B-Sharp Quintet: Tha Go ‘Round

Since the halycon days of the cool school, the West Coast jazz has been devalued musical currency. Of course, subscribing to this “truth” means leaving out a slew of cats (Gerald Wilson and Horace Tapscott, to name two) who didn’t heed New York’s siren call. The past five years have seen a real Cali renaissance with folk like Charlie Hunter and Blacknote-major talents all. In 1994, L.A.’s B Sharp Quartet released their debut disc Searching For The One. A thrilling blend of harp bop mannerisms and hip hop attitudes, the record was a promising beginning for a new group.

On the new Tha Go ‘Round, B Sharp Quartet not only fulfill that promise, they take the music a quantum leap higher. On this new jammie, the quartet-Herb Graham, drums; Randall Willis, sax; Rodney Lee, piano; Osama Afifi, bass-have boiled the hip hop down to a base of phat funky rhythms and deep fried the modal grooves. The music on Tha Go ‘Round inhabits that spirit-vibe dimension that was first traversed by Blakey, Miles’ quintet, Herbie’s Blue Note period and early Weather Report. From the Miles-meets-Zawinul moonwalk of the opening “Steppin'” to a reggae-fied, funkily-bopped “Confirmation” to their hyped, album-closing geometric dance with Monk’s “Brilliant Corners,” B Sharp Quartet deliver vital, cliche-free improvisatory performances. Time for some revisionism, Cali-style.