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The NY Hardbop Quintet: Rokermotion

Without any major label backing, devoid of any young fashion plate or instantly recognizable jazz veteran fronting the lineup; not even a kitschy pitching tool, this delightful ensemble seems destined for doom in the dog eat dog world of jazz industry. But since their inception six years ago, this no-frills ensemble has managed to thrill New York’s jazz mecca with their shameless dedication to hard-bop of the ’50s and ’60s. And why not? Those momentous decades are not only the most long lasting variation in the jazz canon, but also have served as fertile ground for a host of young lions.

So what makes this recording any different? Well, not only does it have the legendary, yet widely unappreciated, Mickey Roker igniting the proceedings with his customary fiery-loose knitted technique, but the combined elements of the convincing, well-conceived solos from trumpeter, Joe Magnarelli and tenor Jerry Weldon, the superbly supple support system provided by bassist Bim Strasberg and pianist Keith Saunders, the overall excellence of group empathy, and lastly a staunch collection of keenly-penned compositions, make this recording a winner.

Originally Published