No Need for Words
Mack Avenue Records
Love is a dynamic and multifaceted force, as trumpeter Sean Jones sees it, so this concept album isn’t exactly one big bouquet of rosy ballads. Near the end of the disc, for example, you’ll encounter “Love’s Fury,” a performance that Jones intended to make “as nasty and evil as I possibly could.” Mission accomplished, thanks to querulous horns, stomping beats, crashing keyboard chords and some post-fusion guitar roar from Matt Stevens. No doubt about it, Jones and his bandmates want to remind us that love is a battlefield, too. That tune is followed by “Forgiveness (Release),” another album highlight, in this instance a piece inspired by the trumpeter’s complicated relationship with his father. It serves as a spiritual coda, an emotional cleansing of sorts, churchified and stirring, that has nothing to do with romantic clichés or tropes.
Still, those who admire Jones’ way with a pretty melody or a soaring theme will find much to enjoy here. The album’s title track is muted and Miles-ish, a ballad that slowly and soulfully unfolds, with drummer Obed Calvaire and pianist Orrin Evans contributing hushed atmospherics and lyrical accents. On the brighter side of romance, there’s the opening anthem “Look and See,” which is illuminated by the familiar pairing of Jones and alto saxophonist Brian Hogans, and the brassy, syncopated “Olive Juice,” an engaging showcase for the band’s frontline and a rhythm section prominently featuring bassist Luques Curtis and percussionist Khalil Kwame Bell.