June 1997

San Francisco Nighthawks
Featuring Eddie Marshall
Monarch Records/HLH

This eponymous collection of tunes by the participating musicians begins nicely with "The Rain Theory," the plaintive head intoned by composer and tenor saxophonist Wayne de Silva in unison with buoyant guitarist George Cotsirilos. When Mike McMullen replaces de Silva as tenor and composer on the ensuing "First Spirit," the mood changes interestingly to suave mystery.

From there on, the album mostly sloshes over into a contemporary jazz mode, which will separate those on a smooth diet from the rest of jazz fans who may crave something spicier and/or stronger. Melodies tend towards the inconsequential and the structure is unclear, which means that the talented musicians don't tend to shine as brightly as they might.

There are glimmers, nonetheless, of dynamic drumming by the leader, suave Wesish slithering by Cotsirilos, hip post-bop explorations by pianist Paul Nagel, and affecting though differently formed intonations by the saxmen. Too many of the solos are too brief, though, and they leave a listener curious as to how the virtuosic ensemble would sound on an album of standards.

Originally published in June 1997
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