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Tom Harrell:  Moving Picture (HighNote)

Review of album from trumpeter, composer and bandleader

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Cover of Tom Harrell album Moving Pictures
Cover of Tom Harrell album Moving Pictures

It’s tempting to call Moving Picture stripped-down Tom Harrell. On the lion’s share of his albums recorded during this century, the trumpeter has worked within a quintet configuration, most often inviting a saxophonist along for the ride. For this latest effort, as on 2014’s Trip, he’s down to a quartet. But where that release was piano-less, Moving Picture features Danny Grissett on that instrument, alongside bassist Ugonna Okegwo and drummer Adam Cruz. All are veterans of previous Harrell sessions.

Nearly all of the 10 Harrell-composed tracks here (some new, some revisits) are stuffed with sound. On the opening title tune, we’re greeted with a full-bodied section of multi-tracked trumpets, and on other cuts he duets happily with himself. Mainly, though, the focus remains on variations on the core quartet, with Harrell often basking in the spotlight. On the noirish ballad “Different Clouds,” he harmonizes with himself casually and soulfully, breaks into a high-register solo and then cedes the floor to Okegwo before rejoining … himself.

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