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January/February 1999

Jerry Hahn
Jerry Hahn & His Quintet
Arhoolie Records

This rambunctious 1967 recording dates surprisingly well. Hahn and a cohort from John Handy's group of the time, Michael White, team with the rhythm tandem for Charles Lloyd, Jack DeJohnette and Ron McClure. The unfamiliar name is Noel Jewkes, whose work here on tenor and flute is excellent. How someone this good has managed to remain unknown for thirty years beats me. Phil Elwood's cogent notes call him the best mainstream reedman in the Bay Area as of 1998 (Handy may be chagrined) and I would not argue unless it would be to extend the range. I don't know of a better contemporary modern saxman anywhere.

White and McClure are up their standard of the time, and DeJohnette and the leader really shine. Hahn's incorporation of rock, country, and things more outre is as convincing as what Frizell was to do but more extroverted, and the drummer sounds as happy as I've ever heard him. A couple of the tunes are definitely period pieces, but the only real problem is the short playing time. The price is accordingly lower, but one is left wishing there was an unissued hour or two lying around.

Originally published in January/February 1999
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