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John Nugent Quartet: Taurus People

Sharing the mike on four tunes with sopranist/tenorman Dave Leibman, his former teacher and continued good friend, tenorman John Nugent is here making his first bid for national attention. That he is doing this at the now comparatively advanced age of 35 seems to indicate a bit of well-advised caution and patience, a sign of maturity not shared by many other of our newer names. Stylistically, Nugent comes out of an essentially post-Coltrane/Shorter bag, but this is not to say that he is devoid of a personal sense of direction. He seems to be at his best on the tracks upon which he is the only hornman, i.e., “Monk’s Dream,” “Star Crossed Lovers,” “Beija Flor,” pianist Bruce Barth’s “The Final Push,” and Nugent’s own “Four of a Kind.”

Throughout, the contributions of Barth, bassist Doug Weiss, and drummer Al Foster present a flowing stream of time, while Liebman’s soprano solos on the up-tempo “12 Tone Poem” and “Bright Piece” are typical of this idiosyncratic improviser. But on the occasions when he joins Nugent on tenor (“Taurus People” and “Picadilly Lily”) there are noticeable differences of opinion regarding intonation, especially on unison passages.

Originally Published