ll dig this album. It conveys the same kind of exuberance, swing and soulfulness as those groups. The Brothers—bassist John and alto saxophonist and flutist Jeff—are joined by trumpeter Terrell Stafford, pianist Bill Cunliffe (on two cuts by Gerald Clayton, John’s son) and drummer Jeff Hamilton for this uplifting session.

Except for Thelonious Monk’s “’Round Midnight” and Gerald Clayton’s “Quick Delivery,” the tunes come from the pen of one or the other brother. The fast-paced, challenging “Blow Your Horn,” the atmospheric “Ultra Sensitive” (reminiscent of a movie theme by the likes of Henry Mancini) and the driving, minor-key tune “Firestorm” are typical of this CD: There’s excellence in the writing, excellence in the ensemble blowing and excellence in the solos.

John’s fat sound and pounding walk suggest the late Ray Brown. Jeff ’s alto work is supple and spirited. Stafford, a modern-day Clifford Brown, and Hamilton are tight and flawless in the written horn passages. John, Cunliffe and Hamilton comprise one of most driving rhythm sections on the scene. To borrow the title of one of Silver’s albums, this album has “that healin’ feeling” throughout.

Originally published in June 2006
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