Melvin Jones defines the title of his first solo recording “Pivot” as “to turn our focus in various directions without losing the original position”. Is this art imitating life or the other way around? Over the years, Mr. Jones has faithfully taken the musical path as it has opened whether as lead or supporting performer, teacher or composer. “Pivot” illustrates the music of an artist solidly “grounded” in his genre which leaves him free to express and explore while pivoting freely to find just the right opening to play.
Fresh from his work in Tyler Perry’s motion picture “I Can Do Bad All By Myself”, Mr. Jones displays a strong yet quiet confidence in his playing. This project has a kind of luster that comes from a broad array of exposures and situations. Coupled with his years as Director of Bands (Marching and Jazz Ensemble) at Atlanta’s historic Morehouse College, the musical well from which Mr. Jones draws runs deep.
The compositions deliver a mixture of fast running, tight ensemble lines (The-Jug-or-Not, Inception, Dizzyspell, Do you Wor Kalonge?, Chaos Groove) as well as breathable pieces (Pivot, Angels, Flights Beyond, Jone-Marie, Philly Time Zone) all lend themselves to strong improvisational sketches. Old school Funkytown Shuffle just gets the toe-a-tapping.
Waltz compositions can be difficult to really groove. Pianist Louis Heriveaux’s original composition “Inner Tubes” is played so the pulse is felt but not heard and bounces easily over the time. It just floats. Mr. Heriveaux is one of the Atlanta scene’s finest pianists whose technical chops and melodic improvisation are in high demand.
The super mellow Mace Hibbard's contribution of Goodnight Moon is a perfect closure Piano and Mr. Jones just close it out with class.
Joining Mr. Jones on “Pivot” is a fantastic cast who give their musical “all” to support the project. Mace Hibbard’s Saxophone lends his expertise both as a soloist and as a compliment to making the compositions come to full bloom. Brian Hogans, the multi-instrumental sensation, contributes his piano skills as well. The rest of the rhythm section blends the strong bass foundation of Rodney Jordan with some of the best young drummers available including Leon Anderson, “Lil” John Roberts and Terreon Gully. Other guests include, Michael Burton, Alto and Tenor Saxophones, and Jeff Bradshaw, Trombone.
Wonderful project Melvin. No referee dare call travelling on this project. Perfect Pivot!
Tracks: The-Jug-or-Knot, Angels, Inner Tubes, Inception, Pivot, Philly Time Zone, Dizzyspell, Jone-Marie, Do You Know Kalogne, Flights Beyond, Funkytown Shuffle, Chaos Groove, Goodnight Moon.
Musicians: Melvin Jones, Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Mace Hibbard, Alto and Tenor Saxophone, Louis Heriveaux, Piano, Brian Hogans, Piano, Rodney Jordan, Bass, Leon Anderson, Drums, Terreon Gully, Drums, “Lil” John Roberts, Drums, Michael Burton, Alto & Tenor Saxophones, Jeff Bradshaw, Trombone,
Artist's Website: www.MelvinJones.net or www.turnaroundrecordscom
These are my comments. I welcome yours.
Reviewed by: Bruce Pulver
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