March 1997

Harold Danko
The Feeling of Jazz

This album repeats the tunes (and their order) on the 1962 Impulse album Duke Ellington & John Coltrane. The pianist and company (Rich Perry, tenor saxophone; Scott Colley, bass; Jeff Hirshfield, drums) stretch out longer than the original participants and, to their credit, avoid musical plagiarism. The musicians show considerable independent thought.

On the opening "In A Sentimental Mood", Danko leads off with a flowery, ECM-ish solo; his avoidance of the obvious sets the tone for the rest of the album. On "Take The Coltrane" he begins with low- and middle-register lines and builds scale-wise and chord-wise toward a climax.

Perry shows similar inclinations, pacing himself with spare, thoughtful solo entrances and busier finishes. My only reservation is that his expression sometimes seems deliberately cool. Colley is lyrical, Hirshfield rhythmically extrapolative.
If I remember correctly, the original album received mixed reviews. This one should be universally lauded.

Originally published in March 1997
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