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Jeff Kaye: Just Like Me

Kaye’s trumpet and his quintet are in the spirit of the Lee Morgan, Blue Mitchell and Freddie Hubbard Blue Note sessions of the 1960s. If not innovative, the veteran of Ray Charles’ big band is fleet in his uptempo soloing, capable of blistering passages like those on his “Other Steps” and Dizzy Gillespie’s “That’s Earl, Brother.” Still, he is most affecting in quieter moments, as in his flugelhorn solos on the languorous “J.B.’s Waltz,” “Everything I Have Is Yours,” “Sozhino” and “Jay,” a tribute to the late tenor saxophonist Jay Migliori.

George Harper, another Charles alumnus, brings to his searching tenor-sax solos elements of Hank Mobley and middle-period John Coltrane–especially the latter on Harper’s composition “Shalabunga.” Old hand John Campbell and newcomer Josh Nelson divide piano duties. Campbell accompanies and solos with accumulated wisdom about harmony and rhythm, Nelson with linear continuity and a lovely soft touch. Campbell’s solos on drummer Paul Kreibich’s “Partido in Mar Vista” and on “J.B.’s Waltz” are highlights. Except for a comfortable solo on the waltz, the Swiss bassist Isla Eckinger confines himself to providing time, good notes and the intro to “Shalabunga.” Kreibich, as usual, is top-notch throughout.

Originally Published