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Sean Jones: Gemini

On the brief “Gemini (Phase 1),” accompanied only by drummer E.J. Strickland, Sean Jones is all over his horn in an access of high, fast, busy, trumpet playing. The liner-note essay says, “He spits out a series of notes that swirl, dart and soar….” They do so to no discernible purpose beyond spitting, swirling, darting and soaring. The exhibition is apparently intended to disclose the passionate side of Jones’ Gemini personality. That may make sense to an astrologer, but it is unfortunate as a musical first impression.

Deeper into the album, Jones has lovely passages. One of them, “Gemini (Phase 3)” ends the CD with a reflective gospel melody wrapped in his rich, broad tone. Elsewhere on this collection of original compositions by Jones and his sidemen, he captures something of Freddie Hubbard’s mid-’60s combination of wistfulness and toughness. That is notably true of his solo on “Rain of Patience,” but on “Blues for Matt B.” and the waltz “B.J.’s Tune” he seems in direct debt to no one. Young Walter Smith III and the veteran Ron Blake have fine tenor sax turns. Piano is by Mulgrew Miller and Orrin Evans but, with one exception, we’re not told who is on which track.

Originally Published